Baylor Bears

Big 12 Baseball Weekend Preview: Several Teams Looking to Remain in the Hunt

West Virginia infielder JJ Wetherholt (27) throws the ball to first during the game against the Texas Longhorns at UFCU Disch-Falk Field on Saturday, May 20, 2023 in Austin.

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.

How High Can Cincy Climb?

Sorry, BYU fans, with a 6-18 record in conference play, your hopes of reaching the postseason are over. This series is all about Cincinnati, who has been the biggest surprise team in the Big 12 this year. After a big win over West Virginia last weekend, the Bearcats moved up to 13-11 in conference play. The problem with them is their RPI is in the 60’s so they will need to continue to win games to remain in the postseason hunt. The good news for them is that BYU has the worst ERA in the Big 12 (7.19). Cincinnati has the offense to take advantage of that with guys like Josh Kross and Tommy O’Connor, who have combined for 26 homers this season.


Who Wants to Stay in the Fight?

If Texas wants to potentially win a Big 12 title, this is a must-win weekend. The Longhorns are sitting a few games behind Oklahoma but own the tiebreaker over them. Texas has been one of those surging teams over the last few weeks and has really played well. The reason is because of the power they have. Texas has hit 50 home runs in conference play, thanks to guys like Jalin Flores, Jared Thomas, Max Belyeu, Will Gasparino, and Peyton Powell.

UCF on the other hand has gotten it done on the mound. They have the fourth-best ERA in the Big 12. Dominic Castellano has been fantastic this season posting a 2.86 ERA in Big 12 play and the Knights have other reliable arms in the bullpen as well. The question here will be if UCF can score enough runs against a scrappy Texas pitching staff.

A Morgantown Showdown

Much like Texas and Oklahoma State, West Virginia is still in the mix when it comes to the conference title race despite losing to Cincinnati last weekend. Now they face a Kansas State team trying to make the postseason.


Both teams have the offense to get the job done. Grant Hussey, Kyle West, and Reed Chumley have all hit over 10 homers, and JJ Wetherholt has been solid as well. Meanwhile, Kansas State has been able to produce thanks to Chuck Ingram, Kaelen Culpepper, Brady Day, and Brendan Jones. The key to this series is going to be pitching. Neither team has been great in conference play there, but each of them has at least one great option between Derek Clark (West Virginia) and Jackson Wentworth (Kansas State).

 A Crucial Series in Stillwater

Speaking of Oklahoma State, they will host Texas Tech this weekend. The Cowboys are coming off a disappointing weekend in Austin, while the Red Raiders have lost six straight conference games.

The Cowboys are by far the most balanced team in this series. Their superb pitching staff includes arms like Brian Holiday, Sam Garcia, Robert Cranz, and two-way star Carson Benge. On the flip side, they also have the power at the plate to make opposing teams nervous. Nolan Schubart, Carson Benge, Zach Ehrhard, and Colin Brueggemann have combined for a whopping 51 homers this season and have no intention of slowing down. As for Texas Tech, enough about the stats or the players. It’s time to put up or shut up. This team is more talented than their 12-15 Big 12 record shows. They have been wildly inconsistent this year, and if they don’t win this series, then they are in serious jeopardy of missing the postseason, which hasn’t happened in nine years.


Can the Sooners Stay on Top?

No offense to Baylor, but this series is all about the Sooners. Oklahoma currently has a comfortable lead at the top of the Big 12 standings, and they take on a struggling Baylor team that has lost eight straight conference games. The secret behind Oklahoma’s success this season has been their stats at the plate. They have the highest batting average in conference play (.316) because guys like Easton Carmichael, Jackson Nicklaus, Michael Snyder, Bryce Madron, and Anthony Mackenzie are hitting over the .310 mark. The only concern for Oklahoma has been their pitching, which has been a little inconsistent. However, outside of Enzo Apodaca and Wesley Jordan, the Bears don’t have enough offense to really scare them.

Kansas Needs a Bounce Back Weekend

This is a must-win series for the Jayhawks if they want to reach the postseason. After falling to instate rival Kansas State last weekend, it’s important that they get back on track against an inferior Houston team. The Cougars have a 6.08 ERA in Big 12 play, and Kansas has the third-best team batting average (.279) in their 24 conference games. Kansas has five guys batting over .300, and they have the arms on the mound to shut down a bad Houston offense.

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