With college baseball in full swing, there is still some time before conference play starts and what better way to soak in a weekend of baseball with a Big 12/SEC showdown? Well, that’s exactly what’s going on in Minute Maid Park down in Houston for the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic. This year’s tournament features Texas, Baylor and Oklahoma facing off against LSU, Arkansas and Missouri. I made the trip to Houston for the weekend and caught all the Saturday and Sunday action.
In the final day of the Classic, it was a wild ride of emotions as we saw some great games including Oklahoma’s Dane Acker’s no hitter vs LSU. But perhaps the biggest surprise of all was the Baylor Bears who won the weekend with a perfect 3-0 record.
Missouri: 9 Texas: 8
Well, it wasn’t the weekend the Longhorns had hoped for. Coming in, Texas was undefeated and suffered their first loss to LSU on Friday night. They bounced back on Saturday after a late scare from Arkansas where they nearly blew an 8-0 lead. Sunday was like an ugly combination of both of those games as Texas simply had too many self-inflicted wounds to beat former Big 12 foe Missouri. However, it was one heck of an entertaining game.
The Horns shot themselves in the foot early as pitcher Coy Cobb threw a wild pitch to score a Missouri runner from third to give the Tigers an early 1-0 lead. Just two innings later, Missouri’s Peter Zimmermann’s RBI single gave the Tigers a two-run lead after three innings.
Texas would finally get on the board with Eric Kennedy’s sac fly but once again, Missouri’s Peter Zimmermann would launch a solo shot into the stands to put the Missouri lead back at two heading into the bottom of the fifth. Then with the bases loaded for Texas in the same inning, Zach Zubia was nailed by a bitch to bring in a runner and Cam Williams was walked before Eric Kennedy’s RBI ground out. After five, Texas took their first lead of the ballgame at 5-4.
It didn’t last long though because Missouri had a huge sixth inning rally. Texas replaced Cobb for pitcher Kolby Kubichek, and it went south in a hurry as the Tigers scored four runs in the sixth to take back the lead at 8-4.
The Horns would score a run in the seventh with a Cam Williams RBI double and added two more in the eighth as Zach Zubia hit and RBI and then scored on a wild pitch in the same inning. Going into the ninth inning, Missouri’s lead was down to 8-7.
But perhaps the most important moment of the game came when Texas made two bad errors to score a stealing runner all the way from first base that gave Missouri the insurance run they needed because while Texas would score a run in the bottom of the ninth, Duke Ellis struck out for the final out with runners on board.
Baylor: 3 #6 Arkansas: 2
Wow, how about the weekend Baylor just had? Heading into this weekend, NOBODY was talking about Baylor. Instead everyone’s focus was on the ranked teams such as LSU, Arkansas, Oklahoma and of course Texas who wasn’t ranked but came in undefeated. But what Baylor did was incredible, and a tip of the cap is needed for head coach Steve Rodriguez. I am not going to lie, I thought Baylor may win a game, but they came to Houston and reeled off three straight wins over Missouri, LSU and Arkansas to win the Shriners College Classic.
The game started off slow through the first three innings but finally in the fourth inning, Baylor’s Davion Downey hit an RBI single to get the first run of the game on the board. Then in the fourth frame, shortstop Nick Lofton hat an RBI single before Davion Downey hit a solo shot into the second in Minute Maid Park. That gave Baylor a 3-0 after six innings.
Meanwhile, Arkansas would score two runs in the eighth to make things interesting as Baylor reliever Jimmy Winston gave up the two runs but luckily for Baylor, that would be all she wrote because Baylor closer Luke Boyd would seal the deal for the Bears as Baylor came out on top 3-2.
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