2024 Shriners Children's College Showdown

Tennessee Baseball, Texas Tech, OU Shined At College Showdown | Analysis

Tennessee Baseball, Texas Tech, OU Shined At College Showdown | Analysis

Oklahoma Baseball showed they could win the Big 12, while Tennessee shook off a loss with Billy Amick leading the way. College Baseball Showdown takeaways.

Feb 19, 2024 by Joe Harrington

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The first weekend of 2024 college baseball in Arlington, Texas and Globe Life Field is in the books as Baylor, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon and Tennessee helped celebrate the start of the season with nine mostly thrilling games over three days. 

Oklahoma won in extras on Saturday to win the game of the weekend against No. 9 Tennessee. Texas Tech and Oregon had a Sunday slugfest with 18 runs on the board combined, and Nebraska and even Baylor showed that they may be a problem in their conferences at points this weekend. 

Tennessee came to Arlington as legitimate national title contenders after reaching the College World Series in 2023, but it was Oklahoma that looked Omaha ready with a pair of come-from-behind wins over the Vols and Cornhuskers

For the first two days, Oregon looked like the best team in the field until Texas Tech dropped six runs in the second inning of Day 3 on the Ducks and Oregon's dominant bullpen gave up five more runs. 

At times pitching looked ahead of the hitters, which was obvious on Day 1 when Baylor starter Mason Marriott had 10 strikeouts, Oregon finished with 4.2 innings of allowing just one hit, and AJ Russell and AJ Causey combined to strikeout 17 Texas Tech Red Raiders. 

But there were also some home runs, including by Tennessee’s top-100 prospects in Dylan Dreiling and Billy Amick. Tennessee and Texas Tech, the two top-25 teams in the field, combined for 22 runs. 

Next week, as the Shriners Children’s College Showdown transforms into the Kubota Baseball Series Weekend 2 – and all the events are part of what was once known as the College Baseball Showdown– three teams ranked in preseason polls will come to Arlington. The high-level baseball isn’t going anywhere when Arkansas, Oregon State, Oklahoma State and Michigan arrive in Texas. 

But before we turn that page, let’s take a look at the first weekend. Here are five thoughts from the first weekend. 

Shriners Children's College Showdown Team Of The Weekend: Oklahoma Baseball

The Sooners lost 4-2 to start the weekend to Oregon, but they bounced back to win two of the best games of the weekend. They stunned Tennessee 5-1 on Saturday in 10 innings and Kyson Witherspoon came out of the bullpen and helped keep the powerful Vols' lineup at bay. 


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On Sunday, Nebraska appeared ready to celebrate a 2-1 weekend until OU scored two runs to walk-off the Cornhuskers in the bottom of the ninth. 

Had Nebraska hung on to win that game, it might have been hard to ignore them as the team of the weekend. But back-to-back ninth-inning collapses made for a frustrating weekend for the Huskers. 

Tennessee bashed the ball all over the place against Baylor on Sunday and finished 2-1, but they came to Arlington as the best team.

Oklahoma was picked to finish tied for sixth in the Big 12, and the Sooners showed they can hang with any team in the nation. 

Shriners Children's College Showdown Team That Would Like A Do-Over: Baylor Baseball

Well, they were the only team to go 0-3 and the Bears lost two frustrating games before Tennessee handed them an 11-5 loss on Sunday. 

Baylor, though, had flashes. 

Mason Marriott looked like a legit weekend ace for the Bears, and Collin McKinney wasn’t that far behind him. Clearly, Baylor has bullpen issues and that will happen with 21 new players joining a team that won just 20 games a year ago and is picked to finish near the bottom of the Big 12. 

But they did make Tennessee sweat for a few innings on Sunday. 

Shriners Children's College Showdown Prospect Of The Weekend: 3B Billy Amick Of Tennessee

Billy “Amick hit a home run on Friday and Sunday. He hit a triple on Sunday, too. Amick is a top-50 prospect in college baseball and a returning All-American and he showed that he may be a first round pick this summer. He drove in five RBI and walked three times this weekend as well. 

He showed why he was one most impactful transfers of the year after having started his career at Clemson. 

Shriners Children's College Showdown Hitter Of The Weekend: Texas Tech OF Damian Bravo

“Bravo” is what Texas Tech fans were saying after the Oregon game. Facing what had been one of the best pitching staffs in Arlington, Bravo hit three doubles, drove in four runs, and walked against the Ducks. He scored two runs. Bravo had five hits on the weekend, including getting one in every game. He scored two runs against Nebraska. 

Texas Tech played in three of the toughest games of the weekend. The Opening Day main event against Tennessee could have put a damper on things, and Nebraska pushed Tech hard. But the No. 21 Red Raiders came through with a 2-1 record. And Bravo is a big reason why. 

The left fielder didn’t have a great freshman season. He hit .133 with three home runs and seven RBI. He is leaving Arlington with a .500 batting average.

He pitched last season, but didn’t see the mound at the College Baseball Showdown. 

Shriners Children's College Showdown Pitcher Of The Weekend: A.J. Causey, Tennessee

It was a weekend dominated by bullpens. Oregon’s Grayson Grinsell was great on Day 1 against Oklahoma. Logan Mercado followed him on Saturday against Baylor with a six-out save. Oklahoma’s Kyson Witherspoon was a major reason why the Sooners beat the Vols later that day. 

Brett Sears of Nebraska had one of the best starts of the weekend against Baylor. And none of the guys are Drew Beam, the top prospect on any team this weekend who pitched for Tennessee on Saturday. 

But it was his teammate A.J. Causey who was star hurler of the weekend.

He pitched 4.2 innings of scoreless baseball against Texas Tech, struck out seven and allowed just two baserunners. He and Grinsell were the two most dominant relievers of the weekend, but Causey showed why he was one of the best transfers in the country after he pitched for Jacksonville State a year ago. Baseball America listed him as the No. 42 transfer.

Arkansas Baseball Vs. Oregon State Could Be Best Non-Conference Game of The Season

OK, now we look at next weekend.

The final game of Day 1 of weekend two at Globe Life Field will be one of the best non-conference games of the season and perhaps the best matchup in the history of the College Baseball Showdown.

Arkansas (2-1) is set to drop in the polls after losing 7-3 Sunday to James Madison, but the unanimous preseason top-five team probably won’t tumble out of the top-10. The Razorbacks play James Madison again on Feb 19.

Oregon State (3-0), meanwhile, has dominated at the Sanderson Ford Baseball Classic so far in Surprise, Arizona. They play Minnesota again on Monday. 

Here’s what Oregon State has done so far:

  • Scored 36 runs in three games
  • Hit 14 home runs
  • Hit 7 doubles
  • Totaled 90 bases 
  • Tallied 39 hits

The Beavers were ranked as high as No. 7 in some polls. But the best team they played against, Minnesota, nearly beat them, that should be noted. Oregon State walked 12 Gophers in a slim 6-4 win and Minnesota left 17 runners on base. They lost by two. 

Arkansas may not have had a clean weekend against James Madison, but if Oregon State does that against the Razorbacks, things could get ugly. 

Arkansas ace Hagen Smith was roughed in a cold-weather performance on Opening Day on Feb. 16. He pitched one inning and allowed three runs. It won’t be cold on Friday at Globe Life Field. 

Smith facing Oregon State star Travis Bazzana is a match-up every MLB talent evaluator will be watching. 

What Teams Are Playing In the 2024 College Baseball Showdown And Kubota College Baseball Series?

Here are the teams: 

  • University of Oklahoma
  • Texas Tech University
  • Baylor University
  • University of Tennessee
  • University of Nebraska
  • University of Oregon
  • University of Arkansas
  • Oklahoma State University
  • University of Michigan
  • Oregon State University 
  • TCU 
  • Texas A&M
  • University of Southern California 
  • Arizona State University

2024 Shriners Children’s College Showdown Schedule

All times Eastern

Friday, Feb. 16 

  • Nebraska 4, Baylor 1 
  • Oregon 4, Oklahoma 2 
  • Tennessee 6,  Texas Tech 2

Saturday, Feb. 17 

  • Noon – Oregon 7, Baylor 4
  • 4 p.m. – Texas Tech 6, Nebraska 3
  • 8 p.m. – Oklahoma 5, 1 (10 inning)

Sunday, Feb. 18 

  • 11:30 a.m. – Oklahoma 7, Nebraska 6 
  • 3:30 p.m. – Texas Tech 11, Oregon 7
  • 7:30 p.m. – Tennessee vs. Baylor

2024 Kubota College Baseball Series Weekend 2 Schedule 

All times Eastern

Friday, Feb. 23 

  • 4 p.m. – Michigan vs. Oklahoma State 
  • 8 p.m. – Oregon State vs. Arkansas

Saturday, Feb. 24 

  • 4 p.m. – Michigan vs. Oregon State 
  • 8 p.m. – Arkansas vs. Oklahoma State

Sunday, Feb. 25 

  • 2 p.m. – Arkansas vs. Michigan 
  • 6 p.m. – Oklahoma State vs. Oregon State

2024 Kubota College Baseball Series Weekend 3 Schedule 

All times Eastern

Friday, March 1 

  • 3 p.m. – USC vs. TCU 
  • 7 p.m. – Arizona State vs. Texas A&M

Saturday, March 2 

  • 3 p.m. – Texas A&M vs. USC 
  • 7 p.m. – TCU vs. Arizona State

Sunday, March 3 

  • 12 p.m. – Arizona State vs. Texas A&M 
  • 4 p.m. – USC vs. TCU

FloBaseball Archived Footage

Video footage from past seasons is archived and stored in a video library for FloBaseball subscribers to watch for the duration of their subscriptions.

College Baseball Rankings 2024: Preseason USA Today Coaches Poll

  1. Wake Forest, 751, 15
  2. LSU, 731, 11
  3. Florida, 727, 5
  4. Arkansas, 672, 0
  5. TCU, 643, 0
  6. Vanderbilt, 576, 0
  7. Oregon State, 543, 0
  8. Tennessee, 529, 0
  9. Clemson, 484, 0
  10. Texas A&M, 468, 0
  11. Virginia, 431, 0
  12. East Carolina, 391, 0
  13. Texas, 381, 0
  14. Duke, 351, 0
  15. North Carolina, 342, 0
  16. North Carolina State, 289, 0
  17. Alabama, 197, 0
  18. UC Santa Barbara, 187, 0
  19. Coastal Carolina, 187, 0
  20. Iowa, 186, 0
  21. South Carolina, 169, 0
  22. Texas Tech, 157, 0
  23. Stanford, 121, 0
  24. UCLA, 80, 0
  25. Northeastern, 71, 0

Others Receiving Votes: Kansas State 65; UC Irvine 51; Oregon 42; Oklahoma State 41; Auburn 35; Southern Miss 21; Dallas Baptist 21; Troy 19; Ole Miss 16; Florida State 13; UNCW 12; Arizona 10; Oral Roberts 9; Indiana State 8; Connecticut 7; USC 6; Georgia 6; Campbell 6; Kentucky 5; West Virginia 4; Indiana 4; Georgia Tech 4; Maryland 3; Hawaii 3.

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