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Tiebreakers become essential at Big 12 baseball tournament

Saturday, May 23, 2009 | 8:10 p.m. CDT; updated 8:17 p.m. CDT, Saturday, May 23, 2009

OKLAHOMA CITY — Things at the Big 12 baseball tournament can get complicated. There are tiebreakers, coaches saving pitchers for the NCAA tournament and teams with little motivation.  

In Division I, because of those tiebreakers, Kansas State and Texas played for a division title on Saturday afternoon. Texas won 4-2 even though the Longhorns committed four errors in the game.

Texas, Baylor and Kansas State each finished play in their division with a 2-1 record and Kansas went 0-3. Texas advances to play in the Big 12 Championship game at 1 p.m. Sunday because of a tiebreaker that advances the higher seed. The Longhorns won the Big 12 regular season championship.

Entering play in Oklahoma City this week, most figured Kansas to get an invitation to the NCAA tournament. But after finishing the tournament winless, the Jayhawks might not receive an invitation to the field of 64 teams. According to Boydsworld.com’s projected RPI ratings, Kansas entered Saturday with an RPI of 46.

Kansas lost 8-4 to Baylor in the first game on Saturday. Many think the Bears entered the Big 12 tournament without a chance of being invited to the NCAA tournament, but after going 2-1 this week and with an RPI of 30, it looks like the Bears are in good shape.

*  *  * 

A hotel with an eight-level parking garage overlooks Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City from beyond the left field wall. Parents and friends of the Missouri players have been meeting on top of the garage this week to tailgate, cookout, play a bean bag toss game and get a bird's-eye view of the other games before the Tigers play.

On Saturday, a level below the roof, a loud Texas fan stood wearing a burnt orange T-shirt. Just as the fan was yelling, Missouri pitcher Kyle Gibson pulled though the alley between the ballpark and the parking garage in a minivan. Gibson decided to have a little fun.

“Go Mizzou!” Gibson yelled at the top of his lungs out the window. “Hook ‘em Horns!” the Texas fan yelled. Back and back and forth it went with Gibson yelling “MIZ!”

Gibson finally got out of the van and showed him his jersey, and the van drove away with Gibson laughing.

*  *  *

What does the stadium crew do when a game ends early and the next game won’t start for another hour and a half? Show old episodes of Seinfeld, of course. The leftover fans from Missouri's  game against Texas Tech on Friday afternoon waiting for the Oklahoma-Texas A&M game to begin laughed in unison for the next hour.


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