Missouri vs. Texas Big 12 showdown fails to materialize

Sunday, May 27, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:01 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 15, 2008
The Associated Press file photo
Missouri starting pitcher Rick Zagone throws against Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Conference Tournament in Oklahoma City. The No. 1 seed Tigers will play No. 4 Kent State at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Taylor Stadium in the opening day of NCAA regional tournament play.

Coming into the Big 12 Conference Baseball Tournament, the two hottest teams in the conference were No. 6 Texas and No. 11 Missouri. Because of their top seeding in their respective pools, the championship game had all the makings of a Longhorns-Tigers showdown.

However, neither team will play for the tournament title at 1 p.m. today at the Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City. Instead, fifth-seeded Texas A&M will take on the winner of Saturday’s Baylor-Oklahoma game.

While Texas, the Big 12 regular season champion, played well in the tournament, it lost to Texas A&M on Thursday. Both the Longhorns and the Aggies finished with identical 2-1 records, but the Aggies advanced to the final because of their victory over Texas.

Missouri came into the tournament with high expectations after winning four in a row to end the regular season. However, the Tigers’ winning ways quickly turned into a losing streak after dropping their first two touranment games to Oklahoma and Baylor. Because the two losses put Missouri out of contention for the school’s first Big 12 tournament championship since 1997, Saturday’s game against No. 21 Oklahoma State served as the last chance for the Tigers to gain some momentum for next week’s regional tournament.

A 13-1 rout over the Cowboys gave the Tigers all the momentum they need for the postseason.

“I’m real happy with the way they came out and got after it,” Missouri coach Tim Jamieson said. “It was a great effort, they had great focus. It was the game we’ve been looking for.”

After two games in which the Tigers were at a loss for timely hits, Missouri nearly doubled its offensive output for the entire tournament on Saturday. Missouri’s 14 hits also nearly duplicated the 15 hits combined from its previous two games. And, in what was truly a well-rounded performance, starter Rick Zagone (7-2) pitched six strong innings, giving up one run on five hits.

“Rick was great today,” Jamieson said, sounding elated. “We did everything great.

“If we play like that next weekend, we’ll do well.”

The Tigers, in the hunt to host a regional tournament, won’t have to wait long to find out that part of their postseason fate. The locations of the regionals will be announced at 2:30 p.m. today on ESPNews, while the actual groupings are announced at 11:30 a.m. Monday. The Missouri baseball team is hosting an NCAA Selection Show watch party, beginning at 11 a.m. at T.K. Brothers restaurant in Columbia.

NOTES: MU second baseman Brock Bond seemed to be able to avoid the slump that hit the rest of the team during the tournament. Bond finished 8-13 with four RBIs and 2 runs. His tournament concluded with a four-hit game on Saturday.

Designated hitter Jacob Priday led the team with seven RBIs in the tournament. Five of his RBIs came on a double and a home run on Saturday.

Catcher Trevor Coleman, who was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year last week, failed to get a hit in the tournament.

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