STILLWATER — Oklahoma State baseball coach Josh Holliday isn’t going to say his team was snubbed.
But the NCAA regional pairings released Monday certainly stung the Cowboys.
The Cowboys will host a regional beginning Friday that includes former Big 12 rival Nebraska, longtime power Cal State Fullerton and Binghamton. But OSU was passed over for one of eight national seeds, and the Stillwater regional is paired up against top-ranked Oregon State’s regional.
“We’ll take the draw that we were given, and we’ll go out and compete with it,” Holliday said. “Congratulations to the teams that got them (national seeds) obviously. They had great seasons. The body of work that they put together is available to look at in terms of teams that competed in great conferences and had great wins. I think our kids did the same thing.”
The Cowboys (45-16) will open against Binghamton at 6 p.m. Friday. Nebraska will play Cal State Fullerton at noon.
While the Cowboys were thought to be in the hunt for a national seed going into Sunday’s loss to TCU in the Big 12 title game, Division I baseball committee chair Dennis Farrell said in a teleconference Monday that the Cowboys were one of five teams in consideration for the final two regional host spots.
The Cowboys and Louisville eventually earned regional host spots while Houston, Texas and Washington wound up as No. 2 seeds.
Cowboys outfielder Aaron Cornell said he was surprised at the draw.
“I thought we got seeded a little bit low, but it doesn’t matter,” Cornell said. “The mindset you’ve got to have going into this thing regardless is — you’ve got to beat every team to win the whole thing so why not do it a week early? As far as the pairings go, I’m not upset about it at all.”
Other OSU players took to Twitter to express disappointment at the pairing.
“16 seed??? Thanks for fueling the fire NCAA,” Cowboys reliever Mark Robinette tweeted.
Cowboys slugger Zach Fish tweeted: “Thank you NCAA for the motivation! We are not an underdog. We are the Big 12 champs. We will take care of business in Stilly. #FearNoOne.”
The Cowboys trailed in all four of their eventual wins in the Big 12 Tournament. This season, OSU had 27 come-from-behind victories.
“It’s something that, even looking back at last year and this year, it’s starting to become what OSU baseball is,” Cornell said. “Watch out because we’re never going to give up. We’re going to make a run at you eventually.
“I think that’s becoming an identity of this ballclub and this ball program and it’s something exciting.”