Bombers 1st Baseman Dustin Dickerson
It’s do or die time for many of the Bomber players, as their teams are beginning the conference tournaments. All their hard work and dedication boils down to the next few games and they must win or risk an early summer vacation.
With the beginning of tournament play, every game counts and every team shares the same record. It is in these games that the resiliency of the players is tested. The Big 12 Conference, which boasts several Bomber players, had a few notable upsets on the first day of the tournament. Sixth-seeded Baylor defeated the third-seed and 12th ranked team in the nation, Nebraska, by a score of 10-4. Bomber newcomer Dustin Dickerson was 1-for-4 with an RBI single for the Bears, who will play Oklahoma State on Friday. Trey Sperring and his eighth-seeded Oklahoma Sooners pulled off the greatest upset of all, taking down national powerhouse and Big 12 Regular Season Champion Texas A&M 4-1 Wednesday. They will move on to play former Bomber Scooter Hicks and the Missouri Tigers on Thursday, who defeated Casey Whitmer’s Texas Longhorns 3-2 in the first round of the tournament.
After claiming the second seed in the Sun Belt Conference with a 38-18 record, the University of New Orleans suffered a huge upset at the hands of seventh-seeded South Alabama in the first round of the Sun Belt Tournament by a score of 14-2. Former Bomber Mark McGonigle, who hit .296 with eight home runs and 45 RBI this season, will try to help the Privateers redeem themselves on Thursday against Troy. Although the loss to South Alabama was heart-wrenching, the Privateers still have a chance to win the conference tournament due to the double-elimination format.
John Touchton’s Houston Cougars began the Conference USA Tournament in good fashion, defeating East Carolina 5-4. The fourth-seeded Cougars future looks even brighter after perennial powerhouse Rice lost for the second consecutive game, eliminating them from conference tournament play. Houston plays eighth-seeded UAB Thursday with a chance to advance to the semifinals. Touchton, who pitched well in his last start and picked up his 5th win of the season, will likely get the start in Thursday or Friday’s game.
The playoffs are the most exciting time of the year as teams make their push for college baseball’s ultimate prize–the College World Series. Stay tuned to see how the Bombers perform in baseball’s all-important postseason.