Day One of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship is in the books, but what does it all mean?! Cameron Brock explains below, and be sure to check out his podcast recapping Day One at the bottom of the article.
Game 1: No. 4 West Virginia 11, No.5 Baylor 1 (8 innings)
“Who knew? You’re getting ready to find out that Isaiah Kearns does not give you the impression that he’s a morning guy, but apparently, he is, because that’s as good a pitching performance as the Mountaineers have had this entire season.”
–Randy Mazey, West Virginia head coach
The Nomads came out swinging. West Virginia place up seven runs on the board in the first inning and sent Baylor ace Nick Lewis to the showers after just one inning. The big first inning gave West Virginia starting pitcher Isaiah Kearns a nice cushion, and he used it to his full advantage. Kearns, a freshman right hander, gave up one run on three hits. He racked up nine strikeout and did not surrender a single walk.
Redshirt sophomore Jimmy Gallusky finished the day 3-for-4 scoring a run and bringing two more in from the dish. While Gallusky was the only hitter to rack up three hits, five total West Virginia players produced a multi-hit game. The Mountaineers racked up 14 total hits and saved the bullpen. West Virginia is now 19-14 when they do not play at Monongaliz County Ballpark.
Game 2: No.8 Oklahoma State 3 No.1 Texas Tech 0
“I think the fact that it was this setting a week ago that we spent so much time in waiting for it to stop raining, getting comfortable and playing here and having some success here. A lot of those things create a good memory in you brain and imagery of what you’re doing here is important. To come back here and be in the same dugout, which we’ll get to be in the entire tournament because the lower seeded team is the visiting team. So as the eight seed we know our space, we know our place and off we go. I think there’s a good carry over for our team right now.”
–Josh Holliday, Oklahoma State head coach
Blake Battenfield tossed six shutout innings, allowing just four hits and two walks. With that performance, Oklahoma State achieved something that had not been done since March: shutout Texas Tech. The last time the Red Raiders were shut out was at the Shriners Hospital College Classic at Minute Maid Park in Houston. On March 3, Texas A&M annihilated Tech 9-0 that day. Oklahoma State scored two runs on sacrifice flies. Oklahoma State catcher Collin Simpson finished 2-for-4, scoring twice. The Cowboys are now 3-1 on the year against Texas Tech. All four of those games took place away from Stillwater.
Texas Tech ace Davis Martin made his return. He was on a 60-pitch limit as he works his way back towards full health. It was a dismal outing for Martin. He made it through 3.1 innings, allowing all three runs on five hits Oklahoma State must’ve found Mr. Freeze’s ice gun to cool down the Tech bats. Tim Tadlock’s crew entered the ball game with a scorching offense averaging over 11 runs the previous weekend against Kansas.
Game 3: No.7 Kansas 7 No.2 TCU 3
“One thing this team has done is learn how to grind and play every day. The greatest thing about coaching in a power five conference is that you never get to take a game off. If you take a game off, then you will probably lose, and if that happens, you will probably lose the series. You have to learn how to grow up, compete, and enjoy the environment you get to play in. Whoever we play tomorrow will be in the top-20 which is a good thing for us.”
-Ritch Price, Kansas head coach
You can knock Kansas down, but they’re going to get back up eventually. It’s been that way the entire conference season, so why would it be any different at the Big 12 Tournament? TCU started off with a 2-0 lead when designated hitter Zach Humphreys brought in two runs on a triple in the second inning. Kansas shortstop Matt McLaughlin answered right back with a 2 RBI triple of his own in the next frame. He would also score on a Jaxx Groshans RBI single shortly after. TCU managed to tie it up once more, but Kansas proved too much for a team who did not start ace Jared Janczak and was without slugger Luken Baker.
Kansas starter Taylor Turski tossed 6.1 innings. He allowed two earned runs on six hits while racking up eight strikeouts. Sean Wymer took the loss for TCU, being tagged with four earned runs while pitching in relief. He did not produce an out. Kansas, who was picked by the Big 12 coaches to finish last in the league, is now 2-2 against unanimous preseason favorite TCU. All games were played outside of Lawrence.
Game 4: No.6 Texas 8 No.3 Oklahoma 4
“ I think every hitter tries to spray the ball around the field. Fortunately, I was able to control some of their pitches tonight.”
–Kacy Clemens, Texas senior first baseman
Texas finished the regular season ranked at the top of the conference in pitching and dead last in hitting. Wednesday night, the Longhorns shored up their weakness and scored an upset over their arch rivals. Kacy Clemens blasted two home runs to skyrocket Texas to a 5-0 lead. The Longhorns outhit Oklahoma 10-8. In addition to Clemens, David Hamilton and Zane Gurwitz also produced three hits. Four different Texas players scored two runs.
The Longhorns did a fine job as a team on the mound. Starting pitcher Nick Kennedy racked up eight strikeouts in 4.1 innings of work. However, Kennedy could not keep his pitch count down, finishing with 97 thrown. Texas was forced to go to the bullpen. This included the use of Morgan Cooper, a normal member of their rotation.
For the Sooners, senior catcher Renae Martinez blasted a home run himself. Martinez led the way offensively with two runs. Kyle Mendenhall was the only Sooner with a multi-hit game.
For more information on the championship, including schedule of games and television coverage, visit this page.
Big 12 Baseball Championship Day One Podcast Recap
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