Week 5 of the Big 12 Conference Season is upon us, and no team has yet to separate itself above and beyond the rest of the conference. As of today, only 4 of the 10 teams have winning conference records, with 2 more teams sitting on .500. Oklahoma has climbed to the top for now, but faces a Texas Tech team that has already picked up wins in Waco and Austin. Oklahoma State must travel to Lawrence, Kansas, where the Jayhawks have already swept the Texas Longhorns this season. Missouri, a team that has produced well below its expectations, must venture into Baylor Ballpark to take on the Baylor Bears in Waco, Texas. With both Thursday-Saturday series postponed due to weather, Friday should provide enough baseball to satisfy all the Big 12 fans.
#17 OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS (21-11, 4-5) @ KANSAS JAYHAWKS (20-12, 4-5)
Oklahoma State has fallen under .500 in conference play after 9 games, thanks in part to dropping a home series to the Texas Longhorns last weekend. The Cowboys could not inflict enough damage against the Texas pitching staff, while their own pitching staff could not stymie the oft-stymied Longhorns’ offense. Kansas held their own against Baylor in the first 2 games, before allowing a load of runs to the Bears in a 21-9 loss Sunday. With a much improved pitching staff, Kansas has kept their foot in the Big 12 circle this year, but Oklahoma State may prove to be too much for the Jayhawks to handle this weekend.
Friday 6:00 PM: Andrew Oliver, Jr. (L) (4-3, 5.91) vs. Shaeffer Hall, Jr. (L) (2-2, 2.82)
Saturday 2:00 PM: Tyler Lyons, Jr. (L) (4-3, 3.89) vs. T.J. Walz, So. (R) (2-0, 3.00)
Sunday 1:00 PM: Tyler Blandford, Jr. (R) (6-0, 3.42) vs. Lee Ridenhour, Fr. (R) (3-2, 3.55)
PREDICTION: Oklahoma State 2-1
TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (15-20, 6-6) @ #11 OKLAHOMA SOONERS (26-7, 6-3)
Texas Tech’s 6-6 conference record proves that the Red Raiders do have the talent to compete, despite their 15-20 record. Oklahoma’s 6-3 record, on the other hand, shows that they are not a team to be overlooked. The Sooners have made a living with their bats in 2009, but have still benefited from stellar pitching from their experienced staff. Saturday will mark the return to the rotation for the Sooners’ Stephen Porlier. Porlier, a Jr., missed all of 2008 with an injury after turning in a 2007 season that won him a spot on the All-Big 12 2nd Team. The Red Raiders have given a shake up to their rotation, placing former reliever, Brian Cloud, into the starting slot. Once again, Texas Tech will turn to Chad Bettis if they have a lead after 5 or 6 innings. Even with Oklahoma’s amazing offense, Texas Tech has shown that they can sneak a win with Bettis in the bullpen.
Friday 6:30 PM: Brian Cloud, Sr. (R) (2-2, 3.91) vs. Andrew Doyle, Jr. (R) (4-2, 4.30)
Saturday 4:00 PM: A.J. Ramos, Sr. (R) (3-2, 4.96) vs. Stephen Porlier, Jr. (R) (0-0, 0.00)
Sunday 1:00 PM: Miles Morgan, Sr. (R) (2-4, 6.25) vs. TBA
PREDICTION: Oklahoma 2-1
MISSOURI TIGERS (16-17, 5-7) @ #13 BAYLOR BEARS (21-9, 7-5)
Last year, Missouri was enjoying their dominant pitching staff led by 1st round draft pick Aaron Crow, and current starters Kyle Gibson and Ian Berger. This year, they’re looking back at last year. Even with their struggles, Missouri has pulled enough wins out of their hats to be in contention for the conference tournament. Baylor has been strong all season long, thanks to Fr. RHP Logan Verrett, their leader in wins. Verrett has enjoyed a nice rookie season, and could find himself with many post season accolades this summer. The Bears continue to follow the lead of Aaron Miller, Dustin Dickerson and Shaver Hanson. Hanson’s big weekend against Kansas propelled him to the Big 12 lead in home runs with 11, while Miller has been a threat at the plate and on the mound. If Missouri shows up in their early season form, Baylor will enter next week at the top of the Big 12 standings.
Friday 6:30 PM: Kyle Gibson, Jr. (R) (4-3, 3.00) vs. Kendal Volz, Jr. (R) (2-2, 3.92)
Saturday 6:30 PM: Ian Berger, Sr. (R) (2-3, 6.17) vs. Logan Verrett, Fr. (R) (7-1, 3.13)
Sunday 1:30 PM: Nick Tepesch, So. (L) (2-2, 5.48) vs. TBA
PREDICTION: Baylor 3-0