Kansas and TCU both needed to win the Big 12 Championship in order to prolong their postseason. The teams battled in the final game of pool play on Saturday night and behind steady pitching, the Jayhawks kept their hopes of an NCAA regional berth alive for one more day.
Robert Kahana took the mound for the Jayhawks and Andrew Mitchell for Texas Christian. The two both started hot. A two out single in the bottom of the third broke the scoreless tie. Kansas' Kevin Kuntz slapped a 3-1 pitch to left field and scored Ka’iana Eldredge.
“Robert Kahana grinded out six quality innings for us" Kansas coach Ritchie Price said. "One of the things we talked about is if you are going to win big time games you need to have impact players and impact players have to play at a really high level and Robert did that tonight."
TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle pulled Mitchell after five innings. Freshman lefty Alex Young took over, and the Jayhawks took advantage of the fresh arm. A double off of the right-field wall by Alex DeLeon sparked a rally and the senior infielder scored on a wild pitch two batters later to make it 2-0.
Kansas added two more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning with a two-run home run from Michael Suiter to extend their lead to 4-0. That was more than enough padding for the Jayhawk pitchers on the night.
The win puts Kansas in the Big 12 Championship Game against the Oklahoma Sooners. OU won two out of three against Kansas in Norman in April.
“It’s similar to playing TCU,” Price said about OU. “When we played them early in the season in the Big 12 conference I thought they were playing the best ball in America at that time. Whoever gets them [Oklahoma] in a regional and has to face those two quality pitchers, Jonathon Gray and that left-hander [Dillon Overton], some number one seed is going to get beat.”
The title game will be played at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark at 1 p.m.