USAO

The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma baseball team went 18-1 in a shortened 2020 season.

The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma baseball team was in the midst of a strong 2020 campaign when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the NAIA to cancel the season.

Led by head coach Mike Ross, the Drovers ended their season with an 18-1 record and went 6-0 in the Sooner Athletic Conference. The Drovers entered the season ranked third in the country after a third-place finish at the Avista NAIA World Series in 2019. By the time of the cancellation, the Drovers were ranked second in the country.

USAO won its first two games of the season before dropping the third game of its opening series in January. USAO rattled off 16 wins in a row after that loss.

Ross was disappointed that the season had to end early due to circumstances out of anybody's control. He would have loved to get to see his team compete.

"I think we had a pretty good team," Ross said in an interview with The Express-Star. "I would have enjoyed watching this team be able to compete all the way through the season."

USAO's pitching staff ended up being one of the best in the country. The staff was at the top ­­— or near the top ­­— in multiple statistical categories.

The pitching staff's ERA of 1.89 ranked first in the country. Opponents had a batting average .169 against the Drovers, and USAO also ranked first in that category.

"I strongly feel we had the best pitching staff in the nation," Ross said.

Ross gave the staff credit and said the group's hard work went a long way in accomplishing that level of success.

"Those guys came in and worked really, really hard. ... They just bought in and kind of took advantage of the situation," he said.

Ross also talked about learning how to win.

"I think that's an important part of it … learning how to win and knowing how to win," he said.

Colton Williams put together his second undefeated season in two seasons with the Drovers. He posted a record of 21-0 with an ERA of 1.17 in those two seasons.

"I can't imagine experiencing something like that again," Ross said.

Offensively, the Drovers also had success. They scored double-digit runs in eight of their 19 games.

USAO was adding to the success it had built up in previous seasons. USAO had been to the World Series three times from 2016 to 2019, winning at least 45 games all four seasons. During those four seasons, USAO won 188 games and multiple SAC titles.

After going 0-2 at the World Series in 2016, USAO went 1-2 in 2017 and picked up the program's first-ever World Series win. USAO missed out on the World Series in 2018 but still won 46 games.

The Drovers then put together their best run in program history in 2019. USAO ended up winning three games at the World Series and knocked off eventual national champion Tennessee Wesleyan University. USAO went 49-12 in 2019.

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