College baseball’s second season gets under way this week as conference’s like the Big 12 hold their postseason championships, feeding into the bigger NCAA Baseball Championship for the fortunate few good or lucky enough to be one of the 64 select teams to be playing on in June.
The Big 12 Championship will convene on Thursday, delayed by one day because of the horrific storm that hit the town of Moore, a southern suburb of Oklahoma City, where the eight-team Big 12 Baseball Tournament is being held. Four pool-format games will be played each day, Thursday through Saturday, with the winners in each pool to meet on Sunday for the conference championship.
Kansas State comes in as the No. 1 seed in the tournament by virtue of winning the conference regular-season crown, the Wildcats first in baseball in over 80 years. While K-State owns the best record in conference games this season (16-8, a nine-game improvement over the Cats’ 7-17 seventh-place finish a year ago), second-seed Oklahoma State has the best overall mark for the season at 39-14, a .736 winning percentage, one game better than the league-champion Wildcats.
The Big 12 Baseball Championship has been held in Oklahoma City all 16 years the tournament has been held. All but one of those years, the Championship has been played at what is now the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in the downtown area.
The first two years of the Big 12 postseason championship, only six of the 12 teams took part in a double-elimination tournament. From 1999 to 2005, the Championship field was expanded to eight teams and the tournament structure was changed to be more like that of the College World Series, with two four-team brackets competiting in a double-elimination format. The two final teams standing then squared off for the conference tournament title.
For five years, beginning in 2006, the format of tournament changed again, to a round-robin schedule of games. The eight teams were divided into two pools. The teams in the respective pools played each other, and the winners of each pool met in a one-game championship final. This format was discontinued after the 2010 season, but has been revisited for this year’s Championship because of the more compressed schedule.
In 2011 and 2012, it was decided to return to the format that was used from 1999 to 2005: two four-team double-elimination brackets
Texas and Nebraska share the most postseason Championship titles with four each. Texas A&M won three times when it was a member of the Big 12. No other conference team has won the Big 12 Baseball Championship more than once. Kansas State has never won a postseason tournament in baseball; neither has Baylor, despite being only one of two teams to have appeared in all 16 previous Championships. Oklahoma also has been a participant in every tournament since the Big 12′s inaugural season in 1997.
Of the eight teams in this year’s Big 12 Baseball championship, Baylor (.509) and Oklahoma (.500) have the two best winning percentages in conference tournment play.
Now for the real meat of this article: predictions on how the Big 12 Baseball Championship will play out.
Opening Games (Thursday, May 23)
Oklahoma over Baylor
Kansas State over Texas Tech
Oklahoma State over TCU
Second Round (Friday, May 24)
Oklahoma over Texas Tech
Kansas State over Baylor
TCU over West Virginia
Oklahoma State over Kansas
Third Round (Saturday, May 25)
Baylor over Texas Tech
Oklahoma over Kansas State
Oklahoma State over West Virginia
TCU over Kansas
Pool One Championship Standings
Kansas State 2-1
Texas Tech 0-3
Pool Two Championship Standings
Oklahoma State 3-0
West Virginia 0-3
Big 12 Championship Game (Sunday, May 26)
Oklahoma 7, Oklahoma State 4
Topics: Baseball, Baylor Bears, Big 12 Baseball Championship, Kansas State Wildcats, Kansss Jayhawks, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, TCU Horned Frogs, Texas Tech Red Raiders, West Virginia Mountaineers