Big 12 Baseball Tournament Preview The Gold and Blue Nation Podcast

The Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship begins Wednesday at its new home: Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.  West Virginia enters the tournament as the No. 6-seed and is set to face No. 3 Oklahoma in the opening round. Get caught up on the bracket and biggest storylines heading into this double-elimination tournament with The Gold and Blue Nation Podcast, presented by Pritt & Spano.  Hosts Nick Farrell and Anjelica Trinone examine possible roads to a championship for the Mountaineers, who have won at least two games in each of the last five completed tournaments.  WVU's opener against the Sooners is scheduled for Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. ET on Big 12 Now on ESPN+. 

MORGANTOWN, W.Va – For at least the next three years, the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship will be held at Globe Life, the home of the Texas Rangers. With the change in venue, it will mark the third professional stadium WVU baseball has played inside this season.

In March, the Mountaineers played three games at U.S. Bank Stadium for the 2022 Cambria College Classic. It’s the home of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, but the University of Minnesota’s baseball team hosts some of its early-season contests at the venue. Its roof is 60% transparent.

West Virginia has clashed with its oldest rival, Pitt, at the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates for the past few seasons. The Mountaineers edged the Panthers 3-2 in 11 innings at PNC Park back in April.

“It’s a wonderful atmosphere to play at a big-league stadium but the atmosphere is different when you have a huge stadium and only so many fans. It seems dead, like when we played in Minnesota up there,” Mazey said. “But I think that field is going to suit us pretty well because it is a big field with big gaps. Speed is going to play a big factor in some games down there more so than power, so you would like to think that’s ‘advantage Mountaineers’ when that happens.”

Freshman pitcher Aidan Major made his first career start at PNC Park. He earned his spot in the weekend rotation for the last two Big 12 series. Now, he’ll get to experience another MLB mound.

“It’s every kid’s dream. Doesn’t matter if you are in college, high school, or little league, everyone wants to play pro baseball in a pro stadium,” Major said. “To be able to do that, doesn’t matter what level you are, it’s really unique and really cool. Having experience in doing it, I think I’ll be calmer going into it than I was last time.”

Unlike PNC Park, Globe Life Stadium is a climate-controlled environment that remains around 72 degrees. Not only does it feature a retractable roof, but also a retractable mound. The technology allows the stadium to be used 365 days a year. The natural light gives fans a way to enjoy the Texas sun without the high temperatures that come along with it.

“The lighting is kind of difficult sometimes. It all depends on the stadium. The ball is going to fly a little more because there’s no wind,” senior right fielder Austin Davis said. “Being an outfielder, I go check out the outfield first. I see the dimensions, how much foul ground I have, see how the grass is playing. I just try to treat it like a home game and think there’s no difference in our field and theirs. It’s just a few dimensions and go play.”

West Virginia (14-10) is the No. 6 seed in the tournament. It will open up competition at Globe Life against No. 3 Oklahoma (15-9) on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. ET.

You can find the full bracket for Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship here.