, Muskogee, OK

May 30, 2014

Cowboys, Huskers have a tie in NCAA regional

By Jason Elmquist

— STILLWATER — Before Monday’s NCAA baseball selection show scrawled the list of teams to play in the Stillwater Regional hosted by Oklahoma State, Cowboy senior first baseman Tanner Krietemeier joked with his former teammate from Nebraska Michael Pritchard of the possibility that the Cornhuskers could return to Stillwater.

So it was no real shock to Krietemeier, who played for the Huskers his freshman year of college before a successful career at Iowa Western Community College, when his former college came up as the No. 2 seed in the regional.

“It’s just crazy how things work out,” said Krietemeier, a Castle Rock, Colo., native. “I played there where (Nebraska head coach) Darin Erstad was a volunteer coach there and I know a few guys still there.”

It was a rough one year at Nebraska, however, for Oklahoma State’s three-hole hitter. Krietemeier played in 32 games, getting 18 starts, but hit just .154 (10 for 65) from the plate with a mere two RBIs.

“It was a great place to play, the fans were great there,” Krietemeier said. “It was a great atmosphere. ... I just didn’t perform as well as I should have, and I just felt like I needed to find somewhere else to play.”

He’s come a long way since then — winning a national championship at Iowa Western, where he was a third-team All-American, and being named to the All-Big 12 Second Team last season and earned honorable mention honors this year.

“Going to junior college was definitely a great decision for me,” Krietemeier said. “Then from there coming here, it’s been a great trip. I’m happier than ever that I got to come here and play baseball.”

Pritchard, who was also Krietemeier’s roommate for that one year at Nebraska, said it was tough to see his roommate leave Lincoln, Neb., but points out that things have obviously worked out well for Krietemeier since his time at Nebraska.

“I think it was good for him to get out, goes to Iowa Western and has a great career there and now he’s the three-hole hitter here,” Pritchard said. “So I couldn’t be happier for him. He’s such a nice guy and I’m just happy that somebody like that — after being misserable at Nebraska — get a chance to come to Oklahoma State and look like he’s having the time of his life.”

If the two teams meet up Saturday in the Stillwater Regional, don’t expect too much in regards to pleasantries though.

“It’s pretty much all business right now,” Krietemeier said. “I haven’t really talked to Pritchard or anybody yet since they arrived. But I might say ‘what’s up?’ but it’s pretty much all business.”