The third and final day of pool play in the Big 12 baseball tournament on Saturday proved to be the most exciting one, as two games went into extra innings.
The Oklahoma Sooners and the Kansas Jayhawks both won their games on Saturday to advance out of pool play and into Sunday's championship game with wins over the Kansas State Wildcats and the TCU Horned Frogs, respectively.
Also grabbing wins on Saturday were the Texas Tech Red Raiders over the Baylor Bears and the West Virginia Mountaineers over the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Texas Tech - 8
Baylor - 2
WP: Matt Withrow, 5.0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 4 K
LP: Austin Stone, 5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
In a game between two teams that lost its first two games of the tournament, the Texas Tech Red Raiders got off the schneid on Saturday by ending their Big 12 tournament play with an 8-2 win over the Baylor Bears.
This game was likely the last of the season for both teams, as neither is expected to make the NCAA tournament.
“It’s really unusual to win your last game and have your season end," said Texas Tech head coach Tim Tadlock. "It’s an odd feeling for all of us. We aspired to win this tournament. This year wasn’t our year, but we will be ready to go next year.”
Shortstop Tim Proudfoot led the way for the Red Raiders, going 3-for-4 at the plate with a whopping five RBI.
Baylor, anticipating that this would be its last game, used nine substitutes to get players some playing time.
The Red Raiders finish their season at 26-30 overall, while the Bears finished 27-28.
Kansas State - 6
Oklahoma - 7
WP: Ralph Garza Jr., 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
LP: Jake Matthys, 4.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
Despite allowing the Kansas State Wildcats to come back from four runs down in the ninth inning to tie the game at 5-5, the Oklahoma Sooners advanced to the Big 12 title game on Sunday with a thrilling 7-6 win in 11 innings.
"The ups and the downs of this game were crazy, but it was really motivating seeing both teams fight," said Sooners center fielder Max White, who was 2-for-6 on the day. "Two teams just battling like that, it is unbelievable."
The Sooners set the tone early with a three-RBI double by third baseman Garrett Carey in the fourth inning that gave Oklahoma a 4-0 lead.
The Sooners led 5-1 heading to the bottom of the ninth, but a two-out RBI single by Wildcats designated hitter Mitch Meyer capped off a furious rally and tied the game at 5-5.
Both teams scored a run in the 10th inning, but it was an RBI single by Sooners left fielder Craig Aikin that finally put the game away for Oklahoma.
With the emotional win, the Sooners advanced out of Pool One into Sunday's Big 12 championship game. The Sooners have won all three games of the tournament so far.
"It's all hands on board, just like today," said Oklahoma head coach Sunny Golloway. "And the good lord willing, we're going to get it done tomorrow."
The Sooners will meet the Kansas Jayhawks, who also swept through pool play, in the championship game at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday.
West Virginia - 6
Oklahoma State - 5
WP: Corey Walter, 4.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
LP: Brendan McCurry, 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
In the day's second extra-innings game, the West Virginia Mountaineers delivered the Oklahoma State Cowboys their third loss in as many days.
The Cowboys entered the tournament as the second seed in the tournament with aspirations of playing well enough in the conference tournament to earn the right to host the first round of the NCAA tournament.
However, with three losses, the Cowboys will almost certainly not host a game in the postseason.
The Cowboys built a 5-0 lead through the game's first 5.5 innings, driven primarily by five errors committed by the Mountaineers over that span.
But a five-run outburst propelled by back-to-back jacks by first baseman Ryan McBroom and right fielder Brady Wilson tied the game at 5-5 for West Virginia.
Then in the 10th inning, Mountaineers left fielder Jacob Rice singled down the right side of the field to score Bobby Boyd, who was safe at home despite an extremely close play at the plate.
"Overall, no one really expected much from us," said Wilson. "Being down 5-0, I don't think any one of us in the dugout tonight thought we were going to win that game. Just like that though, we were right back in it."
Despite West Virginia winning its game on Saturday, the Mountaineers were eliminated from advancing to the title game as the Kansas Jayhawks won their game to advance out of Pool Two.
Kansas - 4
TCU - 0
WP: Robert Kahana, 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
LP: Andrew Mitchell, 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K
The Kansas Jayhawks advanced out of Pool Two with a 4-0 shutout win over the TCU Horned Frogs, which completed the Jayhawks' three-game sweep in pool play.
A two-run homer by left fielder Michael Suiter iced the game for the Jayhawks, who also got a great outing from their pitching staff.
"Obviously I'm thrilled with the way our kids played tonight," said Kansas head coach Ritch Price. "Anytime you're trying to accomplish something special and get yourself to the championship game, it obviously starts with your starting pitching."
Because of tiebreaker rules within pool play, the Jayhawks knew they needed to win Saturday's game against the Horned Frogs to move on to Sunday. The Jayhawks didn't falter under the pressure and instead delivered their best performance of the tournament so far.
"Without tonight, we couldn't have tomorrow," said Suiter. "The pressure was definitely on tonight."
Suiter led the way offensively for Kansas, going 2-for-4 with his home run. For the Horned Frogs, who equaled the Jayhawks' effort in the hit department with six, center fielder Cody Jones stuck out with a 3-for-4 performance.
Kansas, who played the late game on Saturday, will play the Oklahoma Sooners for the Big 12 tournament title at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, Okla.
*All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.