OSU fans should be wary of UC-Irvine
While hundreds of Oklahoma State University baseball fans were taking to social media and sports talk shows Monday to proclaim that Cowboy baseball is back at the top of the college baseball world, this writer is going to hold off such statements for another week or so.
There's no doubt, what the OSU players along with Josh Holliday and his great coaching staff have accomplished is indeed remarkable in just two short years, to me the true measure of a great program is reaching the College World Series on a regular basis and then claiming a championship.
OSU fans hopefully won't take super regional foe University of California-Irvine lightly or the Cowboys will be doing the same thing another OSU team did late Sunday night and that's standing stunned in the dugout watching the Anteaters celebrate.
However, with the home-field edge there is an excellent opportunity for the Cowboys to win the Super Regional and claim their first World Series berth since 1999.
And, the home fans are fighting to get tickets to witness the first ever home Super Regional. It took just 90 minutes for the full seating capacity to be filled and now all that remains are general admission tickets down the field in left which will surely push the crowds to record levels for the games this weekend.
The first game starts at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, then they play the second late Saturday night at 9 p.m., obviously giving the California fans a break by playing the game in prime time for them. But they sure didn't do any favors for OSU fans. If there is a need for an "if" game it would be Sunday at 8 p.m.
So, looking back, when the Cowboys were at the top of the college baseball world, they were making annual trips to the World Series, but that mark of 19 trips has been on hold for a long time. Under Gary Ward the Cowboys were among the elite programs, capturing an NCAA-record 16 consecutive league crowns from 1981 to 1996. OSU also won a staggering 23 Big Eight titles from 1953 until 1996.
These days, though, there is a great deal more parity in college baseball and streaks like OSU had back then probably won't happen as often as in the past.
Just look at what happened this year as there were regional upsets all over the country, including at Corvallis, Ore., where the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, Oregon State, lost to Cal-Irvine.