TCU’s margin for error narrows with format change in Big 12 tournament

Posted Tuesday, May. 21, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Big 12 Tournament (at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, Oklahoma City) TV: Fox College Sports; championship, Fox Sports Net; Radio: KTCU/88.7 FM (TCU games only) Thursday Pool One 9 a.m.: No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 5 Baylor 12:30 p.m.: No. 1 Kansas St. vs. No. 8 Texas Tech Pool Two 4 p.m.: No. 3 West Virginia vs. No. 6 Kansas 7:30 p.m.: No. 2 Okla. St. vs. No. 7 TCU Friday Pool One 9: a.m.: No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 8 Texas Tech 12:30 p.m.: No. 1 Kansas St. vs. No. 5 Baylor Pool Two 4 p.m.: No. 3 West Virginia vs. No. 7 TCU 7:30 p.m.: No. 2 Okla. St. vs. No. 6 Kansas Saturday Pool One 9 a.m.: No. 5 Baylor vs. No. 8 Texas Tech 12:30 p.m.: No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 11 Kansas St. Pool Two 4 p.m.: No. 3 West Virginia vs. No. 2 Oklahoma State 7:30 p.m.: No. 6 Kansas vs. No. 7 TCU Sunday 1 p.m.: Championship

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TCU’s room for error at the Big 12 tournament narrowed Tuesday.

The league announced the tournament’s start would be postponed a day until Thursday and will change from a double-elimination format to pool play. The league made the change after tornadoes caused a major disaster in the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, Okla.

The teams with the best records in each of the two pools of four advance to the championship at 1 p.m. Sunday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City.

TCU must win the tournament to earn a berth in the NCAA tournament. The seventh-seeded Horned Frogs (28-26) open against second-seeded Oklahoma State (39-14) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. TCU plays West Virginia at 4 p.m. Friday and Kansas at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Winning each game is now imperative for TCU. If the Frogs are tied with any of the other three schools in their bracket — OSU, WVU and Kansas — after pool play, the first tie-breaker is head-to-head. The second tie-breaker is seeding, and TCU is the lowest in its pool. Kansas State, Oklahoma, Baylor and Texas Tech make up the other pool.

“We have to win all three games,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. And then win the championship Sunday if TCU wants to keep its streak of nine consecutive postseason berths alive.

The Frogs’ Monday bus trip from Fort Worth to Oklahoma City took six hours, more than twice as long as usual as storms forced the bus to pull over at a rest area. Tornadoes were on the ground far north of TCU’s bus in Moore and south of the team near Ardmore. “It looked like we were literally in between two storms,” Schlossnagle said. “We knew I-35 was closed so we took a detour. We ended up being only about 25 miles from Oklahoma City but it took us two and half more hours to get there.”

The conference said Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett encouraged proceeding with the tournament.

“We debated canceling the tournament in deference to the devastating tragedy in Moore, but were encouraged by Oklahoma City leaders and the Oklahoma City All Sports Association to go forward,” said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby in a written statement. “We believe the tournament can serve as a testament to the strong Oklahoma spirit and to the resiliency of the Oklahoma people.”

Fans who purchased advance tickets are encouraged to use the ticket with the correct session number based on the new schedule. Weekend passes will be valid beginning with Session 3. Visit the RedHawks ticket office on Mickey Mantle Drive to be reissued tickets for your games.

Morrison All-Big 12

TCU pitcher Preston Morrison (7-3) earned first team All-Big 12 honors Tuesday and third baseman Jantzen Witte and pitcher Alex Young were named to the second team.

TCU outfielder Boomer White and pitchers Alex Young and Riley Ferrell were named to the All-Big 12 freshman team. Witte was named co-Scholar Athlete of the Year with Kansas State’s Jared King.

Kansas State led with seven first-team selections. The Wildcats nearly swept the league’s awards. Infielder Ross Kivett was named Big 12 player of the year, pitcher Jordan Piche was named newcomer of the year, and Brad Hill won the league’s coach of the year honor after leading KSU to its first Big 12 title. Kansas State pitcher Jake Matthys was named freshman of the year. West Virginia sophomore Harrison Musgrave earned the league’s pitcher of the year honors.

Baylor’s Cal Towey and Nathan Orf made the first team and Lawton Langford and Crayton Bare were named to the second team.

TCU pitcher Brandon Finnegan, infielder Paul Hendrix, and White earned honorable mention.

Stefan Stevenson 817-390-7760 Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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