by Kyle McKelvey (@kylemckelv)
Auburn, Baylor, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M meet in the 2nd Annual Round Rock Classic, which will be at Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas, the home of the Round Rock Express. For more information about the tournament, go to www.roundrockclassic.net.
#28 Auburn vs Oklahoma, 12:00pm
Texas A&M vs Baylor, 6:00pm
Baylor vs #28 Auburn, 12:00pm
Oklahoma vs Texas A&M, 6:00pm
#28 Auburn vs Texas A&M, 11:00am
Oklahoma vs Baylor, 5:00pm
#28 Auburn (5-0): Auburn is the only Top 50 team in this tournament and they are on the hottest streak of all the teams coming in to this weekend. After sweeping Presbyterian on opening weekend and only allowing five runs in three games, the Tigers demolished Alabama A&M in two games, 18-2 and 33-0, in the midweek. Auburn was a team we really liked headed into the 2020 season until they were unexpectedly swept at home at the hands of UCF. Coach Butch Thompson’s team has high expectations on the year like every SEC West team and is on pace to build off of this hot start and make the NCAA Tournament.
Baylor (1-2): Baylor has been a very confusing team lately. The Bears may not recruit the best in the Big 12 and their facilities may not be as highly regarded as those of other teams in the state, but they regularly outperform expectations. In the COVID-shortened 2020 season, they started off the year losing a surprising home series to Oral Roberts. They then followed that up by sweeping the Shriners College Classic, beating Arkansas, LSU, and Missouri. How is that possible? One hypothesis is that sixth-year coach Steve Rodriguez has his ways of getting the most out of his players. Even after losing Nick Loftin to the MLB Draft, and again losing a shocking early season series, this time to UT Rio Grande Valley, do not be surprised if Baylor exceeds expectations again.
Oklahoma (2-2): Even with the shortened MLB Draft in 2020, the Sooners still lost their entire weekend rotation, which goes to show how talented that rotation was in 2020, possibly the best in the Big 12. Sunday starter, Dane Acker threw a no-hitter in a 1-0 victory over LSU in the Shriners College Classic, a tournament in which OU also beat Arkansas. Going into 2021, their rotation is considered a question mark, but their bullpen and offense still should be quite strong, as they returned a bevy of arms and bats. During the rough winter storm that ravaged most of Texas and surrounding states, the Sooners had to reschedule several different series for opening weekend. OU tried to schedule a series against each of Southern, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, and Wichita State, and all were cancelled until they eventually got the chance to play Omaha. So far in 2021, they have split the series with Omaha, lost a midweek game to Stephen F. Austin, and beat UT Arlington.
Texas A&M (2-3): Entering this season, Texas A&M was a team with a few unknowns, one of them being how they can replace weekend starters, Asa Lacy and Christian Roa. So far into this short season, the Aggies pitching staff has struggled mightily against Xavier, Abilene Christian, and Tarleton State. Even though the college baseball world’s expectations for A&M were lower than in previous years, that is not the kind of competition Aggie fans want to be struggling to compete against. After the opening week A&M has had, they will need to really turn it around against these power conference teams, ones to which A&M fans expect to be similar.
Kyle’s Prediction: On this week’s podcast, I picked A&M to be the winner of this tournament. I am not a huge fan of that pick after what the Aggies have done in their midweek games and what Auburn has done in theirs. I picked them because John picked Auburn and I just could not bring myself to pick the same team as him. Since John is not here to steal Auburn from me, I am picking them to be the big winner of this tournament, but I highly doubt that they will score as many runs as they did in their first five games. I will also predict that one of the other teams will steal one from Auburn, so they do not 3-0 in Round Rock, but I could see any of the other teams doing that.