WVU Opens Big 12 Championship Against Kansas
West Virginia opens play in the Big 12 Baseball Championship on Wednesday, May 22 against Kansas. The fourth-seeded Mountaineers and fifth-seeded Jayhawks face each other in the opening game at 10 a.m. ET at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City.
WVU (34-18 overall, 13-11 Big 12) equalled its best mark ever in the league. Its fourth-place finish tied for its second-highest finish. Kansas finished the regular season at 31-24 and 12-12.
WVU, which is ranked No. 17 nationally, will send mid-week starter Nick Snyder to the mound Wednesday, but it won’t be the first time that he has faced the Jayhawks this year. A bit more than a month ago, he pitched 2.1 innings of relief against KU, allowing two earned runs in the top of the ninth that tied the game at three. WVU eked out an extra innings win in that contest.
That was one of only two Snyder appearances against a Big 12 foe this year. The other, a week later against Kansas, was an even-briefer relief stint in which he gave up a hit and a run.
In starting roles, however, Snyder has been excellent, compiling an 8-1 record with 86 strikeouts against 25 walks. He has yielded only four extra base hits (three doubles and one home run) and held foes to a batting average of just .159 — the best mark on the team – while compiling an ERA of 1.95 and a WHIP of 1.00.
West Virginia’s chances of hosting a regional are dependent on the Mountaineers making a deep run in Oklahoma City. The Mountaineers have advanced to the Big 12 Championship semifinals in each of the last three seasons, with a championship game appearance in 2016, and probably need at least a similar result to have a good chance at hosting a regional. With Texas Tech (36-15, 16-8), Baylor (33-15, 14-8) and Oklahoma State (32-17, 14-9) all finishing ahead of the Mountaineers in the league standings, WVU has some, but not a huge, patch of ground to make up on those squads. WVU is in a respectable RPI spot, but OSU (eighth) and Texas Tech (ninth) are in a very good position to host, provided it doesn’t have an early meltdown in the Championship. West Virginia’s RPI of No. 16 has it 11 positions ahead of the Bears (No. 27), who likewise will need to have success in the Championship in order to make a case for hosting.
The Championship will also serve as a last chance for teams to make their cases for at-large selection to the NCAA Tournament. WVU, along with Tech, Oklahoma State and Baylor are all safely in the field, but after that there is a pair of teams with work to do. Kansas’ record is good, but its current RPI of 59 is lacking, leaving it trailing a lot of teams in pursuit of an at-large bid. Oklahoma (33-21, 11-13) could be the team to challenge for the league’s fifth berth, as its RPI of 39 puts it at least within striking distance, but the Sooners too will probably need three wins in OKC to make the jump.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 22
Game 1: No. 4 West Virginia vs. No. 5 Kansas – 10:00 a.m., televised on FCS
Game 2: No. 1 Texas Tech vs. No. 8 Kansas State – 1:30 p.m., televised on FCS
Game 3: No. Baylor vs. No. 7 Oklahoma – 5:00 p.m., televised on FCS
Game 4: No. 3 Oklahoma State vs. No. 6 TCU – 8:30 p.m., televised on FCS
THURSDAY, MAY 23
Game 5: Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser – 10:00 a.m., televised on FCS
Game 6: Game 3 Loser vs. Game 4 Loser – 1:30 p.m., televised on FCS
Game 7: Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner – 5:00 p.m., televised on FCS
Game 8: Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 Winner – 8:30 p.m., televised on FCS
FRIDAY, MAY 24
Game 9: Game 7 Loser vs. Game 5 Winner – 4:15 p.m., televised on FCS
Game 10: Game 8 Loser vs. Game 6 Winner – 8:00 p.m., televised on FCS
SATURDAY, MAY 25
Game 11: Game 7 Winner vs. Game 9 Winner – 10:00 a.m., televised on FCS
Game 12: Game 8 Winner vs. Game 10 Winner – 1:30 p.m.
*Game 13: Winner Game 11 vs. Loser Game 11, If Necessary – 5:00 p.m.
**Game 14: Winner Game 12 vs. Loser Game 12, If Necessary*** – 8:30 p.m., televised on FCS
SUNDAY, MAY 26
Game 15: Championship Game – 2:00 p.m., televised on FSN
All times listed are Eastern.
*Game 13 will be necessary if the winner of Game 9 also wins Game 11.
**Game 14 will be necessary if the winner of Game 10 also wins Game 12.
***If Game 13 is unnecessary, Game 14 will be played at 4:30 p.m. rather than 7:30 p.m.