Texas Longhorns baseball (37-18, 17-7 Big 12) is fresh off of a regular season Big 12 title, but now David Pierce’s team will aim for a conference tournament title to add to the trophy case.
The No. 1 seeded ‘Horns will face No. 8 seed Kansas Jayhawks (26-28, 8-15 Big 12) at 12:30 pm CST on Wednesday at Chickasaw Bricktown Park in Oklahoma City in round one of the Phillip’s 66 Big 12 Conference Tournament. You can catch the game on Fox College Sports or by listening to 104.9 The Horn.
Nolan Kingham (7-2, 4.21 ERA) will get the start for the ‘Horns. Though Kingham did not take any conference honors, the junior righty turned in a performance last weekend that showed why he was on the preseason Golden Spikes Award Watchlist. Kingham threw a complete game against TCU on Thursday, finishing with six hits, two runs, one walk, and six strikeouts in the win.
He will face off against Kansas’ Jackson Goddard (4-1, 4.50 ERA). The junior righty is coming off of a seven inning performance against Oklahoma in which he allowed only one run and notched 11 strikeouts in the win.
Texas swept Kansas in Austin this year, but the Jayhawks have won three of their last four, including a series victory against Oklahoma, and can’t be taken lightly.
The format of the tournament is double elimination, so the ‘Horns won’t be done no matter what the result is this afternoon.
Kendall Rogers of D1 Baseball believes that Texas has already “locked up” a regional host spot for the NCAA tournament, but winning at least a game in the conference tournament will keep the ‘Horns from sweating on selection day. Additionally, taking the Big 12 tournament title could put Texas in the discussion to be one of the eight national seeds.
As the No. 1 seed, Texas has a favorable path in the tournament. No. 4 seed Oklahoma (34-21, 14-10 Big 12) and No. 5 seed Baylor (32-19, 13-11 Big 12) are the two other teams on Texas’ side of the bracket. The ‘Horns are 8-1 against teams on its side of the bracket this season, with their only loss coming to Oklahoma in Norman.
Last season, Texas fell 6-5 in the Big 12 Conference Championship game to Oklahoma State.