May 19, 2024

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Scorching Cowboys riding 11 straight wins into Bedlam meeting with OU in Tulsa | OSU Sports Extra

STILLWATER — Oklahoma State baseball coach Josh Holliday is 45 years old now and doesn’t cling to his superstitions like he once did.

“I used to have a ton of them,” he said. “Way too many. I’m kind of over it.”

Take Sunday morning, for instance. Years ago, with his Cowboys riding a 10-game win streak, Holliday would have nixed a pre-game shave before OSU’s series finale with Kansas.

“I actually shaved my whiskers this morning,” Holliday said after the Cowboys completed their weekend sweep of the Jayhawks in a 7-2 win Sunday. “They’ve been long for a couple of weeks, but they’ve been shortened. I looked in the mirror and it was a bad look.”

OSU’s 10th year coach shaved Sunday. And his Cowboys — boosted by a four-run sixth inning — took home their 11th consecutive win.

Red hot in the month of March, OSU (18-6) heads to Tulsa Tuesday night for a single-game, midweek Bedlam matchup against Oklahoma at ONEOK Field. Sooner southpaw Braden Carmichael (1-0) is projected to start on the mound for OU; the Cowboys have yet to name a starting pitcher.

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First pitch of the 335th meeting between the in-state rivals is set for 7 p.m.

The Sooners (14-8) arrive as winners in three of their last five games and sit fourth in the Big 12 hitting .290 as a team. But OU’s recent form pales in comparison to its counterparts from Stillwater.

It’s been nearly three weeks since OSU’s last defeat. The Cowboys have now tallied their longest win streak since tearing off 12 in a row in conference play in 2014. Since falling to BYU on March 10, OSU has outscored its opponents 75-32.

The Cowboys’ scorching run has been powered by more than their bats. Sunday marked OSU’s sixth outing with seven or more runs over the current streak, but Friday and Saturday’s wins over the Jayhawks required consistent, timely pitching and sharp defense.

And from Sunday’s win, Holliday came away especially pleased with a lovely bit of small ball. In the fourth inning, Caeden Trenkle executed a bunt-and-run that advanced Nolan McLean from first base to third. McLean came home on Chase Adkison’s sacrifice fly one batter later.

To Holliday, OSU isn’t just winning. It’s playing winning baseball.

“Most of the time, championship play — elite baseball — is usually tight baseball,” Holliday said.

“You have to do stuff like that against elite pitchers. Because right there we didn’t get a single base hit, but we scored a run. When you play teams that have elite pitching or play lockdown defense, you better find ways to score”

Holliday has ditched his superstitions. His players haven’t picked up any over their current streak, either.

“There’s not a lot of superstition,” said right-hander Bryce Osmond, who picked up his first win of the season Sunday.

But since the Cowboys spent their spring break playing five games in five days from March 16-20, the former Jenks pitcher has watched OSU develop some new traditions.

McLean — who spent the fall of 2020 on the OSU football depth chart at quarterback — and other teammates have taken to tossing a football around O’Brate Stadium. A Cowboy hat acquired at a garage sale is now an integral piece to every home run celebration. And Osmond is among the OSU players contributing to a growing collection of empty Bang Energy drink cans.

“We’ve started a Bang wall,” Osmond said. “A bunch of empty cans hanging out above the lockers. It’s been a week and there’s 20 some-odd cans up there.”

Missing trademark baseball superstitions, the Cowboys are simply riding high as they head into Bedlam.

“Everybody’s kind of ready to go every day we show up to the field and it’s been fun,” Osmond said. “It’s a lot of fun to watch and be a part of too.”