Cowboy Baseball Hosts Media Day

Jared Womack

Jared Womack

Feb. 9, 2012

STILLWATER, Okla. – Oklahoma State baseball opens the 2012 season Feb. 17 at Cal Poly, and Cowboy head coach Frank Anderson, along with several players on the team, met with the media earlier this week to discuss the upcoming season.

OSU is coming off a season in which it finished 35-25, including a 14-12 record in the Big 12 Conference to finish fourth in the league standings. The Cowboys advanced to the NCAA Nashville Regional, their sixth NCAA tourney appearance in eight seasons under Anderson.

The following is a sampling of what Anderson and the Cowboys had to say on media day.

OSU head coach Frank Anderson
On who can contribute this year
“Obviously, we’ve got quite a few. I feel very fortunate with Mark (Ginther) and Hunter (Bailey); I think we probably have one of the best left sides of the infield in college baseball. They’re both really good defensively and can swing the bat. They’re back, obviously, and then Jared (Womack) is back and Gabe Weidenaar, he can play at some different positions. He did last year, but he can even play more this year. There’s a good chance he’ll probably close for us. He’s played some at second, some at first, and, obviously, he can play in the outfield like he did last year. We talked about Victor Romero. We have another catcher that’s a freshman named Gage Green that can also play some in the outfield that’s a left-handed bat that’s a good player. First (base) is kind of up in the air. Second (base), Gabe (Weidenaar) can play there, Robbie Rea is a transfer from Cowley County, Brandon Bass is from Iowa Western and he can play there also. Then you go in the outfield, we have a freshman named Zach Fish that has a chance to be one of the better hitters we’ve had for a while. He’s going to struggle like a lot of freshmen, but he has some tremendous power, can throw and can do some different things. Then we have some different guys that can go in some different places in the outfield. Jared (Womack) can play in the outfield for us, play left field for us. He got a little worn down at the end of the year last year, and Vic (Romero) will be able to spell some of that for him and maybe keep them both fresh; Vic’s a left-handed hitter too. Pitching-wise, obviously Andrew (Heaney) and we’ve got a transfer from Arizona State named Kyle Ottoson that pitched in their rotation last year and is eligible right away, and that’s huge right there. Randy McCurry has been throwing very well lately. He’s finally two years outside of Tommy John surgery. Blake Barnes is throwing really well. We’ve got a new mix of guys that I think have a chance to pitch too.”

On coaching newcomers
“I like high school guys, and we would all like to have the greatest high school players if possible, but the way our scholarship thing has played out over the years, we’ve kind of used some quick fixes, and junior college guys are the way to do that. We probably have – and (the players) could probably tell you better than I because they’ve been around it with those guys – we have a really good group of freshmen, and you don’t want freshmen to have a huge part. If you do, you have too many of them, but we’ve got two or three freshmen and two or three freshmen pitchers that have a chance to play for us right away and have impacts. So, it’s not just a total influx of junior college guys. Ottoson is kind of an unusual deal in this day and age that he’s eligible right away, and it’s because Arizona State is not eligible for the postseason so he can transfer and be eligible.”

On junior pitcher Randy McCurry
“It’s always unusual how that’s going to play back after you have Tommy John (surgery). Some guys come back right away, and some guys it’s kind of a two-year process and you see that in the major leagues. Last year, his velocity would be good one day, and the next time he’d go out, it wouldn’t be near what it was. I think that’s a lot of it, there’s kind of a yo-yo effect to it. For the most part, he hasn’t had that near as much, and the command when you come out of it both physically and mentally. With my son, I went through the same thing – he just went through Tommy John – and he said the first time you start to throw, you wonder if it’s just going to unhinge and come loose. You have more of a mental block than a physical one, and I think that’s probably the biggest hurdle to get over. He was really good the other day in our scrimmage so that’s something good to see.”

On the idea to put Cowboy baseball accomplishments on the outfield wall
“We’ve been wanting to do some different things with our stadium and how it was going to evolve with the athletic village, we’ve kind of waited and kind of seen what we’re going to do, but we decided to go ahead. Obviously, Cowboy baseball has been good for years and years, and it’s evolved. If you look at it, we tried to figure out exactly what we wanted to do. You’re not exactly sure which way you want to go, but we’ve been in two or three different conferences over the years, and we want to honor a lot of different people and you didn’t want to leave anybody out. We tried to make it as broad spectrum as we could and honor those people from quite a ways back in the Big 8 and now in the Big 12.”

On how difficult the Big 12 will be this season:
“It’s tough every year, and I think it will be good again this year. I think, from a pitching standpoint and returning guys that have had success, I think we match up pretty well. A lot of it will depend on new guys and how quickly they can make a transition. Like I said, we have some quality players and quality young guys, but you never know who can handle it the quickest. We’ll see how that happens. We go on the road right away, and we go to Cal Poly. I don’t know about this year, but we’ll have years when the first time you get on a plane and fly somewhere to play, for one or two guys, it will be the first time they’ve been on a plane. Road trips and early in the season, there’s a lot of different things going on, a lot of different dynamics. I think we match up pretty well, but the league is always going to be good. Our conference affiliation is always good in baseball, even with the things that are evolving in our conference, it’s always going to be good.”

Senior catcher/outfielder Jared Womack
On what position he expects to play
“It just really depends on how the season shakes out and how we start. We have another good catcher in Victor Romero who is going to get a lot of playing time as well. We're just going to go out there and see what best bats are in the lineup and whoever fits in the position we need the best. That's what we're going to do to succeed.”

On team chemistry
I think this year will be a little different because last year we had a lot of JUCO guys, too. A few guys left. The first few weeks when you get a bunch of new guys in the locker room, we're doing individuals and working out and some of the old guys stay together, and the new guys learn to mesh together. This year I feel like our whole team really did mesh over the fall. A lot of us have found really good friendships, and I feel like we're going to be a good team this year on and off the field.”
On Ottoson and McCurry
“Kyle (Ottoson) didn't throw much through the fall. I caught him the first time he threw, and he didn't feel good so I talked to him about it. Ever since he has begun throwing in the spring, he has been lights out. He has been effortless, and he has got really good control with three different pitches. I feel like with him, Heaney and McCurry we can really solidify a weekend rotation. Randy has been throwing a lot better. He threw a few days ago, and it looked lights out as well. I think with those two and Heaney they have a lot of experience. I think we're going to be really good on the mound.”

Senior third baseman Mark Ginther
On team chemistry
“It's going really good. All the guys mesh really well. I don't think that will be a problem at all. We hang out on and off the field. We have a really good group of guys, and I think that will help our performance overall.

On OSU’s lineup
“Like Coach said, Zach Fish will bring us a lot more power. We've got me and Jared (Womack) in the middle of the lineup, and Hunter (Bailey) is either going to be at the beginning or the end because of his versatility and speed. I think speed and power will be really good. I think Brandon Bass might have a chance to play, and he can small ball for us. I think our lineup is really versatile.”

On the bats
“It took a little while to adjust to the bats. This year they are better balanced, and you can definitely tell. I think they're better than last year. It took a little while to adjust. I think everyone is just more comfortable this year because they have one year under their belt with these bats. I think the (offensive) numbers should be a little up from last year just with people being more comfortable with the bats.”

On the upcoming season
“I'm really excited to be back here for my senior year. I love baseball, and I love playing at OSU. There are not a lot of things better than that. I'm finishing up my school. There are not a lot of other places I would rather be right now.”

Junior left-handed pitcher Andrew Heaney
On the last season and the upcoming season
“I was pretty disappointed with how the year ended personally and as a team. I feel like this year I should be ready to go and hopefully help lead the pitching staff as best as I can.”

On his experience in the Cape Cod League last summer
“It was great just being on the field every single day and just playing ball. It's just going out, having fun, meeting new people and having a great time. There was good competition. It was good.”

Senior shortstop Hunter Bailey
On the battle for second base
“It's not really that big of a deal. All three of the guys over there are all really talented players. Obviously, Davis Duren was a great player, but they're learning so I think it's coming along good.”



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