The top two teams in Big 12 baseball this season lived up to their elite status and their top seeds as host regional sites with a perfect 8-0 record over the weekend, sending both teams into the Super Regionals round of the 2014 NCAA Baseball Championship.
The Big 12 Cowboys (48-16) polished off No. 3 seed Cal State Fullerton for a second time in the series, 6-4, on Sunday night at OSU’s Allie P. Reynolds Stadium in Stillwater. TCU (45-15) and Sam Houston State met in the championship game of the Ft. Worth Regional. Less than 24 hours earlier, these same two teams went 22 innings before TCU emerged with a 3-2 victory. The Horned Frogs had a little easier time of it on Sunday, prevailing by a 6-1 count.
Both Oklahoma State and conference runner-up TCU had the benefit of not having to play an elimination game earlier on Sunday, which both of their opponents in the championship games had to do.
Nevertheless, the regional seedings held to form in both Stillwater and Ft. Worth. Both Texas Tech and Texas are hoping to upset the seedings in their respective regional championships and join Oklahoma State and TCU by advancing to the Super Regionals this coming weekend.
Texas Tech (42-18) is a lot closer to advancing to the next round than their in-state rivals from Austin. The No. 2-seeded Red Raiders were leading 1-0 with one out in the top of the eighth and Miami, the region’s top seed, batting before the rains came. After a nearly two-hour delay, the game was suspended, with play to resume on Monday afternoon in Coral Gables, Fla.
Texas fell 3-2 to former Big 12 foe Texas A&M on Sunday, setting up a winner-take-all final on Monday. A&M came from behind with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings to erase a 2-1 Longhorn lead and stay alive in the Houston Regional. Earlier in the day, the Aggies knocked off top-seed Rice and eliminated the host Owls on their own diamond.
So what we know for certain at this time is: Oklahoma State and TCU are moving on, Texas Tech is five outs away from the same. And Texas can make it a potential quartet of Big 12 teams out of the 16 teams that will still be alive to fight another weekend, with hopes of continuing on to the College World Series in Omaha.
Kansas wasn’t as fortunate – at least so far – as the four other schools out of the Big 12 who made the 64-team NCAA Championship field. After knocking off Kentucky in the opening round of the Louisville Regional, No. 3 Kansas (35-26) helped beat itself, committing three costly errors, in 6-3 loss to top-seed Louisville on Saturday, and the Jayhawks had three more on Sunday and dropped an 8-6 decision in an elimination-game rematch against Kentucky.
The Jayhawks fell behind 8-0 early against Kentucky, the region’s No, 2 seed, out of the SEC. Kansas scored five times in the sixth but, unfortunately, the hole the Hawks dug for themselves was too deep to climb out of and their postseason came to an end after three games.
More highlights and things you might be interested to know from Big 12 NCAA regional action over the weekend:
- The Big 12 is 11-3 so far in the 2014 postseason. Over the past three years, Big 12 teams are a collective 29-11 in the regional round of the NCAA Baseball Championship.
- TCU, one of the hottest teams in college baseball as winners of 30 of its last 33 games, will host its first NCAA baseball super regional next week, taking on Pepperdine (42-16) in a best-two-out-of-three series.
- Tyler Alexander, a freshman TCU starting pitcher, threw his second consecutive complete game in the Horned Frogs’ 6-1 win over Sam Houston State in the championship game of the Ft. Worth Regional.
- Six TCU players had multiple hits in Sunday’s 6-1 championship win over Sam Houston State.
- Oklahoma State placed seven players on the 11-man Stillwater Regional All-Tournament Team, including the Most Outstanding Player, sophomore shortstop Donnie Walton.
- Oklahoma State starter Tyler Nurdin didn’t make it out of the first inning on Sunday after Cal State Fullerton took a quick 3-0 lead in their regional championship game.
- The Cowboys scored a three-spot in their half of the seventh inning against Cal State Fullerton on Sunday to propel them to a 6-4 victory and give them their 28th come-from-behind victory of the season.
- Oklahoma State will play the winner between Oregon State and UC Irvine in the Corvallis (Ore.) Regional in next weekend’s Super Regionals.
- Texas Tech freshman right-handed starter Ryan Mosely pitched six innings of shutout ball in Sunday’s suspended NCAA regional game with top-seed Miami, yielding just two hits and striking out six.
- Texas A&M avoided elimination Sunday afternoon, coming from behind after falling six runs down, 6-0, to Rice, before winning out 9-8. As a result the Aggies were able to advance to Sunday night’s matchup with Texas, in which they again came from behind to win 3-2 and set up Monday night’s championship game, again against the Longhorns.
- Texas outfielder Mark Payton went 1 for 3 in the game on Sunday to extend his on-base streak to 98 games.
- Kentucky freshman starter Zach Brown came into Sunday’s elimination game with Kansas with a .360 opponents’ batting average. The Kentucky starter was everything but hittable against the Jayhawks, though, holding the third-place team out of the Big 12 scoreless through the first five frames on Sunday in protecting an 8-0 Kentucky lead.