Fans of the Oklahoma State baseball team won’t have too far to travel if they wish to continue watching their Cowboys.
They can travel three hours east of Stillwater to Fayetteville, Arkansas, to cheer on the Cowboys in their NCAA Regional. The regional brackets were announced Monday morning, less than 24 hours after the Cowboys won the Big 12 Tournament in Oklahoma City.
The No. 3-seeded Cowboys (30-25) will play No. 2 seed Missouri State (40-17) the first game of the four-team, double-elimination tournament at 2 p.m. Friday. Regional host Arkansas (42-17) will play Oral Roberts (42-14) at 7 p.m. Friday.
“I think it’s a great draw, because that ballpark will help you rise to the occasion,” OSU coach Josh Holliday said. “It’s a great fan base and playing in Bricktown yesterday in front of 9,000 or 10,000 people was pretty awesome. Some of those environments — much like Clemson did last year — they can keep you on that competitive high that this is awesome and it gets you up to play. We’ll be up to play, it’s just a matter of executing.”
The Cowboys have played all three opponents in the Fayetteville Regional. They went 3-2 in those five games, dropping two of three games to ORU earlier this month. The Cowboys played Arkansas and Missouri State in early March.
“It’s interesting every year to see how the bracket comes out,” Holliday said. “Obviously, this tournament over in Fayetteville is a heck of a tournament. You’ve got an Arkansas team that from about the middle of the year on played about as good as anybody in the country, and just played in the championship of the SEC Tournament. Oral Roberts — team we’ve seen three times and have great respect for, and know their players and coaches quite well. A Missouri State team at one time, I think, had won 20-straight games in their own conference and loaded with talented players we’ve seen once before.
“Then, our kids and what they’ve done in the past 10 days. It sounds like four great teams. It’s going to be at a great site over in Fayetteville, where they have an amazing facility and great fans. Postseason is here, it’s awesome.”
OSU enters the regional having won its past six games, which includes a 4-0 record in the conference tournament. The Cowboys became the first No. 8 seed to win the Big 12 Tournament.
OU travels to
Austin O’Brien felt Oklahoma secured an NCAA regional berth May 13, following a walk-off win against TCU during the regular-season’s final weekend.
“We’re gonna make it this year,” O’Brien remembers thinking to himself.
The senior first baseman had to be patient for the official word.
During Monday’s NCAA selection show, more than half of the 64-team bracket was announced before OU appeared on the television screen inside the clubhouse at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
Finally, there it was.
OU received a No. 2 seed in the Louisville Regional, where the Sooners will play third-seeded Xavier (32-25) at 1 p.m. Friday.
The Sooners are in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2013. Aside from Renae Martinez, who played in the College World Series as a freshman at UC Irvine, no current OU player has been this deep into the postseason.
OU (34-22) rides a four-game losing streak comprised of back-to-back losses to Oklahoma State and an 0-2 showing at the Big 12 tournament. The Sooners have struggled to pitch and produce offensively, which ultimately killed their bid to host a regional.
No. 7 overall seed Louisville (47-10) plays Radford (27-30) in the bracket’s other game at 5 p.m. Friday. The double-elimination tournament is scheduled Friday through Sunday, with an if-necessary game planned for Monday.