Cowboys Set to Start 2020 Season on Friday

Zach Lancaster

STILLWATER – The 2020 baseball season is finally upon us and the Cowboys are starting the season off with a tough road series against Grand Canyon and a quick stop in Tempe, AZ for a game against Arizona State.

The first game is slated for 7 p.m. CT on Friday, with game two on Sat. taking place at 3 p.m. CT and Sunday at 2 p.m. CT. Friday’s game can be watched on ESPN3 and Saturday and Sunday’s games on GCU’s YouTube channel.

This will be the third time since 2015 that Oklahoma State has started the season on the road in Arizona and the second time since 2017 that the Pokes have started the season at GCU.

“[Grand Canyon] has a beautiful facility, brand new I think,” said coach Holliday. “The coach there [Andy Stankiewicz] is a good friend of mine; we worked together at Arizona State. I know his team will be well-coached. He’s an awesome man, they have a good ball club. The weather’s usually great out there and when you land in Arizona, you know baseball season’s here. It just kind of has that feeling. So, we like opening the season in Arizona. You normally get great weather, the sun shines bright, the grass is green, good competition and the season’s here.”

The Antelopes finished the 2019 season with a 36-24 overall record, a season that finished with a 5-4 loss to Sacramento State in the WAC Tournament. The last time out against GCU, the Pokes dropped the 2017 opening series one game to two with a 6-1 game one loss and a 4-0 game three loss. The Cowboys also made the stop in Tempe against Arizona State in 2017 and won 18-4.

As far as pitching goes for GCU, you can expect to see RHP senior Kade Mechals on Friday, sophomore Pierson Ohl on Saturday and Glendale CC transfer Dawson McCarville on Sunday.

Mechals was great in 2019 as he went 11-1 with a 2.16 ERA in 15 starts.

The Cowboys are coming off an impressive 2019 season where they went 40-21 and were just a few outs away from making it back to Omaha and the College World Series.

As for the Pokes, you can expect to see two newcomers on the mound for the Pokes.

“We’ll throw Bryce Osmond, Parker Scott and Justin Campbell,” coach Holliday said. “I know coach [Rob] Walton’s still working on the order. He’s gonna start those guys and really just try to match it up to where we have good bullpen depth each day. It’s a four-game trip, not a three-game trip since we stay over and play Arizona State on Tuesday, so really [Walton’s] going to look at that window of Friday through Tuesday and just try to line up our best guys who can bounce back; say maybe work on Friday then bounce back and work on Tuesday, or guys who could work on a Friday and a Sunday and build the depth of each game.”

Osmond is a freshman RHP out of Jenks, OK who went 7-1 as a senior with a 1.64 ERA with 89 strikeouts in 51 innings. As for Campbell, he’s a RHP out of Simi Valley, CA who went 8-2 as a senior with a 1.17 ERA. He chose the Pokes over LSU and USC among others, including an 18th round selection by the Houston Astros in the 2019 MLB Draft.

Parker Scott is healthy again after needing Tommy John surgery in 2018. He led the Big 12 in ERA in conference-only games at 1.11 and was 2-1 in league play. The leadership and talent of Scott is going to be key in not only this series, but for the season.

When it comes to the defensive side, the Cowboys return four position players that started in at least 45 games last season in outfields Carson McCusker and Cade Cabbiness, infielder Hueston Morrill and first baseman Alix Garcia.

“We’ve gotten a lot done,” head coach Josh Holliday said of how the team’s prepared for the opening series against Grand Canyon. “We had three good days in a row – Friday, Saturday, Sunday – had a short day [Monday], we’ve got a short day [Tuesday] and then an off-day Wednesday to get ready to travel on Thursday. So, the kid’s have done a good job; we’ve probably amped it up more in the last two weeks, but just want to make sure everybody’s healthy and get them in good shape and be ready to hit the first game with pretty much a full squad as far as our health and availability of our guys.

“I feel good about it, I know the kids are excited to kind of enter a game week and transition a little bit out of intersquad practice mode and get ready to compete,” said coach Holliday.

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