2015 Preview: Tough early schedule awaits veteran Oklahoma State
The Road to Omaha doesn't begin in the spring; coaches already are driving their players toward the College World Series. It's the rise-n-grind that players tweet about; it's the workout pictures that are shared on social media. It's the day-in, day-out work that coaches and players hope will separate their team in June. Before the first pitch in February, NCAA.com is highlighting teams that may reach the Mecca of college baseball: Omaha.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
• 2014: 48-18 (18-6 Big 12)
• Head coach: Josh Holliday (third year)
Cowboys' team website
1. What can fans expect from this squad in 2015? You can expect our team to be excited to compete and create a new collection of memories. We have a group that enjoys putting an Oklahoma State uniform on and playing the game the right way; we can’t wait to take the field.
2. What is the one thing that this year’s team does best? We can’t wait to find out what we do best -- you learn who you are by getting out on the field and competing with excellent competition. We start the season with seven road games against excellent competition -- at Arizona State for three games and then the Pac-12/Big 12 Challenge where we will face Oregon State, Washington, Washington State and Utah. After that we will have an idea of where we are at. The great thing about sport is that you get to define yourself each day based upon how you improve and handle challenges -- that is my hope for this team.
3. Bottom of the ninth, tied game, two outs, winning run on second … which player does this team want to step up to the plate? I will take any guy we have to step up to the plate with the game on the line. Heroes are born after a magic moment and all of our guys are capable of coming through in the clutch. They just need the opportunity.
4. If this team had one game to win, which pitcher would get the ball? If we had to win one game and we had to choose a pitcher I would say it could be any of our guys. We have some talented kids returning from last year and some new guys who excite our staff. One thing is for sure -- it will take an entire staff to win a championship and that is what we intend to do. Whoever gets the ball in the final game will be prepared.
5. Who are we most likely to see make a "SportsCenter Top 10" play on this squad? Junior infielder Donnie Walton made some plays at shortstop last year that were SportsCenter material. He has the ability to not only handle the routine play but make the web gem as well. Senior Gage Green is known for outfield web gems. I think those two kids are likely to flash some leather.
6. What does Omaha mean to this team? I have coached in Omaha three times and played in the World Series twice and not one time did those teams ever sit around and talk about Omaha. They simply worked each day to get better and in the end, they found themselves there. All these catch phrases and team mottos about Omaha don’t enhance your chances of making it. It's about what you do, not what you say. We just need to focus on getting better and taking care of our own house -- if we do that, we give ourselves a chance. If talking about it was the key then we would have a hundred teams make it each year.
-- Oklahoma State head coach Josh Holliday
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