Baylor Bears

Big 12 Baseball Weekend Preview: Huge Series Await in Manhattan, Lubbock

Brady Day, Kansas State baseball

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.

Can Oklahoma State Stay Hot?

This is one matchup that I am really looking forward to this season between two teams who are heading in opposite directions at the moment. Oklahoma State is red hot right now and earned my top spot in the weekly Big 12 power rankings. The Cowboys have the best ERA in the conference (4.27) and have a solid rotation with Brian Holiday and Sam Garcia. Plus, they have the offense to back those guys up with the long ball. As for Kansas State, they are going to have to rely on their offense to get the job done. They are giving up nearly 6 runs a game because they have really struggled on the mound. Luckily for them, their bats have kept them alive this season. Brady Day, Chuck Ingram, and Kaelen Culpepper have carried the offense, but I am not sure if they will be able to score a bunch against this Oklahoma State pitching staff.

 

Watch out for the Long Ball in Lubbock

Here’s a series to keep an eye on in Lubbock. The pitching for both teams has been inconsistent at times, but the two guys I really like are Derek Clark (WVU) and Kyle Robinson (TTU). Clark is known for pitching complete games, while Kyle Robinson has allowed just six runs in his last five starts (30 innings). The one thing I expect to see is runs. It’s going to be an interesting weather weekend in Lubbock with wind. Both teams have some solid hitters, with guys like Sam Reed, Reed Chumley, and JJ Wetherholt for West Virginia, along with Damian Bravo, TJ Pompey, and Gavin Kash for Texas Tech.

The Surprise Series of the Weekend

If you had told me back when the season started that the series between Kansas and Baylor in late April would be important, then I would have called you crazy. Well, here we are, and both teams are right around .500 in conference play. The Bears have improved their numbers during conference games both on the mound and at the plate. One of the big reasons why is outfielder Enzo Apodaca who is batting .368 and is leading the team with 31 RBIs. Not to mention, their pitching staff has been better as well, and keep an eye on Ethan Calder coming out of the bullpen. Ethan hasn’t allowed a run in his last nine innings.

 

As for Kansas, they have been balanced for the most part. Their offense has some consistent hitters with guys like John Nett, Kodey Shojinaga, Jake English, and Michael Brooks. Plus, their trio of Reese Dutton, Dominic Voegele, and Patrick Steitz has been fun to watch as well. This is one of those great low-key matchups this weekend in Waco.

A Series Between Disappointing ‘Contenders’

Another weekend means another must-win series for TCU. The Horned Frogs are sitting at 7-11 in conference play and are still trying to dig their way out of the early hole they put themselves in. The big issue for TCU has been that they are averaging just .221 in Big 12 action at the plate. That is a significant difference compared to Texas, which is averaging .295. However, when you look at the pitching, it’s the other way around. TCU has an ERA of 5.13, while Texas sits at 6.23. It’s been an up-and-down season for both teams, but the one thing Texas has is the ability to score runs at any given moment. Jared Thomas, Jalin Flores, Max Belyeu, and Kimble Schuessler have all been hitting well, and I’m excited to see them face TCU’s rotation.

 

Can Cincinnati Stay in the Hunt?

With Houston having a 5-13 record in Big 12 play, this series is more about Cincinnati than anything else. The Bearcats are sitting at 7-8 and have an opportunity to get above .500 heading into the last four weeks. While both teams have had their struggles at times, the one thing I’m buying here is Cincinnati’s bats. Josh Hefermann, Tommy O’Connor, and Josh Kris have been raking, and the Bearcats have a couple of other guys batting over .300 as well. Houston has been wildly inconsistent this season, and I just don’t trust them in this spot.

The Sooners Look to Stay Near the Top

There’s not a lot for me to say here for this series. BYU is struggling, while Oklahoma is trying to take over first place in the conference. The Cougars have one of the worst offenses in conference play, and their pitching hasn’t been much better. Meanwhile, Oklahoma has been hot at the plate, averaging .313 as a team in their 15 conference games this year. Jackson Nicklaus, Easton Carmichael, Bryce Madron, and Michael Snyder have been putting up some great numbers, and I expect that to continue this weekend in Provo.

Other Series

Central Michigan at UCF

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