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Big 12 Baseball Weekend Preview: West Virginia Eyes Big 12 Title in Austin

Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship, May 28, 2017

Big 12 baseball is in full swing as we are starting to get a feel for how the conference hierarchy is going to play out this season.

It felt like just yesterday that opening weekend was here and now we are entering the regular season’s final weekend.

Let’s take a look at the upcoming weekend for Big 12 baseball.

 

#6 West Virginia at Texas

If you can only watch one series this weekend, then this is the one to watch. While Texas has something to prove still, this series is about West Virginia because all eyes will be on them. The Mountaineers are just one win away from clinching a Big 12 regular season title and they will get three chances this weekend.

West Virginia has been solid all season long and it starts with the best player in college baseball, J.J. Wetherholt. He does it all for the Mountaineers, but he also has some help with Caleb McNeely, Barry Braden, Tevin Tucker, and Landon Wallace. While the offense has been consistent, so has their pitching with Blaine Traxel and Ben Hampton.

Meanwhile, for Texas, they have nothing to lose here. They are a young team but have the talent to make a run in the postseason. Lucas Gordon and Lebarron Johnson Jr. have been key for them on the mound and that offense has been playing lights out. Eric Kennedy, Porter Brown, Peyton Powell, Dylan Campbell, and Garret Guillemette have all hit the bell well this season and have made this team extremely dangerous at the plate. With that said, I like the Mountaineers to take the series and win their first Big 12 baseball title.

My Pick: West Virginia

#25 Oklahoma State at Oklahoma

While this may not be the premier matchup in the Big 12, there is still plenty at stake in Norman this weekend. For one, this is a rivalry game and secondly, both teams have a lot to play for. Oklahoma State is trying to keep its slim Big 12 title hopes alive and potentially become a regional host. Meanwhile, Oklahoma is hanging on for dear life to their postseason chances.

We all know that the Cowboys will bring that offense of theirs to Norman. Oklahoma State has the second-best batting average in the Big 12 thanks to the bats of Carson Benge, Roc Riggio, Nolan Schubart, David Mendham, Chase Adkison, and Tyler Wulfert. Their entire lineup is explosive and if you don’t believe it, just take a look at their home run numbers this season because they have hit a conference-high 94 of them so far this season.

 Oklahoma has a few guys of their own who can do some damage at the plate as well. Kendall Pettis, Anthony Mackenzie, Bryce Madron, and Easton Carmichael have all been great so far. To me, this series will come down to pitching and right now, I trust Oklahoma State’s pitching staff a little more.

My Pick: Oklahoma State

 

TCU at Kansas State

Just one game separates these two teams in conference play and this series is going to be critical as both teams are fighting to make the postseason. TCU has turned the corner a bit after winning back-to-back weekend series while Kansas State fell flat against Oklahoma State last weekend. I will be completely honest here; I do not really trust either pitching staff because they have both been wildly inconsistent. However, TCU’s pitching has been better over the last two weeks.

As far as offense goes, I will also give the edge to TCU. Cole Fontenelle, Karson Bowen, Tre Richardson, and Anthony Silva have been solid, and I can’t forget about Brayden Taylor or Elijah Nunez who seem to be improving as well. I like some of the pieces Kansas State has in their lineup with Cash Rugely, Brady Day, Nick Goodwin, and Kalen Culpepper but I just feel like the Horned Frogs are finally starting to come together at the right time. I know Tointon is a tough place to play but give me TCU in this one.

My Pick: TCU

Kansas at Texas Tech

The good news for Kansas is that they will make the Big 12 tournament next week no matter what happens against Texas Tech. The bad news for them is that they are playing Texas Tech in Lubbock.

There hasn’t been a whole lot to cheer about in Lawrence, but they do have two really good players in Kody Shojinaga and Chase Jans. Other than those two, there isn’t much to talk about and their pitching has been bad this season.

Those pitching struggles are something Texas Tech will take advantage of. The Red Raiders have the best offense in the Big 12 as they have four guys hitting over the .315 mark with Gavin Kash, Nolen Hester, Kevin Bazzell, and Gage Harrelson. I know that Texas Tech isn’t exactly great on the mound but it’s not easy to beat them in Lubbock which is why I am going with the Red Raiders here. Plus, Tech has a lot to play for this weekend too because they are a team right on that postseason bubble.

My Pick: Texas Tech

 

CSU Bakersfield at Baylor

Sometimes I hate to be so brutally honest, but this is a series between two teams that just aren’t very good. CSU Bakersfield is ten games under .500 and pretty much has no chance of making the tournament. Sure, they have two good players in Matthew Kurata and Riley Kasper, and they even have an ace pitcher in Matt Commos but as a whole, they just aren’t very good.

The same can also be said for Baylor. The Bears have some nice players in Kolby Branch, Hunter Teplanszky, and Hunter Simmons but not much outside of those three. Baylor isn’t going to make the Big 12 tournament which means this is their last weekend of baseball until next season. I guess I will go with the Bears here because they are playing at home for the final time until 2024.

My Pick: Baylor

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