UT, A&M Baseball Series Will Decide Big 12 Title

Win, place or show? The Big 12 baseball title run is a three horse race galloping toward a photo finish in the final weekend of the regular season, leaving No. 7 Texas, No. 10 Nebraska and No. 12 Texas A&M with no room to stumble and all others in the dust.

The 18-6 Longhorns, tied with the Cornhuskers atop the league standings, now face a pivotal series against the Aggies (17-7). First pitch is set for 7 p.m., Friday, at College Station before the series moves to Austin. The ancient rivals square off at 3 p.m., Saturday (Fox Sports Southwest regional telecast) and at 1 p.m., Sunday. Bolstered by a strong bullpen, the resurgent Farmers have won sixth straight conference series heading into the weekend. Other than its Easter weekend setback at Nebraska, Texas had won five consecutive conference series, including sweeps of Baylor (36-17, 14-10 Big 12) and struggling Oklahoma (21-27, 9-15), who at least have played themselves into contention for the conference tourney.

Texas, of course, will need to at least match Nebraska win-for-win during the weekend while the Aggies (39-14 overall) will likely need to sweep Texas and have the Huskers drop one against No. 21 Baylor. The Horns have been idle since May 4, while the Aggies swept Kansas last weekend. The Huskers swept Oklahoma State but host a Baylor club that has won seven of its last eight.

Nebraska (40-13 overall) holds the tie-breaker against Texas (37-14 overall) because the Children of the Corn took two-of-three from the Horns last month. But it matters only in terms of seeding for the Big 12 Tournament set for Memorial Day weekend in Oklahoma City. More important than meaningless conference tournaments are host sites for the NCAA Regionals.

A share of the conference title, combined with a 40-win season, should cement home field advantage for the defending national champions prior to the Super-Regional. And NCAA selection committee members know that Austin is a proven, money-making venue with its fan-base, larger-than-average facility and tourist appeal.

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