NOTE: portions of this conversation have been edited for length and clarity.
The Oklahoma State Cowboy baseball team is coming off an NCAA tournament appearance and fourth place finish in the Big 12. The O’Colly caught up with head coach Josh Holliday before a fall ball scrimmage.
Q: Who are the freshmen you expect to play big innings this season?
“The freshmen have done a good job this fall. We've got eight guys that are in their first year as true freshmen that have all contributed good. (Carson) Benge has done a good job this fall, (Cayden) Brumbaugh has had a good fall. Ryan Ure, Drew Blake two freshman pitchers have done a good job. Ian Daugherty freshman catcher has done a really really good job. Zach Ehrhard had a great fall, he is a freshman utility player. And Roc Riggio and Aidan Meola have had good falls minus a few injuries that have kind of kept them out. So I think all the freshmen have done good. I'm pleased with their effort. I'd say collectively as a group, they've done a really nice job, all of them.”
Q: What do you look for in a freshman in the fall?
“Just how they conduct themselves you know how they handle the day-to-day life. How they compete, how they get along with the teammates, how they adjust to school, how they adjust socially.”
Q: How different has preparing for this season been than preparing for last season?
“I think it’s been good for the kids just to have a more close to traditional college experience with attending class, socializing, I think more comfortably based on just you know, making good decisions and what the campus offers. Obviously, last night is a perfect example. To have Homecoming back and have a walk around have full capacity at sporting events. It's obviously a safer time to be out doing what college kids do and I'm grateful that they're getting to return to normal. That last year and a half for everybody was not nearly as enjoyable minus the social interaction. I think social interactions is really really good for them. Definitely part of college and definitely part of what makes Oklahoma State awesome.”
Q: Did you get a chance to enjoy the 100th Homecoming?
“Oh yeah. Homecoming is one of my favorite things we do here. I always marvel at the way the student body rallies and puts together such an unbelievable weekend and it's great to see the alumni that come back too. So, its one of the weekends it really shows Oklahoma State its finest.”
Q: Have you kept up with the five super seniors who left the program last season? How are they doing?
“They're all doing good. A good handful are back here working out. They're all great. I mean, those guys were all very mature While they were here, and they're ready for the world. So, they're out there attacking things, you know, successfully and really proud of those guys, we miss them, but we know they're ready for the next step.”
Q: Who are some of the players who have helped fill that leadership role?
“You lead in different ways, you know, work ethic, you lead through example, you can lead verbally based on just prompting the team when it's time to do things. Nolan McLean's had a good fall, He's a good leader more based on tremendous example that he sets and the way he works. I think that on the pitching side Victor Mederos as a newcomer has been a good leader. He's a worker, returning pitchers like kale Davis and Justin Campbell and Bryce (Osmond) and some of these guys that have been around they provide leadership in terms of knowing what to expect. But we've had a good blend of first year players jumping right into this thing...so leadership comes in a lot of different forms and we're getting it from the example these kids set so the way they work, the way they live their lives, all of the things add up in setting a good example.”
Q: Is Nolan McLean still working with the football team?
“Nope, Nolan is here full time with baseball.”
Q: How might that help him as a baseball player?
“I think it’s given him more repetitions to work at something which is super important to him and that's his overall baseball skills. Obviously, he is a super talented athlete, but now he's spending more time with baseball. I think you're going to see a really nice uptick in his baseball skills.”
Q: How will transfers into your program benefit your team?
“The kids that have transferred in to this point have been fabulous. They fit right in. They've been welcomed in immediately by their peers. They're doing a great job. I mean, that's, that's today's college athletics transfers can make a huge impact. And we very much have embraced our newcomers. So really looking forward to what those guys give us.”