Kyle Ottoson becomes a key cog in OSU's rotation

COLLEGE BASEBALL — Left-hander left Arizona State, couldn't reach terms on a pro contract, and landed in Stillwater to anchor the Cowboys' staff.
By Anthony Slater, For the Oklahoman Published: April 11, 2012
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Kyle Ottoson's college career should be over.

It should have ended in an Arizona State uniform. It should have ended in Austin, Texas. It should have ended 10 months ago.

But, nearly a year after the fact, Ottoson isn't fresh off his first spring training, working his way through the minor leagues.

No, the left-hander is now a key member of Oklahoma State's rotation, preparing for a return trip to Texas this weekend as one of only three Cowboys to play in the Big 12's biggest park.

And when he takes the mound for Saturday's start, center stage in the stadium his college career was thought to have already climaxed, Ottoson's strange 10-month ride will come full circle.

ASU-Texas in last year's Super Regional. Series tied 1-1. Winner gets a coveted spot in the College World Series.

With the season on the line, Ottoson was handed the ball.

“At Texas with that hostile crowd, it was great to get that start,” Ottoson said. “A good experience for sure.”

He did his job, pitching into the fourth inning and leaving with a 2-1 lead.

“Yeah, I had just given up just that one run,” Ottoson said. “But coach planned to split the game in half with another lefty.”

Texas rallied for three runs, ASU's bats went silent and the Longhorns won 4-2, punching a ticket to Omaha.

That was June 12, five days after he was drafted in the 24th round by the Washington Nationals. That was supposed to be the last game of Kyle Ottoson's collegiate career.

“Everyone was saying, your junior year is your year to go,” Ottoson said. “Take your money and run your junior year.”

But things got complicated. Washington lowballed its offer, knowing Ottoson was eager to sign. Normally, the threat of returning to college can be a large bargaining chip, but not this time. The Nationals knew he didn't want to return to Arizona State. No junior would.

The Sun Devils just lost their appeal of recent NCAA violations, and the baseball program was under three-year probation, including a postseason ban for the 2012 season, Ottoson's would-be senior year.

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