The Big 12 enters its 4th weekend of conference play with only 3 teams sitting above .500 in conference play. #13 Texas A&M is sitting atop the conference at 6-3, while #10 Oklahoma, 4-2, and #11 Baylor, 5-4, round out the top 3. #15 Oklahoma State and Kansas are both 3-3 in conference play, while #9 Texas, Missouri, Nebraska and Texas Tech all share 4-5 marks. Kansas State, at 2-4, rounds out the conference standings. This weekend’s key match up takes place in Stillwater, Oklahoma, where #9 Texas will take on #15 Oklahoma State. The Cowboys have used strong offense to win games, while the Longhorns have attained their ranking with the help of a superior pitching staff.
#9 TEXAS LONGHORNS (18-7, 4-5) @ #15 OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS (20-8, 3-3)
Allie P. Reynolds Stadium has always been a historically unfriendly place for Texas to play, and this weekend shouldn’t be any different. The biggest opponent for Texas will be keeping up with Oklahoma State’s offensive prowess. Oklahoma State has average nearly 9 runs a game so far, while Texas has only plated 4.6 runs per contest. Texas will need to bring their bats with them to win the series. If Oklahoma State can keep the Texas bats quiet, they will end the weekend with a series victory.
Friday 6:30 PM: Chance Ruffin, So. (R) (4-2, 2.68) vs. Andrew Oliver, Jr. (L) (4-2, 5.59)
Saturday 2:00 PM: Brandon Workman, So. (R) (3-2, 2.15) vs. Tyler Lyons, Jr. (L) (4-2, 3.60)
Sunday 1:00 PM: Cole Green, So. (R) (2-0, 2.31) vs. Tyler Blandford, Jr. (R) (5-0, 3.83)
PREDICTION: Oklahoma State 2-1
#13 TEXAS A&M AGGIES (19-7, 6-3) @ TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (12-18, 4-5)
Texas A&M swept Kansas last weekend, while Texas Tech scored a major victory in taking 1 game out of 3 in Austin. This weekend, Tech may not fare as well. Texas A&M brings a strong pitching staff coupled with an offense that has a penchant for re-taking lost leads. Brian Cloud will start his 1st game of the year for the Raiders on Friday, after 11 relief appearances to begin the year. Brooks Raley continues to be a dominant force on the mound and at the plate for A&M while Barret Loux and Alex Wilson throw better than their records indicate. A.J. Ramos is back at 100% from last season’s surgery, and remains the best starter in the Tech platoon. Expect either Miles Morgan to take the mound Sunday for Texas Tech if Chad Bettis pitches more than 3 innings of relief on Friday or Saturday.
Friday 6:30 PM: Brooks Raley, So. (L) (5-0, 1.80) vs. Brian Cloud, Sr. (R) (2-2, 4.42)
Saturday 5:00 PM: Alex Wilson, Jr. (R) (2-3, 3.41) vs. A.J. Ramos, Sr. (R) (3-1, 2.83)
Sunday 1:00 PM: Barret Loux, So. (R) (1-0, 4.83) vs. TBA
PREDICTION: Texas A&M 3-0
#9 BAYLOR BEARS (18-7, 5-4) @ KANSAS JAYHAWKS (17-10, 3-3)
Baylor travels to Lawrence, Kansas a week after taking 2 games from Kansas State in Waco, Texas. Kansas returns home after suffering a sweep at the hands of Texas A&M. The Bears and Jayhawks both sport 3 strong weekend starters, highlighted by Big 12 Freshman of the Year candidate Logan Verrett for Baylor. Kansas struggled last weekend on the road, but returns to Lawrence where the swept Texas in their first Big 12 series. Unfortunately for Kansas, Baylor won’t fall victim to a trio of 1-run games like the Longhorns did. The hard-hitting Baylor trio of Dustin Dickerson, Aaron Miller and Shaver Hansen should push the Bears to victory and a series sweep.
Friday 6:00 PM: Kendal Volz, Jr. (R) (2-2, 3.00) vs. Schaeffer Hall, Jr. (L) (2-2, 2.27)
Saturday 2:00 PM: Logan Verrett, Fr. (R) (7-0, 2.25) vs. T.J. Walz, So. (R) (2-0, 3.90)
Sunday 1:00 PM: Willie Kempf, Jr. (R) (2-1, 3.86) vs. Lee Ridenhour, Fr. (R) (3-2, 2.79)
PREDICTION: Baylor 3-0
#10 OKLAHOMA SOONERS (23-6, 4-2) @ MISSOURI TIGERS (14-14, 4-5)
If there is one thing that has plagued the Tigers this year, it is consistency. Ace pitcher Kyle Gibson was hit hard in his 2 innings of work against Oklahoma State last weekend, surrendering 7 runs before getting the hook from head coach Tim Jameson. A repeat performance by Gibson would spell disaster against Oklahoma, who boasts a .350 team batting average. Missouri’s only success last weekend on the mound came in a 1-0 victory that featured 9 pitchers in 9 innings. Oklahoma’s offense has yet to be quieted for very long this season, which is why they are ranked in the top 10 nationwide with 23 wins.
Friday 6:30 PM: Andrew Doyle, Jr. (R) (3-2, 4.97) vs. Kyle Gibson, Jr. (R) (4-2, 2.63)
Saturday 2:00 PM: J.R. Robinson, Jr. (L) (3-1, 6.44) vs. Ian Berger, Sr. (R) (2-2, 5.79)
Sunday 1:00 PM: Antwonie Hubbard, So. (R) (1-0, 3.00) vs. Nick Tepesch, So. (R) (1-2, 5.54)
PREDICTION: Oklahoma 3-0
KANSAS STATE WILDCATS (21-8, 2-4) @ NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS (16-11, 4-5)
Impending weather in Lincoln has caused both teams to move their series up a day and fit a double header into Friday. That shouldn’t matter in the results, however. Kansas State has the obvious edge, especially when A.J. Morris steps onto the mound. Morris leads the Big 12 in both wins (tied with Baylor’s Logan Verrett at 7) and ERA (.039), and is having one of the best seasons in Big 12 history. Nebraska, like Missouri, has suffered from a lack of consistency, and moved top pitcher Mike Nesseth to the bullpen in hopes of holding any lead that Nebraska might get after 5 or 6 innings. When the dust settles or the rains fall, Kansas State should head back to Manhattan with their first conference series victory of the season.
Friday G1 2:05 PM: A.J. Morris, Jr. (R) (7-0, 0.39) vs. Sean Yost, Fr. (R) (1-2, 8.05)
Friday G2 6:05 PM*: Lance Hoge, Sr. (L) (3-2, 4.00) vs. Jordan Roualdes, So. (L) (4-1, 4.54)
Saturday 2:05 PM: TBA vs. Casey Hauptman, Jr. (R) (2-1, 5.58)
*or 30 minutes after Game 1, no earlier than 6:05 PM
PREDICTION: Kansas State 2-1