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Big 12 Baseball Weekend Preview: A Showdown in Morgantown Awaits

West Virginia Baseball team locks arms before the first pitch.

After another fun week, college baseball returns to action as 13 Big 12 teams are hitting the diamond. There are several big-time matchups ahead, so let’s take a look at the top storylines heading into the weekend.

The Showdown in Morgantown

Before the season started, I wouldn’t have had this series circled on my calendar. But of course, things change, and this is the most important series of the weekend. West Virginia is on a roll right now as they find themselves in sole possession of first place. The return of JJ Wetherholt was key because he is the engine of this team. But the mountaineers also have some pop in their lineup with guys like Reed Chumley and Grant Hussey as well. And I can’t forget about starting pitcher Derek Clark, who has been lights out this season.

 

As for UCF, their balance is what impresses me the most. They can do a little bit of everything. They have the second-best ERA in the Big 12 (4.13), and they have the offense to back them up between Andrew Sundean, Matt Prevesk, Jack Zyska, and Lex Boedicker. Buckle up because this is going to be a good one.

The Series of the Surprise Teams 

Has anyone been more of a surprise this season in the Big 12 than Cincinnati? They weren’t expected to do much this year, and here they are, in the thick of the Big 12 title race. While they may not be as good as Oklahoma State on the mound, they have some consistent bats, as five guys in their lineup are batting over .300.

As for Oklahoma State, it’s been all about their pitching staff this season. The offense has always been there and now they have seemed to figure it out on the mound. The Cowboys have the best ERA in the conference (4.10) in large part due to starters Sam Garcia and Brian Holiday, along with that bullpen of theirs. This is a key series for both teams who are looking to get to the top of the standings.

Expect Fireworks in Norman

If you are looking for a series full of offense, then this is the one to watch. Both Kansas State and Oklahoma are in the top three in team batting average and in the top four in total hits and runs scored. Pitching has been an issue for both teams, so I expect these hitters to go off this weekend. Players to watch here are Brady Day, Chuck Ingram, and Kaelen Culpepper for Kansas State, as well as Jackson Nicklaus, Bryce Madron, Easton Carmichael, and Michael Snyder for Oklahoma.

 

It’s now or never for TCU.

While both of these teams may be near the bottom of the standings, I can’t think of a more pressure-filled series than this one. Despite being a top-ten preseason team and a favorite to win the Big 12, TCU’s postseason hopes are in series jeopardy as they sit at 5-10 in Big 12 play. They can’t afford another series loss at this point. Meanwhile, Texas Tech got off to a rough start but is on a bit of a winning streak in conference action. I have no idea what to expect in this one, but the urgency couldn’t be any higher for either team. Consider this a playoff series.

Which Texas team will show up?

Let’s face the facts here. This series is all about Texas because Houston is currently 4-11 in conference play, and a loss here would all but seal their fate.

For Texas, this is a must-win. The Longhorn pitching staff should have no issue shutting down Houston, which is hitting just .251 in conference play. On the flip side, Houston has the worst ERA in conference play (6.38), and Texas has the best team batting average (.306) in its 12 games so far. I expect the Texas bats to get after it this weekend.

 

Can Baylor get over .500?

There’s not a lot for me to say here because this is a battle of the bottom feeders in my book. While Baylor does have a chance to go above .500 in conference play, I am still not quite sold on this team making the postseason. As for BYU, they had a great upset win over Texas last weekend in Austin, but they are realistically out of the playoff picture to me. This series is more about Baylor than BYU.

Other Series

  • Pacific at Kansas
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