Wow. Another incredible weekend is in the books for the Big 12. This weekend wasn’t your average weekend, however. This weekend headed a series of games that would really show how the Big 12 fared among the exclusive of college baseball. Texas, Oklahoma, and Baylor competed in the Shriners College Classic; Oklahoma State in the Frisco College Baseball Classic; Texas Tech in the Florida State Invitational; West Virginia in the Central Virginia Challenge; and Kansas in the First Pitch Invitational.
Before we get into things, many people reading this may not know me. My name is Nick Cooper, and I write about all things Big 12 baseball over on my blog big12roundup.wordpress.com and post anything and everything on my Twitter @NickCooperCBSB. Game recaps, frequent updates, stats, standings, and everything in-between. Make sure to follow me to stay informed on everything happening within the Big 12 and on Big 12 Roundup!
Here is an overview of how each Big 12 team stood through (seemingly) the biggest weekend of baseball yet this season, ordered by tournament to non-tournament appearances.
Shriners College Classic
#22 Baylor – (8-3, 3-0 on the weekend)
We’ll kick things off with quite possibly the most impressive performance of the weekend. Baylor is a team who carries a lot of talent with them, but have failed to stay up consistently. A series loss against Oral Roberts last weekend really put the Bears in an awkward spot searching for an identity. They took the Shriners by storm, seeping the weekend against 3 teams atop the SEC. 4-2 over Missouri, 6-4 over LSU, and 3-2 over Arkansas really put Baylor on watch all over the country. Nick Loftin, Mack Mueller, and Jared McKenzie racked up solid hits all through the weekend, overpowering the schools who were thought to demolish them. They had a great weekend, and will need to stay up to earn national notoriety.
#17 Oklahoma – (9-3, 2-1 on the weekend)
Let’s address the elephant in the room. Dane Acker put up one of the best displays on the mound anyone has seen this year. Not only did he shut out LSU, he nearly threw a perfect game. Acker no-hit the 20th ranked LSU Tigers, fanning 11 and gave up one lone walk across a full 9-inning stand. His performance no doubt put the cherry on top of an immaculate weekend in Houston. The Sooners also downed top ranked Arkansas 6-3 behind red-hot Brady Lindsly and a very consistent Tanner Treadaway. They did drop a close game (8-7) to Missouri on Saturday, but overall another stunning weekend for the Sooners, who continue to trend up in the polls.
Texas- (10-2, 1-2 on the weekend)
Texas had the most underwhelming performance in the Shriners, as they entered 9-0 with high expectations. A back-and-forth battle on Friday against LSU handed the Longhorns their first loss, 4-3. Undaunted they were, as they topped Arkansas 8-7 on Saturday, and eventually dropping the game against Mizzou on Sunday 9-8. Zach Zubia stayed on his roll, RF Austin Todd saw the ball well for the Longhorns. Not a bad weekend for UT, they kept things close and still exited the weekend with a 10-2 overall record. How they respond from this weekend could show how this young team shapes up.
Frisco College Classic
Oklahoma State – (8-4, 1-2 on the weekend)
Oklahoma State has had an interesting start to their year. An opening series loss to Grand Canyon shocked a lot of people who thought this team was among the top in college baseball. They responded well, winning six straight headed into a rugged schedule in Frisco. The Pokes dropped their first two contests against UCLA and Illinois and had in a sense dropped the ball. Two tough opponents I know, but for a team who was expected to finish at the top, it was quite underwhelming. A solid win on Sunday against Texas A&M lightened the mood a little, potentially getting the Cowboys back on track. Some tough series await for Oklahoma State, and I think the talent they played this weekend really prepared them for success down the road. Look for Hueston Morrill, Carson McCusker, and Caeden Trenkle to lead the Pokes onward.
Florida State Invitational
#2 Texas Tech – (11-1, 3-0 on the weekend)
I’m sure I’m not the first to say it; Texas Tech proved they are the beat team in college baseball. Their one game slip against Tennessee and a sweep over Florida Atlantic and Florida State respectively prove this Texas Tech team is a legit contender. I would give names on who to look out for, but everybody on this Tech team seems to show up when the time is right. If they can bring this same energy and power into conference play, watch out folks.
Central Virginia Challenge
West Virginia – (7-4, 2-1 on the weekend)
West Virginia is another team that has stayed relatively consistent. Other than last weekend, the Mountaineers’ pitching staff has really showed out. With wins over William & Mary and Richmond, WVU cements another solid weekend at work. The weekend trio of Jackson Wolf, Ryan Bergert, and Jake Carr have absolutely shut down some pretty decent names around the country. One thing to critique is their inconsistency on offense. Braden Zarbnisky has been fantastic, plating a .468 average as the lead off hitter, but can’t seem to find anyone to knock him around persistently. Overall, WVU could be a sleeper with their pure talent on the mound. If their offense catches fire, watch out . . ..
First Pitch Invitational
Kansas – (5-6, 1-3 on the weekend)
Kansas has continued to struggle week in and week out, really needing a leader. Their pitching staff can’t seem to find a quality start and their offense can’t put anything together at the right time. Ritch Price knew it would be a tough season to contend with the big boys, but they are struggling to pick up wins in an easy part of their schedule. There’s one thing Kansas needs before Big 12 play: someone to make some noise. Someone to fire up the team and give them a competing edge. They’re down but not at all out quite yet.
#18 TCU – (10-1, 3-0 on the weekend)
People talk about Texas Tech, but not a lot are taking about TCU. A sweep over Kentucky, two out of three from Minnesota, and now another sweep against California. This team just can’t seem to be beat. 5-4, 3-0, and 6-1 over a gallant Pac-12 opponent in Cal. In my Big 12 Projections I said that it could be a rollercoaster of a season for TCU, and they’re certainly going up. Texas Tech could have some real competition at the top if TCU opposes to back down. Huge Power Five and West Coast games await this prevalent Horned Frogs squad.
Kansas State – (6-5, 3-0 on the weekend)
Kansas State found some major success, but at the hands of a struggling Fairleigh Dickinson team out of the NEC. Nonetheless, K-State’s weekend trio of Carson Seymour, Connor McCullough, and Jordan Wicks had great outings, as well as their offense producing 8, 12, and 20 runs respectively. Although it might not have been the competition they were looking for, a weekend sweep for a 6-5 Wildcat team goes very far. A lot of confidence and potential moving onward for K-State. Who knows, this could be the turn around they were looking for. An upcoming road trip at Stanford might just be the competitor Pete Hughes’ young fleet is looking for.
Make sure to follow me on Twitter @NickCooperCBSB and my blog big12roundup.wordpress.com for everything Big 12 baseball!
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