The field of 64 is set as the road to Omaha started Friday. There were six Big 12 teams in action on the diamond as the conference went 3-3. Here are my six thoughts on the Big 12 from day one of the college baseball regionals.
Texas Tech: 3, UCONN: 2
Texas: 4, Louisiana: 2
Indiana: 12, West Virginia: 6
East Carolina: 14, Oklahoma: 5
Oral Roberts: 6, Oklahoma State: 4
TCU: 12, Arizona: 4
1. Mason Molina Muzzled the Huskies
Last week at the Big 12 tournament, Texas Tech pitcher Mason Molina had a performance to remember. In the opening game against West Virginia, Mason pitched six innings and allowed just one run.
On Friday against UCONN, Mason got the start and put on another great performance. He pitched six full innings and allowed just two runs. Mason also struck out ten batters during his tome on the mound. Typically, we are always talking about the offense for Texas Tech but when Mason Molina is on the mound, it’s hard to ignore what he does because he is on another level right now. Mason played a huge role in Texas Tech’s opening win over UCONN.
2. Lucas Gordon Was Ragin Against the Cajuns
I wasn’t sure how the Longhorns would come out on Friday after their disappointing performance in Arlington at the Big 12 tournament last week. But I must give them credit because they were ready to play in their opening game of the postseason. Lucas Gordon got the start and played like the Big 12 pitcher of the year. He pitched seven full innings and struck out eight batters while allowing just one run. Without him, there is no way Texas would have won this game.
Thankfully, the Longhorns bats woke up later in the game to give Lucas some run support. Mitchell Daly hit a solo homer in the sixth inning before Porter Brown and Dylan Campbell helped Texas take the lead later in the game.
With their big win on Friday, the Longhorns will face Miami on Saturday afternoon.
3. West Virginia Had a Rough Ninth Inning
The final score of this game may not show it but this game was actually very close until the ninth inning. After West Virginia scored a run in the bottom of the eighth inning, they pulled within a run as Indiana led 7-6. At that point, I thought they still had a good chance of winning the game, but I was wrong.
In the top of the ninth inning, Indiana went on a scoring spree to pull away. Brock Tibbitts scored two runs with a triple before Carter Mathison drove in a run.
As bad as that was for West Virginia, it got even worse when Josh Pyne hit a two-run bomb to put the final nail in the coffin.
I know West Virginia didn’t play their best game on Friday night but they really let this game get away from them late. Now they will face Ball State on Saturday in an elimination game.
4. The Pirates Stole Everything from the Sooners
This was by far the worst Big 12 game on Friday. East Carolina got the scoring started early and didn’t stop. By the end of the fifth inning, the Pirates had a 10-0 lead and never looked back. Fortunately for Oklahoma they wouldn’t get shutout, but they ended up using six pitchers in this game.
The best thing for the Sooners to do here is forget everything that happened on Friday night and start fresh against Army on Saturday. If they can’t regroup, then they will likely be heading back to Norman very soon.
5. Oral Roberts Has Oklahoma State’s Number
Sometimes a team just has your number and that appears to be the case with ORU and Oklahoma State. Prior to their meeting on Friday night, the Golden Eagles have beaten the Cowboys twice earlier in the year and looked to do it once again. Nolan McLean got the start for the Cowboys, but he really struggled as he gave up five runs in four innings.
Meanwhile it took Oklahoma State a little while to wake up and finally did when David Mendham drove in a pair of runs in the fifth inning.
The Cowboys would make a late push in the eighth inning by adding two more runs but it wasn’t enough to win the game.
I don’t know what it is about Oral Roberts, but they seem to have Oklahoma State’s number. The Cowboys will need to change that because if they don’t, they won’t be playing baseball much longer this season.
6. TCU Stays Hot
I have said this a million times by now, but TCU is the hottest team not only in the Big 12 but college baseball. The Horned Frogs absolutely destroyed the Wildcats on Friday night in Fayetteville. Brayden Taylor got the party started with a three-run blast in the first inning before Anthony Silva brought in another run to make it a 4-2 game.
Taylor would drive in two more runs in the second inning as TCU would go on to score runs in the fourth and fifth inning as well. By the end of the fifth, the Horned Frogs had a 9-3 lead and never looked back. Kurtis Bryne hit a two-run blast later in the game and Austin Davis knocked in another insurance run in the eighth inning. And speaking of Austin Davis, take a look at his amazing grab early in the game.
With the win, TCU focuses their attention on Arkansas on Saturday.
Elimination Game: Army vs Oklahoma (11 AM CT)
Elimination Game: Ball State vs West Virginia (11 AM CT)
Elimination Game: DBU vs Oklahoma State (2 PM CT)
Florida vs Texas Tech (5 PM CT)
Miami vs Texas (5 PM CT)
Arkansas vs TCU (8 PM CT)