Oklahoma State is the No. 3 seed at the 2017 NCAA Fayetteville Regional, with the four-team, double-elimination tournament field also including top-seeded Arkansas, second-seeded Missouri State and fourth-seeded Oral Roberts, it was announced today by the NCAA Selection Committee.
The NCAA Fayetteville Regional opens play Friday at 2 p.m. with the Cowboys facing Missouri State (40-17) at Baum Stadium. The second game pits Arkansas (42-17) vs. ORU (42-14) at 7 p.m. Saturday's game times will be the same, with the loser's bracket game played at 2 p.m. and the winner's bracket teams squaring off at 7 p.m. The Sunday games will be at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., with Monday's if-necessary game scheduled for 6 p.m.
OSU brings a 30-25 record and six-game winning streak to Fayetteville. The Cowboys earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament by virtue of winning the Big 12 Baseball Championship last week in Oklahoma City; they went 4-0 at the tournament and became the first No. 8 seed to ever claim the Big 12 tourney crown.
"We feel real good about how we're playing, and we know this time of year you have to go on the road and beat quality teams if you want to advance and we're looking forward to that opportunity," said OSU head coach Josh Holliday. "To watch these kids and what they've done in the last two weeks is probably the most rewarding and educational thing as a coach that I've ever been a part of and witnessed – just absolutely amazing…
"We're savoring this and thrilled that we get to play together, and we get to go to a regional close enough to continue to share it with the people that have been by our side. Hopefully we get some fans over there and continue to cheer these kids on because they deserve it."
The 2017 NCAA Regional appearance will mark the fifth in a row for the Cowboys, and OSU is making its 43rd NCAA Tournament appearance, a total that ranks fourth all time. OSU owns an all-time NCAA tourney record of 147-91 (.618), with the 147 wins ranking sixth in NCAA history.
OSU has travelled to Fayetteville twice previously for an NCAA Regional, first in 2006 and again the following year. The Cowboys finished second to Oral Roberts in the 2006 regional and defeated Creighton and No. 7 national seed Arkansas twice in 2007 to advance to the Louisville Super Regional.
The 2017 Regional berth is the fifth in as many seasons under Holliday. OSU is coming off a 2016 season in which it swept through the NCAA Clemson Regional and Columbia (S.C.) Super Regional en route to the 20th College World Series appearance in program history; the Cowboys tied for third in Omaha.
In Holliday's first season at the helm of his alma mater, the Cowboys advanced to the finals of the 2013 NCAA Louisville Regional as the No. 3 seed, and in 2014, top-seeded OSU captured its first Regional championship since 2007. The 2015 campaign saw OSU host a Regional for a second-straight year as a No. 1 seed and go 1-2.
OSU has faced each of the Fayetteville Regional teams this season and is 3-2 in those contests. The Cowboys beat Arkansas, 8-3, at the Frisco College Baseball Classic on March 5 and two days later, they knocked off Missouri State by a 7-3 score in Stillwater. The Pokes have faced ORU three times in 2017, winning an 11-inning affair on April 18 before dropping games in Tulsa on May 2 and May 16.
"We're familiar with the ballpark so that's nice, we're familiar with all the teams in the regional and we're really excited that we get to stay close to home and give our fans a chance to come out and support us," said OSU senior pitcher Trey Cobb.
OSU is seeking to advance to the fifth NCAA Super Regional in program history (1999, 2007, 2014, 2016). Should the Cowboys win the Fayetteville Regional, they will face the winner of the NCAA Fort Worth (TCU) Regional in a Super Regional.
The Cowboys' 20 College World Series appearances ranks as the sixth most in NCAA history.