Sure, sure, TCU lost the series to Texas Tech despite winning in very dumb, very exciting fashion on Thursday night. And sure, the Frogs didn’t gain any position in the conference heading into the Big 12 Tournament, which begins this Wednesday.
But losing to Tech wasn’t all bad. The Red Raiders were able to jump Baylor in the conference standings at the last minute, putting Tech in the No. 1 spot for the tournament and dropping the Bears down to No. 2. That’s fun, right? That’s a silver lining? That’s enough to quell the panic of realizing the Frogs aren’t so much on the outside looking as they are frantically searching to find a window to look through? (I hope that metaphor was stretched enough for you.)
The tournament starts at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City. Let’s go through the matchups. You’ll note that the University of Texas is not listed in these games, and that’s because, well, the Longhorns didn’t make the conference tournament. [pause for applause break]
No. 4 West Virginia (34-18, 13-11 Big 12) v. No. 5 Kansas (31-24, 12-12 Big 12), 9 a.m. — Give credit where credit is due to the Jayhawks, who have surprised nearly everyone this season and finished .500 in conference play. Kansas also swept Kansas State in the final series of the year, winning 10-0 on Friday to set the tone.
The Mountaineers beat the daylights out of George Washington 10-1 and 13-2 last weekend, although Friday’s game was cancelled. That means no Friday Night Happy Hour or Baseball Bingo for West Virginia fans, which must’ve sent all of Morgantown into a furor.
The winner of this game will play the winner of...
No. 1 Texas Tech (36-15, 16-8 Big 12) v. No. 8 Kansas State (25-31, 8-16 Big 12), 12:30 p.m. — Tech recovered from losing 3-1 in 14 innings to TCU on Thursday, winning 7-2 Friday and 8-4 Saturday to clinch the top seed. The Raiders are projected by D1 Baseball to host a Super Regional, and Tech should clearly be the favorite heading into the conference tournament.
Kansas State, meanwhile, got its doors blown off by Kansas, and finished 8-16 in the conference. The Wildcats only beat out Texas for the No. 8 seed because the Longhorns played one fewer game due to a weather cancellation and finished 7-16.
Tech should win this one on paper, as the Red Raiders beat Kansas State in Manhattan 11-4 and 4-3 in the regular season before losing 5-4 in the Sunday game.
No. 2 Baylor (33-15, 14-8 Big 12) v. No. 7 Oklahoma (33-21, 11-13 Big 12), 4 p.m. — Baylor lost two games to Oklahoma State last week and had the third one cancelled, which knocked the Bears out of the top spot. Baylor is projected by D1 Baseball to be a 2-seed in the College Station regional, which would be wildly entertaining.
OU, meanwhile, beat Texas 4-2 and 13-0 before losing the final game of the regular season 6-4. The Sooners pretty much have to win the conference title to make the NCAA Tournament.
No. 3 Oklahoma State (32-17, 14-9 Big 12) v. No. 6 TCU (29-24, 11-13 Big 12), 7:30 p.m. — The Cowboys finished on a hot streak, winning seven of their last eight games and solidifying their chances to host a regional. A Big 12 Tournament championship might be what it takes for Oklahoma State to host a Super Regional.
The Frogs had all the momentum going into Friday’s game against Texas Tech and then promptly threw it away, losing 7-2 in the second game despite racking up eight hits. TCU had an out-of-character season that included a decade’s worth of bad injury luck, and now the Frogs will most likely need a miracle to make the NCAA Tournament.
We’ll see Wednesday night if miracles exist in the state of Oklahoma.