As we draw to the end of another year that was filled with some great baseball across the great State of Texas, it is time that we reflect on some of the greatest moments of the 2021 season in the first annual State of Texas Baseball Address. In part three of this series, we will look at some major college programs and how they faired across the State.
The Texas Longhorns (50-17) returned atop the college baseball rankings as Longhorns started the season ranked in the Top 10. The Longhorns would continue their dominance this season as they clinched a share of the Big 12 regular-season title with TCU.
The number two team in the nation led by first-round draft pick of the Detroit Tigers, Ty Madden, would eventually fall to Oklahoma State in the quarter-finals of the Big 12 Tournament, but that did not slow down the Longhorns as they were able to breeze through the Regionals and Super Regionals to appear in the College World Series for the 35th time in school history. The Longhorns would advance to the semifinals before being eliminated by the eventual national champions, Mississippi State.
Texas A&M Aggies
The 2021 season did not go as planned for Texas A&M (29-27). The Aggies got off to a hot start to kick off the season going 15-5 in their first 20 games, mixing in an 11-game win streak along the way. Once the Aggies entered conference play, things began to unravel as the Aggies managed to go 9-21 the rest of the way and were unable to appear in the SEC Tournament.
TCU Horned Frogs
The TCU Horned Frogs (41-19) were atop the Big 12 standings at the season’s end as they would win a share of the Big 12 regular-season title with the Longhorns. The Horned Frogs were not satisfied with sharing the Big 12, so they decided to win the Big 12 Conference outright. It would be the first time the Horned Frogs won the regular-season and conference championship titles in the same season. The Horned Frogs entered the Big 12 Tournament as the number two seed.
Scoring a combined 43-runs as a team, the Horned Frogs blew through the tournament to win their third Big 12 Championship in school history. From there, the Horned Frogs were the number one seed going into the Fort Worth Regional, but that would be as far as the Horned Frogs would go as they would fall to Oregon State in the semifinals.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
For the Texas Tech Red Raiders (39-17), the 2021 season was a success for a program that continues to grind out MLB talent. Led by freshman All-American and Big 12 Player of the Year, Jace Jung, the Red Raiders finished third in the Big 12 Conference. With an early exit in the Big 12 Tournament, the Red Raiders would bounce back in the Lubbock Regional of the NCAA Tournament. The road to Omaha would end in the Super Regionals as the Stanford Cardinal swept the Red Raiders.
For the Baylor Bears (31-20), the 2021 season is one that the Bears can build on going into 2022. A team on the bubble for a possible NCAA postseason birth had their hopes dashed with back-to-back series losses to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to end the season and losses to Texas Tech and Kansas State in the Big 12 Conference Tournament.
With virtually the entire offense coming back in 2022 led by freshman All-American Second Team Jared McKenzie, the Bears will be hoping to be atop of the Big 12 standings in 2022 as the Bears led the conference in batting average with a .302 average. Pitching will also be essential as the Bears have added more arms to the depth chart. Look for the Bears to rise in 2022.
Abilene Christian Wildcats
The Abilene Christian Wildcats (36-21) rose to the top of the Southland Conference in 2021 to win their first regular-season conference title in school history. The Wildcats secured the number one seed heading to the conference tournament. With wins over Lamar and Texas A&M – Corpus Christi, the Wildcats would drop two straight to Sam Houston, ultimately ending their chances of winning both a regular season and conference championship.
Dallas Baptist Patriots
The Dallas Baptist Patriots (41-18) became the Cinderella story of the 2021 season. Having dominated the Missouri Valley Conference in the regular season, the Patriots were able to carry over that success from the regular season to win the Missouri Valley Conference tournament with ease.
With the number two seed in the NCAA Fort Worth Regional, the Cinderella story continued as the Patriots returned to the Super Regionals for the first time since 2011. The Patriots took game one against a formidable opponent in #14 ranked Virginia in a classic duel, 6-5. Needing to win just one to advance to the College World Series, the Cavaliers came back to win the next two games to go onto the CWS, thus ending the Cinderella story for the Patriots.
There is nothing better than College Baseball across the State of Texas. Not all could make it into this article with so many great teams. With that being said, if a team was missed that had a great 2021 season, The Texas Baseball Report will continue this article to highlight and recognize their success.
In part four of this series and to close out the year, we will look at some of the Independent, Texas Collegiate, and High School teams and how they faired across the State.
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