It was just a week ago that Kansas State and Oklahoma met in a series at K-State with Big 12 regular-season baseball title implications. On Saturday, they will square off again with another championship on the line. Both teams are 2-0 in the Big 12 Baseball Championship, and the winner of Saturday’s showdown will advance to the championship final on Sunday.
The regular-season champion Wildcats and the Sooners both defeated Baylor and Texas Tech in the first two rounds of Pool One play, setting up the return meeting and what amounts to a tournament semifinal clash on Saturday. Sooner pitchers have not given up a run in their two Big 12 Championship games. OU ace starter Jonathon Gray pitched a four-hit shutout in a 2-0 Sooner victory over Baylor, and southpaw Dillon Overton and two Sooner relievers follwed that up with an 8-0 verdict over eighth-seed Texas Tech.
“(Saturday’s) game is extremely important for us,” Oklahoma second-baseman Hector Lorenzana said. “We habve got to beat those guys (Kansas State) if we want to get a ring. That;s our goal. We came in here trying to win a championship., and winning (Saturday) is goiung to give us a good opportuniuty to do that.”
Top-seeded Kansas State escaped a mild scare from Texas Tech in its opening-round contest before disposing of the Red Raiders in a one-run 4-3 victory. The Cats got all they could handle from Baylor in coming from five runs down in the first three innings with four runs of their own in the fourth and another four-spot in the sixth to capture a 13-9 win.
“We play all nine innings and we play to win,” said Kansas State head coach Brad Hill. “Winning breed winning. You don’t ever play to lose, and that’s what we did (at the outset) today.”
There is still a lot of uncertainty in Pool Two, with lower seeds Kansas and TCU springing opening-round upsets over third-seeded West Virginia and second-seed Oklahoma State, respectively. If Kansas is able to defeat Oklahoma State in the late game on Friday night, the Jayhawks, who finished ninth in the Big 12 standings a year ago, will have the inside track to win Pool Two and face the winner of of the game between Kansas State and Oklahoma.
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