BIG 12: #14 Baylor Bears vs #4 Missouri Tigers

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FROM PRESS RELEASE

GAMES 18-20 • MARCH 21-23 • TAYLOR STADIUM • COLUMBIA , MO.

No. 14 BAYLOR (13-4, 2-1) vs. No. 4 MISSOURI (15-2, 0-0)

FRIDAY: 6:30 p.m. CST

SATURDAY: 2:00 p.m. CST

SUNDAY: 1:00 p.m. CST

Baylor returns to action this weekend, traveling to Columbia , Mo. , for a three-game Big 12 Conference series at Missouri . The Bears and the Tigers meet Friday at 6:30 p.m. CDT, Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. This is the second Big 12 series of the season for Baylor, while Missouri opens Big 12 play this weekend.

The Bears (13-4) took two of three against 23rd-ranked Oklahoma State last weekend, winning the final two games of the series to snap a three-game losing streak. Baylor is 3-2 in road games this season, all coming on opponents’ home fields. The Bears are ranked 14th nationally by Baseball America , 13th in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ Poll, 16th in the NCBWA Top 30 and 15th in the Collegiate Baseball Top 30.

The Tigers (15-2, 0-0) have won 10 straight after a pair of midweek wins at home against South Dakota State , winning 13-1 Tuesday and 9-4 Wednesday. Last weekend, Missouri swept a four-game series at home against Toledo . The Tigers are 9-0 at home this season; this weekend’s series closes a 12-game home stand for the Tigers. Missouri is ranked fourth in this week’s Baseball America Top 25 and ninth in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ Poll; Mizzou also is ranked 11th in the NCBWA Top 30 and eighth in the Collegiate Baseball Top 30.

All Baylor baseball games are broadcast live on Waco ’s 1660 ESPN Radio. Live streaming audio and GameTracker also are available for all Baylor baseball games online at www.BaylorBears.com, the official website of Baylor Athletics and a member of the CSTV Network. Live streaming video also is available for the Missouri series at www.MUTigers.com.

PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS

FRIDAY

Baylor: RHP Kendal Volz, So. (3-0, 2.51 ERA, 28.2 IP, 10 BB, 31 K)

Missouri: RHP Aaron Crow, Jr. (4-0, 1.38 ERA, 26.0 IP, 4 BB, 41 K)

SATURDAY

Baylor: RHP Shawn Tolleson, Fr. (2-0, 4.43 ERA, 22.1 IP, 10 BB, 16 K)

Missouri: RHP Ian Berger, Jr. (2-0, 0.39 ERA, 23.1 IP, 4 BB, 20 K)

SUNDAY

Baylor: RHP Willie Kempf, So. (3-0, 3.47 ERA, 23.1 IP, 13 BB, 15 K)

Missouri: RHP Kyle Gibson, So. (4-0, 2.30 ERA, 27.1 IP, 5 BB, 34 K)

THE SERIES

Overall: Baylor leads 25-19

Waco : Baylor leads 11-9

Columbia : Baylor leads 8-7

Neutral Site: Baylor leads 6-3

Smith vs. Missouri : 23-19

First Meeting: result unknown [5/5/1905]

Last Meeting: Baylor 10, Missouri 5 [5/25/2007]

COACHES

BAYLOR: Steve Smith

Alma Mater: Baylor, 1986

Career Record: 503-315-1 [14th season]

Record at Baylor: 503-315-1 [14th season]

MISSOURI: Tim Jamieson

Alma Mater: New Orleans , 1984

Career Record: 456-310-2 [14th season]

Record at Missouri : 456-310-2 [14th season]

BAYLOR/ISP SPORTS NETWORK

1660 ESPN RADIO ( Waco )

Tom Barfield, play-by-play

Lark Smith, color

INTERNET FEEDS

GameTracker: www.BaylorBears.com

Audio: www.BaylorBears.com

Video: www.MUTigers.com

BAYLOR-MISSOURI SERIES

Baylor and Missouri meet for the 45th, 46th and 47th times this weekend. The Bears hold a 25-19 advantage in a series that dates back to the 1905 season. The teams split four games last season with Missouri winning two of three games in the regular-season series at Baylor Ballpark and Baylor winning 10-5 in pool play at the Big 12 Conference Championship.

Arguably the most competitive series in Big 12 history, this is the only series in the league’s 12-year history that has never been swept. Baylor has won six of the 11 series, but Missouri has won each of the last three and five of six since 2002. The Bears still maintain a 17-16 edge in regular-season meetings since the inception of the Big 12 in 1997, but the Tigers have won six of the last eight and 11 of the last 17 meetings. Baylor also holds a 4-3 advantage in Big 12 Championship meetings; Nebraska (eight games) is the only team the Bears have faced more in Big 12 Championship play.

Baylor is 8-7 all-time at Columbia , all coming during the Big 12 era. The Bears earned two-games-to-one series wins in 1998, 2000 and 2004, while the Tigers took two of three in 2002 and 2006.

BAYLOR IN BIG 12 ROAD OPENERS

Baylor has won its first Big 12 Conference road series four times in the league’s 11-year history, winning in 1997 at Texas A&M (1997), in 1999 at Oklahoma State (2-1), in 2001 at Texas A&M (2-1) and in 2002 at Texas (2-1). When not including the Texas and Texas A&M split series as road series, Baylor still is 4-7 in its first road series of the season, winning in 1997 at Nebraska (3-0), in 2001 at Kansas (3-0) and in 2003 at Oklahoma State (2-1).

This is the first time Baylor has played its first Big 12 road games of the season at Missouri . In 2002, the Missouri series was the Bears’ first with all three games on the road, having already taken two of three from Texas in a road split series; Missouri won that series two games to one.

While Baylor is just 4-7 in its first Big 12 road series of the season, the Bears are 6-5 in their first Big 12 road games of the season. Baylor won at Oklahoma State in 1999, at Texas A&M in 2001, at Texas A&M in 2003, at Texas A&M in 2004 and at Texas in 2005. This is the first time in league history that Baylor’s first road game of the season is against a Big 12 North school.

BEARS PLAY SIX STRAIGHT GAMES AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS

Due to Tuesday night’s game against Sam Houston State being rained out, Baylor will play six consecutive games against ranked opponents. The Bears took two of three at home against 23rd-ranked Oklahoma State last weekend and play three games at fourth-ranked Missouri this weekend.

The last time Baylor played at least six consecutive games against ranked opponents was in 2005 when the Bears played seven straight twice. Baylor posted a 7-0 record during the first stretch and a 4-3 record in the second stretch.

The first stretch was during the regular season when the Bears swept a three-game series at eighth-ranked Vanderbilt, defeated 24th-ranked TCU in a midweek game and then swept a split series against top-ranked Texas .

Baylor’s final seven games that season were against ranked opponents. The Bears took two of three against 13th-ranked Clemson in the NCAA Waco Super Regional; Baylor then went 2-2 at the College World Series with wins over second-ranked Oregon State and top-ranked Tulane and two losses to fifth-ranked Texas .

BAYLOR ALL-TIME AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS

Baylor is 151-223-1 against ranked opponents since the beginning of the Baseball America rankings in 1981, including a 106-136-1 mark under head coach Steve Smith. Baylor is 67-142 in road games, including a 48-114 mark on opponents’ home fields, and 126-187-1 in regular-season games.

Historically, Baylor’s best month to face a ranked opponent is March: the Bears are 42-49 (.462) against ranked opponents in the year’s third month. Baylor is 98-136 against ranked conference opponents, including a 50-55 mark against ranked Big 12 opponents.

Baylor is 3-4 against ranked Missouri teams; this is the first time the Bears have played at Columbia when the Tigers were ranked. In 2003, Baylor lost two of three at home to the 25th-ranked Tigers; in 2005, the Bears lost two of three at home to the 20th-ranked Tigers. Baylor defeated the 11th-ranked Tigers last season at the Big 12 Championship.

SMITH CLAIMS CONFERENCE WIN No. 200

Last Saturday’s 3-0 win over Oklahoma State was the 200th conference victory in head coach Steve Smith’s career, all coming at Baylor. He is 183-121 in Big 12 games after posting an 18-30 mark in the final two seasons of the Southwest Conference. Smith needs 32 conference wins to match his college coach — Mickey Sullivan — for the most conference victories in Baylor history.

Earlier this season, Smith joined Sullivan as the only coaches in Baylor athletics history to amass at least 500 career victories. Win No. 500 came was Baylor’s 16-11 victory over MSU in the second game of a doubleheader. It was a fitting locale for Smith, who spent five seasons as an assistant coach at Mississippi State before returning to his alma mater as head coach in 1995.

STREAKS AND TIDBITS

LF Ben Booker is 3-for-21 (.143) since capping a nine-game hitting streak with a three-hit, five-RBI performance March 9 at Mississippi State . He has, however, walked six times during that span for a .333 on base percentage. … 1B/DH Dustin Dickerson is riding a career-long 10-game hitting streak. It is the longest by a Bear this season. Dickerson is hitting .350 (14-for-40) during that stretch with two doubles, a triple, a home run, five runs scored and 10 RBI. … Dickerson has reached safely in 15 consecutive games after failing to reach safely in the season opener. He ended the 2007 season on a 28-game on-base streak. … C Gregg Glime has hit safely in five consecutive games, a career-long streak. He is hitting .375 (6-for-16) during the streak with three runs scored. … 3B Shaver Hansen has hit safely in 11 of the last 12 games, providing two sacrifice hits in the one game he went hitless. Hansen is hitting .422 (19-for-45) in that 12-game stretch. … 1B/DH Adam Hornung is hitting .429 (15-for-35) over the last nine games, hitting safely in eight of those contests. … RHP Willie Kempf has walked either three or four batters in all four starts this season. Interestingly, he also has struck out either three or four in all four starts. … RF Aaron Miller was hitless in the first two games of the Oklahoma State series. It marked the first time in his 56-game college career that Miller was held hitless in consecutive games. … Dating back to last season, RHP Kendal Volz has recorded at least 10 strikeouts in four of his last seven starts. … 2B Landis Ware has not been held hitless in consecutive games this season; he opened his career with a six-game hitting streak. … Ware has hit safely in 13 of 17 games this season with nine multiple-hit games. He has hit safely in four of the last five games, all two-hit outings.

TOLLESON NAMED BIG 12 PITCHER OF THE WEEK

RHP Shawn Tolleson was named Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Week, the league office announced Monday. Tolleson was so honored after tossing a complete-game, two-hit shutout in Baylor’s 3-0 victory over then-No. 23 Oklahoma State last Saturday night at Baylor Ballpark. Nebraska first baseman Craig Corriston was named Big 12 Player of the Week.

This is the first time Tolleson, a redshirt freshman from Fairview , Texas , has been so honored. He is the 13th Baylor pitcher to earn the weekly honor in the league’s 12-year history, joining Kris Lambert, Jason Jennings (four times), Chad Hawkins, Kyle Evans (twice), Steven White (twice), Jared Theodorakos, Cory VanAllen (three times), Mark McCormick (four times), Abe Woody, Ryan LaMotta, Wade Mackey and Kendal Volz. Baylor has produced at least one Big 12 Pitcher of the Week each season in the league’s existence save 2003.

Tolleson tossed the complete-game shutout in only the fourth start of his career. In fact, only VanAllen, who was honored after his first career start, earned Big 12 Pitcher of the Week honors earlier in his career. Tolleson is the second Baylor pitcher in four weeks this season to be named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week, joining Volz who won the season’s first honor.

It was Baylor’s first shutout since Mackey’s two-hit gem in a 3-0 victory at then-No. 23 TCU last season. Tolleson’s was the Bears’ first in a Big 12 game since April 7, 2006, when LaMotta tossed a three-hit shutout in Baylor’s 14-0 victory over Oklahoma State .

A product of Allen High School , Tolleson held the final 22 batters of the game hitless, allowing a two-out single in the second and a one-out bunt single in the third. He retired 13 of the game’s final 14 batters, allowing only a leadoff walk in the ninth. Tolleson used only 108 pitches and exceeded 16 pitches in an inning only once — a 21-pitch second. He also tallied six strikeouts, a career high.

COLLEGE BASEBALL FOUNDATION HONORS TOLLESON

RHP Shawn Tolleson was named to this week’s National All-Star Lineup, selected by the College Baseball Foundation. Tolleson is the second Bear to earn National All-Star Lineup honors this season; head coach Steve Smith was honored last week after earning career win No. 500.

CARDIAC KIDS

Baylor is 7-2 this season in one-run games after going 4-5 in such contests last season. The Bears already are one one-run win shy of matching their season total from 2006 (8-7). Baylor’s 2005 College World Series squad was 15-8 in one-run games; the previous year, the Bears led the nation in one-run games (23) and one-run losses (16).

WEEKEND WARRIORS

Baylor is 11-1 this season in weekend games, sweeping series against Purdue and Mississippi State, winning all three games at the QTI Baylor Classic (Illinois, Illinois-Chicago and Stephen F. Austin), and winning two of three last weekend against Oklahoma State. In fact, dating back to last season, the Bears have won 14 of 15 regular-season weekend games. Baylor swept Kansas State in the final Big 12 series last year.

VOLZ LOOKS TO BUILD ON FRESHMAN SUCCESS

RHP Kendal Volz became the ninth freshman in Baylor history to record at least six victories last season. Furthermore, he is only the third to accomplish the feat during head coach Steve Smith’s tenure. Here is a look at how the nine pitchers fared as sophomores and in their careers:

PLAYER YEARS FRESHMAN SOPHOMORE CAREER

Ricky Fox 1971-1974 6-4 3-5 19-17

Mike Roberts 1976-1979 6-2 3-1 20-6

Andy Beene 1976-1979 8-1 0-0 15-5

Ted Richardson 1985-1988 7-0 9-6 21-8

Bruce Aguilar 1986-1989 6-3 2-1 21-13

Aaron Lineweaver 1993-1995 9-5 4-6 16-18

Ryan LaMotta 2003-2006 7-3 2-5 21-16

Abe Woody 2003-2005 6-0 5-1 21-4

Kendal Volz 2007-present 6-2 3-0 9-2

BEARS DROPS TO No. 14 IN BASEBALL AMERICA TOP 25

Baylor dropped four spots in this week’s Baseball America Top 25, released Monday by the publication. The Bears were one of four of last week’s top 10 teams to drop at least one spot in this week’s ranking. Baylor was 3-3 last week, winning at Mississippi State, dropping two games at Oral Roberts, and winning two of three at home against then-No. 23 Oklahoma State.

In other rankings, the Bears are No. 13 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ Poll, No. 15 in the Collegiate Baseball Top 30 and No. 16 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Top 30.

BAYLOR IS EXTRA SPECIAL

Baylor is 15-4 in extra-inning games since the start of the 2003 season, including a 1-0 mark in such games this season. Baylor was 2-1 in extra-inning games last season, 0-1 in 2006, 6-1 in 2005, 1-0 in 2004 and 5-1 in 2003.

Five of the 15 wins over the past six seasons have come on an opponent’s home field ( Arizona twice, Arizona State , Texas and Vanderbilt). Three of the 15 wins were either neutral-site games or games at Baylor Ballpark in which the Bears were the visitor. Four of the 15 wins have come in postseason play (two at the Big 12 Tournament, one in the NCAA Regional round and one at the College World Series).

Baylor’s luck was not as good in 2002 when the Bears were 1-5 in extra-inning games, including a span of three consecutive games lost in extra innings during mid-May.

FIVE BAYLOR GAMES SLATED FOR TELEVISION

Five Baylor games are scheduled for television broadcast this season, including two home games. The Bears will be on CSTV twice: April 1 at TCU (7 p.m. CT) and April 22 vs. Texas (7 p.m.). Two games will be aired on Fox College Sports: April 26 vs. Nebraska (6:30 p.m.), May 4 at Texas (1 p.m.). The Bears’ May 3 game at Texas will be televised on FSN (2:30 p.m.).

Since 1988, Baylor has played on television 57 times, including a program-best 12 games in 2005. Over the past 20 years, the Bears are 28-29 in televised games.

BAYLOR AMONG NATIONAL APR LEADERS

Baylor received a public recognition award from the NCAA Division I Academic Performance Program in 2007 for having an Academic Progress Rate (APR) score that ranks among the top 10 percent within their sport. The Bears’ most-recent APR score was 983 with an adjusted squad size mark of 992. Baylor was one of 30 Division I programs honored by the NCAA. Head coach Steve Smith’s squad was the only of Baylor’s 19 varsity teams so honored.

CASSAVECHIA AMONG NATIONAL CAREER SAVES LEADERS

RHP Nick Cassavechia entered the 2008 season with 19 career saves, a total that was tied for second in Baylor history and led all active Big 12 Conference pitchers. Furthermore, Cassavechia ranked sixth nationally in career saves among active players behind only Kelly Heyne (24, Ball State ), Joshua Fields (23, Georgia ), Joseph Edesn (22, Samford), Daniel Kennedy (21, Georgetown ) and Chris Manning (21, Belmont ).

Cassavechia’s career total is even more impressive considering he has been Baylor’s closer for not even two full seasons. He moved into the closer role during the first week of April in 2006 and has amassed all his saves since that point. He tallied 11 saves as a junior in 2007, tying for fourth in the Big 12 and 23rd nationally. It also tied for the third-best season total in Baylor history. Cassavechia, who had eight saves as a sophomore in 2006, joins Zane Carlson (2000, 2001) as the only Baylor pitchers to record at least eight saves in consecutive seasons.

BAYLOR BALLPARK CELEBRATES MILESTONE GAME

Baylor’s 2008 season opener was the Bears’ 300th game at Baylor Ballpark. The Bears are 225-83 (.731) at home since the stadium opened in 1999. Baylor Ballpark, which celebrates its 10th season in 2008, has drawn over 800,000 fans in its existence. Baylor is one of only eight Division I schools to average at least 2,700 fans per game each season since 2000. The facility was voted the nation’s third-best college baseball stadium in a 2003 Baseball America survey.

While the season opener was the Bears’ 300th game at Baylor Ballpark, the facility already had celebrated its 300th college game. Including the 1999, 2000 and 2005 NCAA Regionals and the 2006 and 2007 Quala-T Imprints Baylor Classics, a total of 16 Division I games that did not involve the Bears have been played at Baylor Ballpark.

TRIPLE YOUR PLEASURE

Baylor batters tallied 58 triples over the past two seasons. Only Arizona (62) and Charlotte (59) hit more three-baggers in that time. The Bears tied for seventh nationally last season with 26 triples. In 2006, the Bears tied for second nationally with 32 triples.

Furthermore, Baylor joins Arizona and Texas as the nation’s only programs to collect at least 20 triples in each of the past six seasons.

Baylor’s Jon Topolski led the nation with 11 triples in 1998. Seth Fortenberry tied for third nationally with 10 triples in 2006, and Ben Booker tied for 15th nationally last season with seven. Michael Griffin was 25th nationally with 0.12 triples per game in 2003, one year after Mike Huggins was 25th nationally with 0.11 triples per contest.

BIG 12 COACHES PICK BAYLOR THIRD

Baylor was picked third in the 2008 Big 12 Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The Bears garnered one first-place vote and 65 total points, six behind second-place Missouri and five ahead of fourth-place Texas A&M.

This is Baylor’s highest preseason pick by the league’s coaches since 2004 when the Bears were tabbed second. The Bears have been picked fourth in the preseason poll each of the past three seasons.

Texas was the coaches’ preseason favorite, picking up eight first-place votes and 80 total points; Missouri earned the final first-place vote. Oklahoma State was picked fifth, while Nebraska was slotted sixth. Kansas State and Oklahoma tied for the seventh-place spot; Kansas and Texas Tech rounded out the poll.

In the 11-year history of the Big 12, only five schools have claimed regular-season titles: Baylor (2000, 2005); Nebraska (2001, 2003, 2005); Texas (2002, 2004, 2006, 2007); Texas A&M (1998, 1999) and Texas Tech (1997).

FIVE BEARS EARN PRESEASON HONORS

Five Baylor players garnered preseason accolades from various publications and outlets this year, including two preseason All-America honors.

RHP Nick Cassavechia was a preseason All-America pick by Ping ! Baseball (first team) and by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (third team). Cassavechia also was named to the preseason watch lists for the Wallace Award, the Clemens Award and the NCBWA National Stopper of the Year.

SS Beamer Weems was a second-team preseason All-America selection by Rivals.com and by Ping ! Baseball. He was one of four players honored by Baseball America as “Best Defensive Players,” and Weems also was listed as the nation’s third-best shortstop by CSTV.com. Baseball America also named Weems preseason All-Big 12 and listed him as the league’s best defensive shortstop. In addition, Weems was named to preseason watch lists for the Golden Spikes Award and the Wallace Award.

RHP Shawn Tolleson was ranked second nationally on the Rivals.com 2008 Impact Freshmen List. He sat out the 2007 season as a medical redshirt.

2B Raynor Campbell was named preseason All-Big 12 by Baseball America . The publication also listed him as the league’s best defensive third baseman in a survey of the league’s coaches (conducted last fall).

RHP Kendal Volz was named the third-best pro prospect in the Big 12 Conference for the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft.

SIX BEARS ON BASEBALL AMERICA ’S PRESEASON DRAFT LISTS

Baseball America , with assistance from Major League Baseball scouting directors, has compiled a list of the top 50 draft prospects in each class. Six Baylor players are on those lists, including five players from the Bears’ heralded 2006 signing class.

RHP Shawn Tolleson was rated as the 15th-best prospect among freshmen; Tolleson, who missed the 2007 season with a medical redshirt, will be draft eligible in 2009 after his sophomore seasons.

Four Bears appearend on the sophomore list: RF Aaron Miller (11th), RHP Kendal Volz (14th), 1B Dustin Dickerson (32nd) and 2B Raynor Campbell (50th). Of that group, only Campbell is draft eligible this season as he turns 21 within 45 days of the draft. Miller was an 11th-round draft pick of the Colorado Rockies in 2006. Dickerson (15th round, Washington Nationals) and Volz (50th round, Arizona Diamondbacks) also were drafted that year.

RHP Randall Linebaugh was rated as the 14th-best prospect among seniors. Linebaugh, one of only two three-year lettermen on Baylor’s 2008 roster, has never been drafted.

BEARS ON SHORT LIST FOR RECENT NCAA SUCCESS

Baylor is one of 15 NCAA Division I programs and one of only two from the Big 12 Conference with at least nine NCAA Tournament appearances in the past 10 years. The Bears have made nine tournament appearances in that time (missing only the 2004 event) with three Super Regional appearances and one College World Series appearance.

Others on the elite list are: Arizona State (9), Cal State Fullerton (10), Clemson (10), Florida State (10), Miami , Fla. (10), Mississippi State (9), North Carolina (9), Oral Roberts (10), Rice (10), South Carolina (9), Stanford (9), Texas (9), Tulane (9) and Wichita State (9). Of that list, only Tulane did not participate in the 2007 NCAA Tournament.

MIDWEEK PREVIEW

Baylor plays a pair of midweek home games next week, hosting Houston Baptist at 6:30 p.m. CDT Tuesday, March 25, and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 26. These are Baylor’s only home games in a nine-game stretch.

The Bears have played Houston Baptist only once before; that was a 10-6 Houston Baptist victory April 12, 1994, in Waco .

Baylor is 4-0 all-time against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The Bears defeated the Islanders 7-1 at home April 26, 2000. Baylor swept the Islanders in a three-game series at home the following season.