Six Big 12 teams started conference play this past weekend and there were some outcomes that surprised many Big 12 fans. As a result, there is plenty of movement in this week’s Big 12 baseball power rankings.
1.Texas Tech Red Raiders (17-4)
What a week for the Red Raiders, who headline our Big 12 baseball power rankings. After a loss on Tuesday to UT Arlington, Texas Tech went to Austin and swept the Longhorns over the weekend. It was the first time in program history (43 3-game series) the Red Raiders had swept the Longhorns. Tech won a pair of pitching duels on Friday and Saturday (2-1 in both games), and then got the offense going in an 8-5 win on Sunday. Texas Tech is 3-0 in Big 12 play for the first time since 1999 and have won six-straight games against nationally-ranked opponents. Good times in Lubbock!
2.TCU Horned Frogs (14-5)
The Horned Frogs are still one of the best teams in the country, but they couldn’t complete the sweep of the lowly Kansas Jayhawks, losing 4-3 on Sunday. But the Horned Frogs offense continues to get it done in bunches, scoring multiple runs in an inning 30 times this season. On Sunday, the Horned Frogs scored 3 in the eight to tie the game before losing in the 9th. On Saturday, scored all 5 of its runs in the 7th to help Jared Janczak, who threw 8 no-hit innings.
3. West Virginia Mountaineers (10-8)
The Mountaineers make the biggest jump this week from 8 to 3 in our Big 12 baseball power rankings. West Virginia lost on Sunday but took the series in Waco from No. 10 Baylor. The series loss was BU’s first of the year and the two home losses were its second and third of the year in 14 games. The Mountaineers are becoming the kind of team that plays up or down to their competition. WVU is 4-1 against Top 25 teams and 6-7 against everyone else.
4. Oklahoma Sooners (21-3)
After playing their first 19 games in Norman, the Sooners finally went on the road and went 4-1 over that stretch. The only loss came last Tuesday against Georgia Tech, which was followed up by the 4 straight wins against Georgia State and then a weekend sweep of Kennesaw State. DH Domenic DeRenzo hit his first homer of the season on Sunday, and if he can return to the player he was prior to Tommy John surgery in 2016, the OU line up will get a nice boost. Next up for the Sooners: a visit to Oklahoma State for a non-conference Bedlam match-up on Tuesday.
5.Oklahoma State Cowboys (14-6)
The Pokes powered through 5 straight wins against mediocre competition in New Mexico State and Northwestern State. In fact, the Cowboys won their 5 games by a combined score of 44-9. Jon Littell is starting to get his bat going, hitting two home runs and driving in 5 runs on Sunday, which gave him 12 of his 17 RBIs last week alone. The Pokes are also getting contributions from freshmen on the mound, with Jonathan Heasley winning Saturday’s start and Brady Basso earning his first-career win on Sunday. The Cowboys have won 7 straight.
6. Baylor Bears (16-4)
It was a complete shocker to see the Bears drop their home series against West Virginia over the weekend. The Bears got back on track Sunday with a 5-1 win over WVU and it was largely thanks to the middle of the line up. BU’s number 3-5 hitters combined for 9 runs and RBIs; Shea Langeliers (two runs, one RBI), Matt Menard (one run) and Kameron Esthay (one run, four RBI). WVU continues to be a thorn in the Bears’ side. Baylor is just 7-8 all-time against West Virginia since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12.
7. Texas Longhorns (13-9)
Yes, it was a sweep at the hands of a national contender, but still. To be swept by anyone isn’t a good look for the Longhorns, who fall in this week’s Big 12 baseball power rankings. UT jumped out to an early 2-0 lead over Tech on Sunday, but gave up 4 runs in the third and never led again, losing 8-5. This stings even more after the Longhorns dropped a pair of pitching duels by the score of 2-1 on Friday and Saturday. The sweep is even more deflating for UT as it was preceded by a 5-game winning streak.
8.Kansas State Wildcats (14-6)
It was a 2-2 week for the Wildcats, but included a couple of disappointing losses to Omaha and Iowa. Sure, K-State took 2 of 3 from the Hawkeyes, but Sunday’s game included erasing a 7-run deficit, before ultimately losing 12-11 in 10 innings. Steve Serratore continues to be a bright spot for the Wildcats. He went 5 for 5 on Sunday and remains tied for the Big 12 lead with 5 home runs and is 3rd with 24 RBIs. The Wildcats get Omaha again on Tuesday before a tough 3-game set this weekend against an angry Texas team.
9.Kansas Jayhawks (9-10)
Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. KU pulled off a win on Sunday against TCU, but still finds itself at the bottom of our Big 12 baseball power rankings. Jackson Goddard pitched outstanding on Sunday, taking a no-hitter into the eight inning and then exited to a standing ovation after a 119-pitch effort. Despite blowing a 3-run lead, KU got heroics in the top of the 9th from Owen Taylor, who hit the first pitch he saw over the right field fence to salvage the 4-3 win for the Jayhawks. KU has nearly a two-week stretch without a conference game, playing Creighton, Samford, and Minnesota coming up.
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