Half the field has been eliminated in the Big 12 Baseball Championship in Oklahoma City, including two of the top four seeds, and the No. 1 seed is still alive, but just one loss from being sent home.
No. 2 seed TCU and Texas, the five seed, got Friday off by virtue of winning their first two tournament games. Both will be in action on Saturday, however, against Baylor and top-seed Oklahoma State, respectively, winners in their elimination games on Friday.
Baylor broke open a close game with a five-run seventh inning and went on to a 9-4 victory over West Virginia. It was Baylor’s second consecutive win while facing elimination after losing its opening game to TCU, the team the Bears will go up against on Saturday.
After three and a half hours on Friday night, Oklahoma State staved off elimination, outlasting their in-state rival Oklahoma 11-8 to win for the fourth time in a little over a week against the Sooners. The game went back and forth for seven innings before Oklahoma State struck for three more runs in the top half of the eighth, which proved to be the winning margin. Closer Brendan McCurry came on in the final two innings and shut down the Sooners to record the save.
Oklahoma third baseman Sheldon Neuse, the Big 12 Freshman of the Year, had four hits in five at bats and almost beat out an infield hit that would have made it five for five, but the defending tournament champions could not overcome their own mistakes.
The Big 12’s worst defensive team committed three errors that proved very costly and opened the door for Oklahoma State to remain alive in quest of their second Big 12 postseason championship.
So the scene now shifts to Saturday, with TCU taking on Baylor and Texas going up against the No. 1 seed Cowboys. Both games are rematches of earlier games in the tournament. TCU defeated Baylor 8 to 5 in the opening round, while Texas shutout Oklahoma State 3-0 in a winner’s bracket game Thursday.
Both Baylor and Oklahoma State must win to avoid elimination. Otherwise TCU and Texas will meet for the tournament championship on Sunday.