OKLAHOMA CITY — Dane Opel doubled, tripled and drove in five runs to lead Missouri to a 12-2 rout of Kansas and earn a trip to the Big 12 Conference Tournament championship game for the second straight season.
In Saturday's final Big 12 meeting between the rivals, the Tigers (31-26) never trailed after getting an RBI single from Ben Turner and an RBI double from Michael McGraw in the bottom of the first. The game ended after eight innings because of the 10-run rule.
vs. Oklahoma (38-21)
WHEN: 1 p.m.
WHERE: Bricktown Ballpark, Oklahoma City, Okla.
TV: Fox Sports Midwest Plus
Opel added a three-run double in the sixth and a two-run triple in the eighth. McGraw had three hits and three RBIs and Turner added three hits, three runs and two RBIs.
"I was real pleased with our focus and effort throughout the ball game," Missouri coach Tim Jamieson said in a release. "Offensively, we never really gave them much hope. We're playing our best baseball right now and that's where we want to be. I thought we were pretty intense today."
Tigers starter John Miles, a freshman from Rock Bridge High School, was replaced in the third after giving up a home run to the Jayhawks' Tucker Tharp. Reliever Ryan Yuengel gave up another run in the fourth, unable to recover from a hit batter and a Tigers error.
However, senior right-hander Jeff Emens came on in the fourth to earn his third win of the season, allowing just one hit without a walk while striking out five.
In the Big 12 Tournament, Emens has thrown 7 1/3 innings, allowing just one hit and no walks while striking out 11 batters. The Tigers pitching staff has given up just four earned runs in three games of the tournament.
Saturday's victory advances the Tigers to their third Big 12 Tournament title game in four years. It is their final chance to earn the program's first conference crown before leaving for the SEC.
Missouri will face fourth-seeded Oklahoma in the championship game set for 1 p.m. Sunday. Lefty Rob Zastryzny will start for Missouri while OU will start Damien Magnifico.
The game will air live on Fox Sports Midwest Plus.