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Big 12 Baseball Championship: Upsets Abound On Day 1, TCU Hops All Over Kansas State 16-3

 Matt Tallarini  |    May 25th, 2023 11:44am EDT

Texas Christian’s Brayden Taylor rounds third base after smashing a three-run homer vs. Texas Tech in the first round of the Big 12 Baseball Championship at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. (Photo Courtesy of the Big 12)

ARLINGTON, TEXAS – The Big 12 conference tournament got underway yesterday in Arlington, Texas with a couple of surprises from the potential players that could built their draft stock for Major League Baseball’s 2023 amateur draft in July and for programs to make a case to belong in the NCAA Tournament.

Texas Christian University, fourth in the conference standings, began the day with two big home runs in the first inning with a three-run home run to right field from third baseman Brayden Taylor and designated hitter Kurtis Byrne two-run home run to left as the Horn Frogs offense rattled five runs off of Kansas State University starting pitcher Owen Boerema.

Boerema did not last long, throwing one inning and allowing six hits – four of them going for extra bases – a total of eight earned runs, three walks, and one strike out in the opening round of the tournament. TCU’s offensive outburst continued in the bottom of the fourth inning as they put up six runs and six hits, imploding their run total at 16.

The Horned Frogs won in seven innings due to the mercy rule by the score of 16-3.

During the post-game press conference, Taylor explained about the hard fought win and the teams’ chemistry, saying, “It definitely felt good. Not only for me, but I just felt like the whole team had a sense of urgency today. Everyone was on time, ready to hit, looking for a good pitch to hit and we tried to keep it as simple as we can. So, I think we had a good time out there.”

Taylor’s 44th collegiate home run also tied the most home runs in program history set by Royce Huffman from 1996-99.

TCU starting pitcher Cam Brown pitched 3.1 innings, allowing just one hit, two earned runs, walking six and striking out four.

“Life is difficult in the loser’s bracket, we’ve been there before and played really well the last two tournaments really it’s just survive in advance we worry about tomorrow that will be our mentality and motto to the decisions we made we couldn’t exercise our pitching plan today and tomorrow will have every man available and will do whatever it takes to win,” Kansas State coach Pete Hughes said after the game. 

Kansas State University will play today against the University of Texas at 9 a.m. EDT on ESPN+ as both programs look to remain alive in the Big 12 conference tournament.     

Kansas 6, Texas 3 – The University of Kansas took on No. 1 University of Texas in the second game of the tournament at Globe Life Field.

The Jayhawks got on the board in the top of the third inning when left fielder Chase Jans drove a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Collier Cranford for the first run of the game. The next batter, second baseman Kodey Shojinaga, extended Kansas’s lead to two when he ripped a single to center field, scoring Mike Koszewski to go up 2-0.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Longhorns finally got on the board as second basemen Jack O’Dowd cranked a solo home run to right field to cut the lead to one.

The 2023 Big 12 Pitcher of the Year, Texas starter Lucas Gordon, threw five innings and allowed seven hits, two earned runs, walked one and struck out five.

During the bottom of the sixth inning, the Longhorns tied the game up at two as left fielder Porter Brown ripped a single to center, scoring Dylan Campbell.

In the top of the seventh inning, the Jayhawks broke through when designated hitter Jason Reeder unleashed a mammoth grand slam into the right field seats to put Kansas up 6-2.

“Once they walked Kodey, I had good swings all day, I felt like I was seeing the ball pretty well. I was just trying to be on time. Coach Hancock and I always working on being on time, and I was just on time,” Reeder said of his dramatic grand slam.

During the bottom of the ninth inning, Jayhawks relief pitcher Thaniel Trumper was into his third inning of work out of the bullpen. Trumper struck out the first two batters of the inning he faced until he gave up a solo home run to O’Dowd, his second of the day, to cut the lead to three at 6-3.

Trumper got Ryan Galvan to strike out for the final out of the game.

“I think more than anything we’ve been playing playoff baseball since May 1, so we’ve had our backs against the wall,” said Texas coach David Pierce. “It’s not something that we’re going to run from.  We’re just gonna go out and try to put three phases together. Hopefully get a great start from Lebarron Johnson Jr. and we’ve got plenty of guys in the pen. That’s all it is. We’re gonna try to play our best tomorrow.”

Kansas will play TCU today at 5 p.m. EDT on ESPNU in the first game of the winner’s bracket.

Oklahoma 9, Oklahoma State 5 – The Oklahama Sooners scored seven runs in the first three innings and held off Oklahoma State 9-5.

Dakota Harris drove a two-run single up the middle to score Kendall Pettis and John Spikerman for the first two runs of the game in the top of the first. A few batters later, starting catcher Easton Carmichael would single to right field, scoring Harris to extend the lead to 3-0.

In the top of the second inning, Pettis hit a sacrifice fly to center field scoring Jackson Nicklaus to make it 4-0 Sooners.

During the top of the third, Nicklaus’ sacrifice fly to center scored Carmichael to make it 5-0. Spikerman’s second hit of the day, a single up the middle, scored Sebastian Orduno to make it 6-0, and Oklahomaheld on to beat their in-state rival 9-5.

Oklahoma starting pitcher Carson Atwood had a short leash and went just 2.1 innings, allowing three hits, three earned runs, no walks, and one strikeout.  

Sooners reliever Carter Campbell recorded the save, going four innings out of the bullpen while allowing just three hits, one earned run, walking two and striking out two.

“I had all my pitches going, but Skip always says you got to go out there and go to the net, let them hit it. It’s not that hard to do whenever you have a defense like ours behind us. I’ll just let them. It’s our defense, letting them do the work,” Campbell said.

The Sooners are in the driver’s seat following a total momentum shift after being below .500 during conference play in the regular season.

Oklahoma State University will play West Virginia at 1:30 p.m. EDT streaming on ESPN+.

Texas Tech 6, West Virginia 2 – The sixth-seeded Texas Tech Red Raiders tripped up third seed West Virginia 6-2 in the nightcap at Globe Life Field Wednesday.

In the top of the second, Tech’s Hudson White singled to right center field as Austin Green came in to score. A few batters later, Nolen Hester drew a bases-loaded walk, scoring Zac Vooletich to put the Red Raiders up 2-0.

During the top of the third, Gavin Kash drove a deep fly ball to right center field over the fence for a solo home run as Texas Tech went up 3-0. In the top of the fourth inning, Hester drove a single to right center, scoring White for 4-0 lead.

The Mountaineers finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth inning Caleb McNeely lifted a solo home run to left center field to cut the lead to three.

West Virginia starting pitcher David Hagaman went four innings, allowing six hits, four earned runs, walking two and striking out two, forcing head coach Randy Mazey to go to his bullpen early.

In the top of the fifth, the Red Raiders added another insurance run when Green crushed a solo home run to right field to make it 5-1.

Red Raiders starting pitcher Mason Molina went six innings, improving his season record to 5-2 and allowing four hits, one earned run, walking three and striking out six.

“That’s just a telltale sign that you’ve got a good league, all three co-champs lose the first game, and the lower seeds win the first game,” Mazey said. “The lower seeds aren’t lower seeds because their teams aren’t better, any team can go and own this tournament, that’s a fact. You just got to hope you play well enough to be one of the ones to go 2-0.”

The Red Raiders will face Oklahoma at 6:30 p.m. EDT Thursday on ESPNU.

Today at the Big 12 Baseball Championship
Game 5: 10 a.m. EDT – (1) Texas vs. (5) Kansas State – ESPN+
Game 6: 1:30 p.m. EDT – (2) Oklahoma State vs. (3) West Virginia – ESPN+
Game 7: 5 p.m. EDT – (4) TCU vs. (8) Kansas – ESPNU
Game 8: 8:30 p.m. EDT – (7) Oklahoma vs. (3) Texas Tech – ESPNU

Broadcast Info
All games will be broadcast on ESPNU through local cable providers or streamed via ESPN+ with a paid subscription and through the ESPN App. Each game will be live on SiriusXM Big 12 Radio channel 375.