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OSU Baseball Notebook: Brian Holiday’s Transition to OSU, New-Look Middle Infield, Newcomers Ready to Make Impact

Get to know some of OSU baseball’s new-look roster.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — The school year is flying by, as it’s somehow already coming up on baseball season.

Oklahoma State held its baseball media day Thursday in Gallagher-Iba Arena. The Cowboys open their season with a three-game series at Sam Houston from Feb. 16-18. Here are a handful of stories lines that came from media day.

Happy Hol(l)idays

The 2023 NJCAA JUCO World Series Most Outstanding Pitcher now resides in Stillwater.

Brain Holiday, not to be confused with the Hollidays (two Ls), transferred to OSU this offseason from Central Florida Junior College. As a sophomore last season, he led the Patriots to a JUCO national title, going 10-0 in 17 appearances, where he had a 3.07 ERA. He pitched 9 2/3 innings in the JUCO World Series, earning a win and a save while striking out 23 batters.

“Brian’s awesome,” Holliday said. “He’s a wonderful kid. He’s one of the best teammates that I’ve ever seen. He’s at the field. He’s constantly working. He’s constantly supporting teammates. He had a very good fall on the mound. Elite competitor, great teammate, very versatile pitcher, has the ability to pitch in any role, I think, that we deem best for the team. He can start. He could close. He’s got four good pitches, tons of confidence. He’s a real, real bright spot. He’s absolutely wonderful.”

He’s got a unique look about him that OSU fans ought to get behind. He’s not the biggest hurler on OSU’s roster — in fact, he’s one of the smallest. Listed at 5-foot-11, 203 pounds, Holiday had a red mullet that he took a few questions about Thursday.

Before playing with Central Florida JC, Holiday spent his freshman season at Florida Southwestern State JC, making 20 appearances in 2022 where he was 7-1 with five saves and a 1.20 ERA in 52 2/3 innings. He had 74 strikeouts that season.

“I’m a big kinda guy that just wants to win,” Holiday said. “It doesn’t really matter what role I’m in. Whatever role he puts me in, whether that’s closer, long reliever or weekend guy, I’m gonna treat it like it’s Game 7 of the World Series and pitch my heart out.”

New Look in the Middle Infield

O’Brate Stadium’s longstanding middle infield tandem of Marcus Brown and Roc Riggio is no more.

Riggio is in the New York Yankees’ organization after the Yankees took him in the fourth round of last season’s draft. Brown is in the Washington Nationals’ organization after the Nats took him in the fifth.

So, enter Lane Forsythe and Aidan Meola.

OSU fans will be somewhat familiar with Meola, who is in his third season with the program. The son of former USMNT goalkeeper Tony Meola, Aidan made 21 starts last season whilst battling through injuries. He hit .330 with seven doubles, a triple and four home runs. He put OSU into the Big 12 Tournament’s title game with a walk-off home run against Texas Tech.

“He’s a tough kid,” Holliday said. “He’s a tenacious competitor. He loves to compete. He thrives on competition. He’s played a lot of second base. He’ll start the season out there. I think he’s gonna play well. It’s important to him. He’s put a lot into it. I think he’s in a really good frame of mind in terms of feeling good about his preparation. Health has been good. He’s a guy that we’re counting on.”

He’ll work in partnership with transfer Lane Forsythe. Forsythe won a national title with Mississippi State in 2021. In three seasons with the Bulldogs, Forsythe made 130 starts and took part in 145 games. That national title came in Forsythe’s freshman season, where he was named to the CWS All-Tournament Team.

In three seasons of college ball, Forsythe has hit .247 with 47 RBIs. Tyler Wulfert will play at third base next to Forsythe, and Wulfert says Forsythe’s fielding stands out about what makes him a good fit with the Pokes.

“His fielding — it’s smooth,” Wulfert said. “He’s great in the field, really good. He’s got a good arm. He’s a plus, plus defender.”

Kollin Ritchie ‘Emerged the Quickest’ Among OSU Freshmen

The Cowboys have had a lot of recent success with freshmen.

Nolan Schubart and Carson Benge each earned freshmen All-America honors last season. Roc Riggio did the year before. Justin Campbell did in 2020.

Holliday has a big freshman class in 2024, but a former Oklahoma preps standout seems to be stepping out among the crowd early.

“Kollin Ritchie, of our freshman class, is probably emerged the quickest and stepped out the most,” Holliday said. “His at-bats in games and scrimmages have been really, really high level. His consistency is excellent. He’s a strong, versatile kid. Can play third base, can play the outfield. He’s got the look of a freshman that is a pretty unique player.”

From Atoka, Ritchie hit .531 with 11 home runs and 47 RBIs as a high school senior. The Baltimore Orioles selected him in the 19th round of last year’s MLB Draft, but Ritchie elected to go to school. With Wulfert at third and returners likely filling out the outfield spots, Ritchie’s initial impact could come as a designated hitter. He could also see time in the outfield on days Benge pitches.

Other freshmen Holliday mentioned as bright spots thus far are middle infielder Avery Ortiz (Tulsa), outfielder Donovan LaSalle (Lake Charles, Louisiana), catcher Charlie Carter (Little Rock, Arkansas), left-handed pitcher Kyle Bade (Plano, Texas) and left-handed pitcher/first baseman Max Knight (Bixby).

A Name to Watch: Robert Cranz

With as many new faces as this team has, I asked the four players made available for media day who they thought was a player that the fanbase doesn’t know a ton about yet but they will soon. Their answer: Robert Cranz.

A 6-foot-3, 207-pound right-handed pitcher, Cranz transferred to Stillwater from Wichita State, where he spent two seasons. He made 19 relief appearances with the Shockers last season, striking out 43 batters in 31 innings of work. He had a 3.98 ERA.

“He’s just tough, man,” Holiday said. “I’m not even a hitter and I wouldn’t wanna face him. He spots up. He throws hard. He’s got high spin stuff. He’s got four pitches that are coming at you, and he’ll throw them on any count, any time that he wants, any spot that he wants and everything. Extremely dominant over the fall, and he’s carried it out coming back in the spring, too. I think he’s gonna be a big wow-factor this year.”

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