College Pod: Oklahoma State's Josh Holliday
This week on the Baseball America college podcast, Oklahoma State coach Josh Holliday joins Teddy Cahill to talk about the Cowboys’ performance this fall, their ongoing stadium construction and to look ahead to the 2019 season.
The Cowboys went 31-26-1 last season and advanced to the DeLand Regional final before falling to Stetson. They have reached the NCAA Tournament in all six seasons under Holliday.
Oklahoma State will look to continue that streak this season with the help of a strong pitching staff that will be bolstered by the return from injury of righthander Jensen Elliott and lefthander Mitchell Stone. Elliott was a part of the Cowboys’ 2016 College World Series team but has missed most of the last two years as he recovered from Tommy John surgery.
Holliday said Elliott’s return is a big boost for the Cowboys.
“I think that gives us a guy we can build around every weekend who loves to pitch, pitches at a very high level and can go hook up with someone else’s Friday night starter every time and give us a really good chance to win,” Holliday said.
Holliday said the way Oklahoma State finished last season, when they lost their last three series and saw their lead in the conference standings erased by Texas, does provide some motivation for the returning players, but it also was instructive to him. Oklahoma State played just four home games over the last four weeks of the regular season, a taxing schedule he said took a toll on the team. He said it also reinforced the importance of conditioning so they can finish the year strong.
“You talk about thing like that with the group – the importance of strength and conditioning and being able to finish the year strong,” Holiday said. “Because the season can come down to the last day.
“You’ve got to be able to play your best baseball late in the year if you want to win a championship. We’ve talked about that with the team. That’s such an important thing to do and we’ve made it a point of emphasis.”
This spring will be the final season Oklahoma State plays at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium before moving into a new park in 2020. Allie P. holds a special place in Holliday’s heart. He grew up around the stadium while his father Tom Holliday was coaching the Cowboys. He later played there and now has been head coach there.
Holliday said some of his favorite memories of the stadium are from his childhood.
“Virtually every day I got out of school and I would come to practice,” Holliday said. “The batting cage used to be down the right field line and I would stand in the batting cage and hit off a tee while the team practiced. I would try to imitate the players. That was something that I loved doing. It was just kind of my playground.
“I just remember the impact the stadium and the players had on me as a little kid. Just to be able to walk in the front gates and walk around the place like you owned it as a bat boy or a coach’s kid was kind of a fun way to grow up.”