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Big 12 Weekend Preview (3/18-3/20)

It is finally opening weekend for the Big 12 Conference. Eight of the league’s ten teams are participating in conference series, with Missouri and Nebraska playing series against non-conference foes.

The conference matchup of the weekend is between #3 Oklahoma and #12 Texas A&M in Norman. Oklahoma was the winner of 16 straight games before hitting a three-game skid against Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Arizona. The Aggies lead the league in pitching, but have struggled at times with the bat.

Kansas State has had a solid season, led by LHP Kyle Hunter and OF Nick Martini. The Wildcats have had strong showings against equally strong teams, but also struggled against weaker teams. The Longhorns are almost guaranteed a win on Friday with Taylor Jungmann on the mound, but the rest of the games are a toss-up unless Texas can get Corey Knebel on the mound with a late lead.

Texas Tech will have to start a pair of freshman on the mound after an injury to Friday starter Daniel Coulombe. Getting the nod are David Paiz and Trey Masek, both on the CBD Big 12 Impact Freshmen list. Baylor is riding a seven game winning streak, including wins over Texas State and Rice. The Bears have National Player of the Week honoree Logan Verrett starting on Friday, and will rely on Brooks Pinckard to lead off and close games.

Oklahoma State will face off in Lawrence against Kansas. The Jayhawks are sitting at the bottom of the Big 12, but are better than their record indicates. The Cowboys, like Baylor, have won their last seven, and are looking to jump into the Big 12 lead with a good series this weekend.

Nebraska and Missouri are both squaring off against non-conference opponents this week. The Cornhuskers should be anxious to get their final conference season started before moving to the Big 12. Missouri should use Central Michigan as a good training series before diving head first into a tough conference schedule.

#3 Oklahoma (16-3) vs. #12 Texas A&M (13-4)

Probable Starters:
Friday March 18:
Texas A&M: RHP John Stilson (1-0, 1.30)
Oklahoma: RHP Michael Rocha (4-0, 1.20)

Saturday March 19:
Texas A&M: RHP Michael Wacha (2-1, 0.67)
Oklahoma: LHP Dillon Overton (3-0, 1.04)

Sunday March 20:
Texas A&M: RHP Ross Stripling (3-1, 0.41)
Oklahoma: RHP Burch Smith (2-1, 3.52)

Prediction: Oklahoma 2-1

#10 Texas (12-5) vs. Kansas State (12-4)

Probable Starters:
Friday March 18:
Kansas State: LHP Kyle Hunter (2-0, 1.52)
Texas: RHP Taylor Jungmann (4-0, 0.78)

Saturday March 19:
Kansas State: RHP Matt Applegate (3-1, 2.70)
Texas: LHP Hoby Milner (2-0, 1.96)

Sunday March 20:
Kansas State: TBA
Texas: RHP Cole Green (1-2, 3.42)

Prediction: Texas 2-1

#29 Baylor (12-5) vs. Texas Tech (12-6)

Probable Starters:
Friday March 18:
Texas Tech: RHP David Paiz (3-0, 5.25)
Baylor: RHP Logan Verrett (3-1, 2.55)

Saturday March 19:
Texas Tech: RHP Trey Masek (1-1, 2.37)
Baylor: LHP Josh Turley (1-1, 4.22)

Sunday March 20:
Texas Tech: LHP Robbie Kilcrease (2-0, 4.56)
Baylor: RHP Trent Blank (1-1, 6.42)

Prediction: Baylor: 2-1

Kansas (7-9) vs. Oklahoma State (12-3)

Probable Starters:
Friday March 18:
Oklahoma State: RHP Brad Propst (2-1, 1.82)
Kansas: RHP T.J. Walz (2-2, 5-18)

Saturday March 19:
Oklahoma State: LHP Andrew Heaney (3-0, 0.91)
Kansas: RHP Tanner Poppe (0-2, 2.11)

Sunday March 20:
Oklahoma State: LHP Mark Strong (2-0, 0.66)
Kansas: RHP Alex Cox (0-1, 4.32)

Prediction: Oklahoma State 3-0

Nebraska (10-7) vs. North Dakota (1-10)

Missouri (7-9) vs. Central Michigan (8-9)