It’s been an up-and-down baseball season for the Kansas State Wildcats and Missouri Tigers, but both managed to slip into the field of eight for this week’s Big 12 Baseball Championship.
For the Kansas Jayhawks, however, it was a tale of two seasons. The Jayhawks dropped 11 of its final 12 games, including a season-ending sweep to Sunflower rival Kansas State that plummeted KU to the bottom of the league and left the team from Lawrence witr a miserable 9-18 record and out of the postseason conference tournament.
At the midseason point, the Jayhawks were 8-7 in Big 12 play and appeared to be in fairly good shape for one of the eight spots in the conference championship. Missouri, on the otherhand, opened the conference season with seven consecutive loses and stood at 3-10 at the halfway mark. That’s when things finally started to kick in for coach Ehren Earlywine’s Tiger squad. Mizzou went 8-6 over its final 14 league games to turn its season around and secure the final spot in this year’s conference championship.
The good news for Missouri fans is that their team made the conference tournament field after it appeared early on in the season that the Tigers would be on the outside looking in when tournament time rolled around. The bad news is that MU’s opening-round game in the championship is against No. 1 seed Texas, which beat the Tigers in two of three games earlier in the season.
Kansas State’s opening game opponent will be third-seeded Oklahoma, who the Wildcats won two of three against in April.
At the risk of crossing over into pundit territory, it is important to point out that the biggest hurdle for Kansas State and Missouri was making the field for the conference tournament. Once you’re in, anything is possible in a short series of games, and especially for teams that produce great pitching.
Let the games of the second season begin.