And then there were two. Oklahoma and Missouri, neither of which has .lost a game in the conference championship, will meet on Sunday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City in the championship game of the 2012 Big 12 Baseball Tournament.
Missouri completed the Sunday pairing with a convincing 12-2 win in what was the final game between the Tigers and their archrival to the west, the Kansas Jayhawks. Oklahoma earned its place in the conference tournament title game, knocking out top-seeded Baylor with a 7-2 win in the first game on Saturday. This will be the sixth time both teams playing in the championship final have been undefeated.
It will be the second straight trip to the Big 12 Championship title game for Missouri, the No. 6 seed, which lost to Texas A&M in extra innings a year ago. Oklahoma, the No. 4 seed in this year's Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Tournament, last reached the championship game in 1997, where the Sooners defeated Texas Tech for their only tournament crown in the Big 12 era.
Missouri got a brilliant pitching performance from starter John Miles and two relievers, limiting Kansas to just three hits on the afternoon. Tigers' right fielder Dane Opel was three for five with five RBI to lead his team to the win. The Tigers also got three hits each from catcher Ben Turner and DH Michael McGraw. Tucker Tharp, the Jayhawks' right fielder and leadoff hitter, had two of KU's three hits, including the game's only home run in the third.
Missouri led 5-1 after four innings, but scored four in the seventh and three in the bottom of the eighth to seal the victory.
"We want to win a Big 12 championship," Tiger coach Tim Jamieson said after his team's victory over Kansas, "but with that comes the chance to play in another (NCAA) regional." About his team's opponent in the championship, he said: "They're pretty dynamic on the mound."
Missouri and Oklahoma played a three-game series earlier in the spring in Norman, with the Sooners winning all three games. The Tigers are leading all of the teams in this year's Big 12 Championship with a batting average of .344 in their three games, and also leads all teams in opponents' batting average (.178). Both pitching staffs go into the championship game with ERAs under 2.00.
OU coach Sunny Golloway likes the Sooners' chances on Sunday: "We knew if we were able to get the pieces all together, we would have something special. Our lineup is feeding off of each other right now."
This is the fifth time a No. 6 seed has made it to the conference championship game in baseball in the Big 12's 16-year history. The record of sixth seeds in tournament finals is 1-3.
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