Oklahoma State is the No. 2 seed at the 2016 NCAA Clemson Regional, with the four-team, double-elimination tournament field also including top-seeded Clemson, third-seeded Nebraska and fourth-seeded Western Carolina, it was announced today by the NCAA Selection Committee.
The NCAA Clemson Regional opens play Friday at 11 a.m. (CST) with OSU (36-20) facing Nebraska (37-20) at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The second game pits Clemson (42-16) against Western Carolina (30-29) at 6 p.m. (CST). Saturday's game times will be the same, with the loser's bracket game played at 11 a.m. and the winner's bracket teams squaring off at 6 p.m. Both Sunday's championship game and Monday's if-necessary game will be at 6 p.m.
"To be in the NCAA Tournament is a great honor," said OSU head coach Josh Holliday. "We've worked hard all year long and had a very challenging, awesome learning experience throughout this season. Had you told me at 2-5 with four-straight walk-off losses at the beginning of year that this group of kids would navigate this season the way they have and put us in position to play in the NCAA Tournament with a chance to win something, I would have taken it. Because it's been an uphill climb for us.
"I'm very proud of the kids. We've had a lot of injuries, we've had a lot of tough moments and we've also had a lot of very good moments. That's something that needs to be appreciated about this particular team is the leadership and toughness they've displayed."
The 2016 NCAA Regional appearance will mark the fourth in a row for the Cowboys, and OSU is making its 42nd NCAA Tournament appearance, a total that ranks fourth all-time. OSU owns an all-time NCAA tourney record of 140-89 (.611), with the 140 wins ranking seventh in NCAA history.
OSU has travelled to Clemson previously for an NCAA Regional, that coming in 2009. The Cowboys won their first two games, defeating Alabama and then Clemson, but the host Tigers came back to win two straight against OSU to advance to the Super Regional.
The Cowboys enter the 2016 NCAA Baseball Championship with a 36-20 record. OSU finished second in the Big 12 Conference regular season standings with a 16-8 mark.
The 2016 Regional berth is the fourth in as many seasons under Holliday. 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. Last season, OSU hosted a Regional for a second-straight year as a No. 1 seed and went 1-2.
"It should be fun," said OSU senior shortstop Donnie Walton. "I think the pressure is off of us from playing at home — we just go out there and play our game and show the country what we can do. Clemson has a great park, great atmosphere, great baseball background and it should be fun."
OSU is seeking to advance to the fourth NCAA Super Regional in program history (1999, 2007, 2014). Should the Cowboys advance out of the Stillwater Regional, they will face the winner of the NCAA South Carolina Regional in a Super Regional.
The Cowboys have appeared in 19 College World Series, a total that ranks sixth all-time, with their last trip coming in 1999.