The TCU baseball team had all but clinched a top-8 national seed before the Big 12 Championship Tournament concluded this past weekend. The Horned Frogs erased all doubt with a strong performance in Oklahoma City, however, defeating Kansas State (twice), Texas Tech and Oklahoma State to win the tournament after sharing the Big 12 regular season title with Texas.
TCU was selected as a host for an NCAA Regional Tournament in the final innings of the conference championship game against the Cowboys, but the Horned Frogs learned on Monday that they would enter the NCAA Tournament as the No. 6 national seed, meaning TCU (40-17) will likely host the NCAA Super Regional if the team advances that far.
First, TCU must get through the Fort Worth Regional, which will include Oregon State, Dallas Baptist and McNeese State. TCU will open the bracket against McNeese State, while Oregon State and Dallas Baptist will see each other on the other side, with the winners of each game advancing to the semifinal round of the winner’s bracket. Whichever team wins the Fort Worth Regional will play the winner of the regional featuring No. 11 seed Old Dominion.
While the last few weeks of the regular season weren’t pretty, TCU closed the season out with a championship performance in the Big 12 tournament. Can the Horned Frogs carry their newfound momentum into their home regional and, potentially, a home super regional? Let the #ToadToOmaha begin.
No. 1: (6) TCU Horned Frogs (40-17)
The Horned Frogs sealed their national seed and home-field advantage for the regional with a championship run in the Big 12 tournament. Porter Brown and Phillip Sikes dazzled in the title game against Oklahoma State, with Brown earning Most Outstanding Player for the tournament. TCU averaged 8.6 runs per game to claim the Big 12 crown.
Although pitching depth has been a concern for the Horned Frogs, TCU finished 19-7 at Lupton Stadium during the regular season. The Horned Frogs, who rank fourth in RPI, will need stellar performances from starters like Russell Smith and Austin Krob. Johnny Ray has struggled after a promising start to his TCU career, but long relievers like Marcelo Perez, Drew Hill, Garrett Wright and Charles King have stepped up and thrown big innings in recent games.
No. 2: Oregon State Beavers (34-22)
The Beavers arrive as an at-large bid from the Pac-12 Conference and with a history of NCAA Tournament appearances. While ranking 22nd in RPI, Oregon State is 2-5 over its last seven games including a bad loss against Portland. The Beavers finished sixth in the Pac-12 this season with a 16-14 conference record.
Oregon State lost its strongest bat of the season earlier this year, when outfielder Jacob Melton went down with a shoulder injury and underwent surgery. Melton slashed .404/.466/.697 with six homers and 25 RBIs in roughly 100 at-bats before the injury. Melton was also Oregon State’s biggest weapon on the base paths, totaling eight stolen bases.
No. 3: Dallas Baptist Patriots (37-15)
Dallas Baptist split a series with Gonzaga and defeated Indiana State five times en route to winning the Missouri Valley Conference title this season. The Patriots will be appearing in a Fort Worth Regional for the third time since 2014 and are looking to make the super regionals for the first time since 2011. Excluding 2020, DBU has won at least 40 games and qualified for a regional tournament in each of the last six seasons.
Jackson Glenn, Jace Gracy and Cole Moore all carry .OPS numbers over 1.000 to headline the DBU offense. The Patriots also have some power, with three players including Glenn, Moore and Blayne Jones entering the tournament over 10 home runs on the season. Rhett Kouba is the team’s best starter, carrying a 2.28 ERA in 61 innings pitched.
‘That one was for all the haters’: Inside the epic catch that propelled Dallas Baptist baseball to yet another NCAA Tournament https://t.co/2bhLmsiTgw— Dallas Morning News (@dallasnews) May 31, 2021
No. 4: McNeese State Cowboys (32-28)
The Cowboys won the Southland Conference tournament to enter the Fort Worth Regional as the fourth and final team. McNeese State has not fared well on the road, posting an 8-20 record in away games. The Cowboys were swept by both Alabama and Louisiana Tech in nonconference play earlier this season. Clayton Rasbeary leads the McNeese State offense with a .350 average, 11 home runs and 41 RBIs.