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Big 12 Weekend Preview (5/6-5/8)

With only a few weeks left until the postseason starts, the Big 12 features three conference series, two out-of-conference series, and a pair of teams taking the weekend off.

Texas travels north to take on Nebraska for the final time as conference opponents. The Longhorns took a pair from the Sooners last weekend, giving them an important boost in the standings, and setting up a possible winner-take-all showdown against Texas A&M to close out the regular season. Taylor Jungmann is one of the best overall players in the nation, and Cole Green has steadied after a rough start. The Longhorns are still looking for a third starter to pick up the slack. The player to watch is SS Brandon Loy. Loy has always had an excellent glove and arm, and has found his stroke this season.

Nebraska will feature a pair of freshmen in the rotation, with Logan Ehlers and Jon Keller looking like an elite pair for the future in the Big 10. 3B Cody Asche is making a strong push to be the top corner-tender in the league, catching up to a slumping Garrett Buechele.

After losing the series to Texas, Oklahoma hosts Kansas, a team coming off a sweep at the hands of Texas Tech. Oklahoma struggled with the bat against Jungmann, and couldn’t hold the lead in the second game, but put together their bats and arms to take the Sunday contest from the Longhorns. As mentioned above, Garrett Buechele has struggled lately, failing to pick up a hit in 15 straight at-bats before a single late in game three broke his streak. Kansas is a complete wildcard. One weekend they take a series at Oklahoma State, then go to Lubbock and fail to win a single game. The Jayhawks benefit from a strong closer, Colton Murray, but have trouble keeping a lead long enough to make Murray as effective as he can be.

Kansas State is in the hunt for an NCAA bid, and should hope they get the sweep against Missouri. Kyle Hunter and Matt Applegate have been strong starters, and Shane Conlon has come on strong late in the season to give the Wildcats a good weekend rotation. Missouri had a huge weekend, taking a pair of games from Texas A&M before losing a rain-shortened third game, 3-2. The Tigers took advantage of Aggie errors on Friday, and flat out dominated Saturday.

Texas A&M started a weekend series against Dallas Baptist last night. The Aggies will benefit from a sweep of the Patriots, and need all the help they can get to stay in the hunt for a regional hosting bid.

Oklahoma State has a key RPI series against 9th ranked TCU. The Horned Frogs will most likely be without the services of Matt Purke, which is an advantage for the Cowboys. 1B Zach Johnson hit for the cycle last weekend against Kansas State, and is one of the top players in the conference.

Texas Tech and Baylor have the weekend off before returning to action on Tuesday.

Nebraska (27-18, 6-11) vs. #5 Texas (34-11, 15-6)

Probable Starters
Friday May 6
Texas: RHP Taylor Jungmann (10-0, 0.90 ERA)
Nebraska: LHP Logan Ehlers (1-2, 3.86 ERA)

Saturday May 7
Texas: RHP Cole Green (4-3, 3.03 ERA)
Nebraska: RHP Jon Keller (2-4, 2.77 ERA)

Sunday May 8
Texas: TBA
Nebraska: RHP Tyler Niederklein (6-2, 3.86 ERA)

Prediction: Texas 2-1

#10 Oklahoma (32-13, 10-9) vs. Kansas (22-24, 9-12)

Probable Starters
Friday May 6
Kansas: RHP T.J. Walz (5-4, 3.47 ERA)
Oklahoma: RHP Michael Rocha (8-2, 1.51 ERA)

Saturday May 7
Kansas: RHP Tanner Poppe (2-4, 3.19 ERA)
Oklahoma RHP Burch Smith (7-3, 4.20 ERA)

Sunday May 8
Kansas: TBA
Oklahoma: RHP Bobby Shore (2-2, 4.18 ERA)

Prediction: Oklahoma 3-0

Kansas State (27-18, 8-12) vs. Missouri (19-26, 6-11)

Probable Starters
Friday May 6
Missouri: RHP Eric Anderson (0-0, 7.13 ERA)
Kansas State: LHP Kyle Hunter (4-4, 3.90 ERA)

Saturday May 7
Missouri: RHP Matt Stites (3-3, 3.36 ERA)
Kansas State: RHP Matt Applegate (4-3, 4.30 ERA)

Sunday May 8
Missouri: LHP Rob Zastryzny (2-4, 3.90 ERA)
Kansas State: LHP Shane Conlon (2-0, 2.37 ERA)

Prediction: Kansas State 2-1

#11 Texas A&M vs. Dallas Baptist

#22 Oklahoma State vs. #9 TCU

Texas Tech OFF

Baylor OFF