NORMAN — Bedlam baseball has gone simmering below the surface in recent years, mostly due to Oklahoma State's inability to maintain any consistent program momentum.
Well, the series has a new look.
And with it a new pulse, albeit from an old face, with Josh Holliday in charge at OSU, ready for his series head coaching debut Tuesday night in Norman.
Holliday — as well as first-year Cowboys pitching coach Rob Walton — played for the Cowboys and is invested in the rivalry. He knows what it was and can be again.
“I thought those games were fantastic,” Holliday said. “I look forward to it again.”
This Bedlam refresher, set for 6:30 p.m. at Mitchell Park (weather permitting), is the nonconference game among four scheduled meetings between the teams; an addition that began three years ago. Big 12 Bedlam is set for May 10-12 in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.
For Holliday, it's a lower-stakes look back into the series before the May matchup, which could carry major implications, both in the league and nationally. The Sooners and Cowboys are both ranked and sit atop the conference standings, with OU first at 5-1 and OSU tied with Baylor for second at 3-2.
They're the Big 12's first teams to 20 overall wins, too.
And, apparently, there's been some friendly chatter between the teams already.
“They're real good,” said Cowboys outfielder Saulyer Saxon. “And I hear about how good they are; I have a few friends on their team and I have a bunch of friends who go to OU.
“They're always giving me crap, asking me if we can hang with those guys. It's a lot of fun. I'm excited to go down to Norman and compete with those guys.”
Bedlam baseball relevancy hasn't gone away, it's just run hot and cold, like the Cowboys of late.
The Sooners have done their part, with coach Sunny Golloway directing his program to 328 wins, seven Top 25 finishes and six regional finals, with a trip to the College World Series in 2010.
“For us, that's probably what we're most proud of as a program,” Golloway said. “Our teams each year, we try to make as good as we can. But the program over the long haul — 40 wins four straight years, Omaha in '10, three Super Regionals the last five years — those are the things that we want to try to continue to do.”
Those are things the Cowboys used to do. And aspire to again.
OSU's changes won't affect the Sooners' preparation.
“All I care about is seeing that black and orange in the other dugout,” said OU's Max White. “They have made a lot of changes. I don't know too much and I haven't looked at it too much. I know they have a good club over there.
“We're going to have to play well.”
Golloway sees the two teams in the rankings and playing well and recognizes the upside.
“The fact that Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are the two ranked teams in our conference bodes very well for the state of Oklahoma,” Golloway said. “It's good for everybody. It's a pride thing within our state lines. That's the way it should be.”
What: OU vs. OSU, nonconference baseball.
Where: Mitchell Park, Norman.
When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Rankings: In the most recently released poll — the NCBWA rankings — the Sooners are No. 13 and the Cowboys are No. 19.
Tickets: $15 reserved, $10 adult general admission; $5 youth and senior citizens. Order online at soonersports.com or at (405) 325-2424 or (800) 456-4668.
Probable pitching matchup:
OU — RH Ralph Garza Jr., 3-0, 2.04 ERA
OSU — RH Randy McCurry, 2-1, 1.76 ERA