Baylor Bears

Big 12 Baseball Weekend Preview: The Home Stretch is Here

Oklahoma Sooners baseball. (Big 12 photo by Tim Heitman).

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 .500 Battle

While neither of these teams may be considered a true conference title contender, this is an important series in terms of standings. Right now, Cincinnati has a 9-9 record in Big 12 play, while UCF sits at 8-10. So that means the winner of this series will either get to .500 or better, and the loser will be under .500. One of the things that sticks out to me here is that both teams have had some issues at the plate during Big 12 play. Both schools are in the bottom five when it comes to team batting average yet they each have some guys in their lineups who can hit.


Josh Hegenann is having a great year, batting .368 for Cincinnati, and Josh Kross has hit 13 home runs this season. Meanwhile, UCF has four players hitting well: Andrew Sundean, Matt Prevesk, Jack Zyska, and Lex Boedicker. Plus, the Knights have pitched better this season, and Dominic Castellano has been fantastic on the mound this year. This is a very under-the-radar type of series to me.

Can West Virginia Bounce Back?

After getting swept last weekend in Lubbock, the Mountaineers return to Morgantown. It was just a week ago that West Virginia was on top of the Big 12 standings, and now they are three games back and face a gritty Baylor team. The Bears have had a few surprise performances from Enzo Apodaca and Wesley Jordan, along with Mason Marriott on the mound, who has a 3.48 ERA in Big 12 play.

As good as Baylor’s turnaround has been, I am not sure if they are ready to take down an angry West Virginia team on the road. Reed Chumley and Kyle West have some power bats, and the return of JJ Wetherholt has made this offense even more dangerous. Plus, keep an eye on pitcher Derek Clark. Four of his last five starts have been complete games.


This is a must-win weekend for Oklahoma State

The reason I call this a must-win weekend for Oklahoma State is because they are right in the thick of the Big 12 title race, and they face a bad BYU team at home. The Cougars have the second-worst ERA in conference play (6.47). While Oklahoma State may not be the usual juggernaut at the plate like they have been in recent years, guys like Zach Ehrhard, Collin Brueggemann, and Carson Benge should have opportunities to tee off this weekend at O’Brien. Meanwhile, I expect Sam Garcia and Brian Holiday to shut down BYU on the mound as well.

Is Texas Tech Back?

It’s been a weird season for the Red Raiders as they got off to a bit of a rocky start in conference play. But after their sweep of West Virginia last weekend, I felt like that was a statement type of series that put them back in the conference title hunt. Now, we all know that Tech has the offense to compete with almost anyone, but that is the reason why they have found some recent success. Kyle Robinson has been outstanding in his last couple of starts, and their bullpen has played well in the last two series, too. Now, they will face a tough test against a very underrated Kansas team. The Jayhawks have five guys batting over the .300 mark: John Nett, Jake English, Kodey Shojinaga, Michael Brooks, and Collier Cranford. And their trio of Dominic Voegele, Reese Dutton, and Patrick Steitz have really helped this team as well.


Is this the Final Red River Rivalry?

Not only is this series important in the Big 12 title race, but it also holds some value because there is a chance that this could be the last time we see these two rivals face off as members of the Big 12. Oddly enough, these two teams are kind of similar to one another. The pitching numbers are very close, with Ace Whitehead and Max Grubs for Texas and Kyson Witherspoon and Braden Davis for Oklahoma.

The same can be said for the bats as well. Each team is in the top three when it comes to team batting average in conference play, and both teams have the ability to hit the long ball as well. While Texas has hit more home runs with guys like Jalin Flores, Max Belyeu, and Jared Thomas, Oklahoma has five players batting over .300, and I am interested to see how John Spikerman is used coming off a hand injury. Buckle up because this is going to be a good one in Norman.

It’s Now or Never for TCU

With an 8-13 record in Big 12 play, TCU only has 9 conference games left, and time is running out for them sooner rather than later. In fact, I am not even sure if just winning these next three series will be enough, but I guess we will have to see. The problem for TCU has been the offense. They have the worst team batting average in conference play (.219), yet they have the second-best team ERA (4.88). One of the main reasons why is Payton Tolle who has posted a 2.58 ERA in his seven conference starts.

As good as the Horned Frogs’ pitching has been, they will face a big test against a solid Kansas State lineup that includes Brady Day, Chuck Ingram, Kaelen Culpepper, and Brendan Jones.

Other Series

UT Arlington at Houston

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