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Big 12 Weekly Roundup (May 21-27): Big 12 Championship in Review; NCAA Tournament Selections

Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship

The NCAA Tournament field was just announced this morning (or this afternoon for those on the east coast) and the field will feature six Big 12 teams with two teams that just missed the final cut.

The NCAA Regionals will begin on Friday, May 31 and are double elimination.

Regional Hosts

No. 9 Oklahoma will welcome Oral Roberts, UConn, and Duke to Norman.

No. 11 Oklahoma State will welcome Nebraska, Florida, and Niagara to Stillwater.

Regional Tournament Teams

Texas will travel to the Bryan-College Station Regional to join a field of No. 3 Texas A&M, Grambling State, and Louisiana.

Kansas State will join the Fayetteville Regional to face No. 5 Arkansas, SEMO, and Louisiana Tech.

UCF was sent to the Tallahassee Regional to face No. 8 Florida State Stetson, and Alabama.

West Virginia will be in the Tucson Regional to face No. 13 Arizona, Dallas Baptist, and Grand Canyon.

In and Out

While UCF was among the final four IN to the tournament field, TCU and Cincinnati were among the final four OUT of the tournament field.

2024 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship


Tuesday got started during the breakfast hour in most parts of the country and fans were immediately treated to a thriller. Kansas edged out Kansas State 2-1. Evan Shaw was tremendous for Kansas over five one-run innings in which he struck out six Wildcats batters.

Tied at one in the top of the ninth inning, Lenny Ashby tripled off the left field wall to lead off the inning before scoring what would be the winning run. Kaelen Culpepper was 3-for-3 with the lone RBI for Kansas State in the loss. The Wildcats left 10 runners on base.

TCU then defeated West Virginia 5-2 behind the pitching of Caedmon Parker and Braeden Sloan who allowed the Mountaineers just three hits. Brody Green tripled and homered to lead the TCU offense.

UCF edged out Cincinnati 6-5 in a game that took 11 innings to decide. Knights catcher Danny Neri hit three home runs in the game, including the game-winner in the top of the 11th inning. Three home runs set a new record for one player in a Big 12 Championship, Neri did it in one game.

After the three-home run performance, Neri heaped praise on his teammates, especially the pitching staff.

"I just happen to be the guy in the position to take the big swings. If you had told me at the beginning of the day or even at the beginning of the year, that I would hold any kind of home run record I would not have believed you. I just feel incredibly fortunate to have been in the right position, gotten the right pitches and put the swings on those balls to give us the chance to win a game like that," Neri said before adding, “I’ve hit two in a summer ball game, but never during a college game.”

Texas Tech closed out day one of the Championship by defeating Texas 6-4 in a game that ended early Wednesday morning. The game was tied at four in the top of the ninth inning before Cade McGee hit a two-run home run off the left field foul pole for what would be the winning run.


The two teams from Oklahoma were the story on Wednesday in Arlington as both teams played their first game of the Championship.

No. 1 Oklahoma shutout TCU 4-0. Sooners left-hander Braden Davis tossed a complete game shutout allowing just four hits and striking out nine, while not allowing any walks.

Then, Cowboys dual-threat star Carson Benge struck out 10 batters on the mound, and hit a two-run home run at the plate to help No. 2 Oklahoma State defeat Texas Tech in the day's final game.

Kansas State used a seven-run fourth inning to beat West Virginia 8-4 and eliminate the Mountaineers. Later in the day, Cincinnati scored four runs in the eighth inning to defeat Texas 8-7 and eliminate the Longhorns.


Thursday's action got underway as TCU got a tremendous outing from Ben Abeldt, typically a closer, but making a start during the Championship. Abeldt struck out a career-high nine batters over five innings as the Horned Frogs went on to eliminate Kansas State 9-4. Sam Myers went 3-for-4 with a double and three RBI for TCU.

No. 1 Oklahoma defeated Kansas 7-5 despite committing seven errors on defense. Jaxon Willits was 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBI for the Sooners.

Texas Tech scored eight runs in the first two innings to defeat Cincinnati 10-5 and eliminate the Bearcats.

UCF advanced to the semifinals after defeating No. 2 Oklahoma State 7-6 in 10 innings to close out day three of the Championship. Matt Cedarburg hit a two-run home run in the seventh inning and AJ Nessler drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning for the Knights.


Kansas got Friday morning started with a nine spot in the bottom of the first inning. But TCU responded immediately with three runs in the next frame. The Jayhawks held a 10-6 lead after three complete innings. The Horned Frogs tied the game at 10 in the top of the seventh inning before a Jake English solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning put Kansas in front for good. The Jayhawks held on to win 11-10 and eliminated the Horned Frogs. Kurtis Byrne hit two home runs in the game and drove in four runs for TCU in the loss.

Another exciting game awaited fans as No. 1 Oklahoma walked-off Kansas 8-6 on a Jackson Nicklaus (2-for-4) two-run blast in the bottom of the ninth inning, just two of Nicklaus's four RBI in the game. Kansas scored four runs in the game's opening frame, and two more in the second inning to lead 6-0 after two innings. The Jayhakws did not score another run in the game. Kansas starter J’Briell Easley was outstanding, striking out 11 Sooners batters over 4 2/3 innings pitched. The Sooners victory eliminated Kansas and gave Oklahoma one of the two spots in Saturday's Championship final.

No. 2 Oklahoma State then eliminated Texas Tech with a 4-0 shutout. Cowboys left-hander Sam Garcia (7-3) tossed eight scoreless innings and struck out eight, to push his season strikeout total to 110, which is third in the Big 12. Nolan Schubart drove in two runs for the Cowboys. Texas Tech starter Trendan Parish was outstanding on the mound, throwing six innings and allowing just two runs to give the Red Raiders a chance.

Not to be outdone by his teammate in the prior game, Brian Holiday (6-3) pitched the Cowboys to a Championship final berth with a complete game 10-1 win over UCF in the final game Friday. Benge (3-for-5) and Schubart (2-for-5) both homered in the game and drove in three and four runs, respectively. Neri drove in the lone UCF run.

After the complete game performance, Holiday was making his bid for a chance to pitch Saturday night.

"I would love to go out there and pitch tomorrow. It’s pretty easy to pitch when you have an offense like we do," Holiday said. "I’m just glad I was able to go out there and give us nine innings to put us in a good spot for tomorrow.”


Bedlam was renewed on Saturday night as No. 1 Oklahoma took on No. 2 Oklahoma State with a Big 12 Championship on the line.

Both teams, having used their top starters to reach the final game, turned the game into a bullpen game from the start.

Carter Campbell started for Oklahoma and was quite good over four innings allowing just three runs.

But the trio of Tommy Molsky, Gabe Davis, and Robert Cranz was better on Saturday night. Molsky got the start and struck out eight Sooners batters over 4 1/3 innings.

Schubart launched a home run ball to center field in the seventh inning, a three-run blast to give Oklahoma State a late five-run lead. The home run was Schubart's 20th of the season, and his third in three games, which means it was the third of the Championship, tying him with Danny Neri who set the new record on Tuesday night.

Kollin Ritchie and Ian Daugherty hit back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning to push the Cowboys advantage to 9-2.

Cranz pitched the final two frames for the Cowboys and allowed only one hit and nothing more to close out the 9-3 Championship victory.

Oklahoma State's Carson Benge was selected as the Most Outstanding Player of the Big 12 Championship. With the celebration underway on Saturday night, Benge deflected the credit to his team. “This is a great program with a great history, so we expect to win around here and it shouldn't surprise anyone when we do it.”

Cowboys head coach Josh Holliday spoke about his start player in his postgame media session.

“He is a beautiful, simple soul in that none of the stuff going on that a lot of kids would get consumed by, he doesn’t do it. There is no such thing as draftitis or awards or anything. He absolutely could care less. I think it’s what allows him to play with freedom and allows him to do everything from play right field to close to start and never say a word. In today’s day and age, that’s not normal. He is a special kid. I’ve said this before, he could play baseball in any generation," Holliday said.

"He is just a baseball player.”

2024 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship All-Tournament Team

C: Danny Neri, UCF

1B: Kurtis Byrne, TCU

2B: Jackson Nicklaus, Oklahoma

3B: Anthony MacKenzie, Oklahoma

SS: Jaxon Willits, Oklahoma

OF: Kendall Pettis, Oklahoma

OF: Carson Benge, Oklahoma State

OF: Nolan Schubart, Oklahoma State

OF: Sam Myers, TCU

DH: Easton Carmichael, Oklahoma

SP: Braden Davis, Oklahoma

SP: Sam Garcia, Oklahoma State

RP: Grant Stevens, Oklahoma

*A tie resulted in four outfielders on the All-Tournament Team*

Most Outstanding Player: Carson Benge, Oklahoma State

(Full disclosure: I was a voter for the Big 12 Championship All-Tournament Team, including Most Outstanding Player)


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