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Regional Buzz
2:15 P.M. FRIDAY, APRIL 30, 2010

DAVID KAYE

With this weekend's series against a Texas team that's ranked in the top spot in three of the four major polls, the Bears can take a major step toward getting off the proverbial tournament bubble. As evidenced by the following regional projections, Baylor still has some work to do to secure a spot in another NCAA regional.

Kendall Rogers of Yahoo! Sports NCAA Baseball released his latest regional projections on Thursday. Rogers has the Bears as a No. 3 seed in the Fayetteville, Arkansas regional. Baylor would be paired against second-seeded Stanford in the first round, with the victor to meet the winner of the game between No. 6 national seed Arkansas and fourth-seeded Oral Roberts.

Rogers also has Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Kansas State and Texas Agricultural & Mechanical in the tournament field. That would give the Big 12 six teams, which is certainly more than many people expected heading into the season. Rogers has Baylor listed first among the last five teams to make the field, and Kansas is listed as the eighth team on the wrong side of the bubble.

The College Baseball Blog also released its latest regional projections on Thursday. The CBB has the Bears as the No. 3 seed in the Oxford, Miss. Regional. Baylor would meet second-seeded California in the first game, with the winner to take on the winner of the game between regional host Ole Miss and fourth-seeded Mississippi Valley State.

The CBB agree with Rogers' projection of six Big 12 teams in the field. It has Texas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Texas Agricultural & Mechanical joinging Baylor in the postseason. The Aggies are listed first among the last five teams in, while Baylor is listed third in that category. Kansas is listed first among the first 10 teams out of the field, meaning The CBB thinks the Big 12 could get as many as seven bids.

College Baseball Insider released its first "Field of Dreamers" of the season. CBI doesn't go into as much detail, listing on which teams it expects to make the field. It projects the same six Big 12 teams to make the field, and says Kansas is capable of winning its way into the field. CBI says there are only two teams from the Big 12 that have locked up tournament bids - Texas and Oklahoma.

All of this brings us back to our original point - this weekend is an important one. Nothing that happens either way will determine if the Bears are in or out of the field, but it's an opportunity to open some eyes. This week is undoubtedly the toughest on the Bears' schedule, with five total games against a pair of teams who are both ranked in the top five in the nation in at least one poll.

To make things even more difficult, three of those games are on the road. Even though they lost after being just an out away from a win on Tuesday, the Bears got off to a nice start by splitting with TCU. If the Bears play as well against Texas as they did on Wednesday, that would go a long way toward securing a regional bid.

That's all for now, but don't forget to follow The Kaye Zone on Twitter.

Sic em. 


Regional Buzz
2:15 P.M. FRIDAY, APRIL 30, 2010

DAVID KAYE

With this weekend's series against a Texas team that's ranked in the top spot in three of the four major polls, the Bears can take a major step toward getting off the proverbial tournament bubble. As evidenced by the following regional projections, Baylor still has some work to do to secure a spot in another NCAA regional.

Kendall Rogers of Yahoo! Sports NCAA Baseball released his latest regional projections on Thursday. Rogers has the Bears as a No. 3 seed in the Fayetteville, Arkansas regional. Baylor would be paired against second-seeded Stanford in the first round, with the victor to meet the winner of the game between No. 6 national seed Arkansas and fourth-seeded Oral Roberts.

Rogers also has Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Kansas State and Texas Agricultural & Mechanical in the tournament field. That would give the Big 12 six teams, which is certainly more than many people expected heading into the season. Rogers has Baylor listed first among the last five teams to make the field, and Kansas is listed as the eighth team on the wrong side of the bubble.

The College Baseball Blog also released its latest regional projections on Thursday. The CBB has the Bears as the No. 3 seed in the Oxford, Miss. Regional. Baylor would meet second-seeded California in the first game, with the winner to take on the winner of the game between regional host Ole Miss and fourth-seeded Mississippi Valley State.

The CBB agree with Rogers' projection of six Big 12 teams in the field. It has Texas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Texas Agricultural & Mechanical joinging Baylor in the postseason. The Aggies are listed first among the last five teams in, while Baylor is listed third in that category. Kansas is listed first among the first 10 teams out of the field, meaning The CBB thinks the Big 12 could get as many as seven bids.

College Baseball Insider released its first "Field of Dreamers" of the season. CBI doesn't go into as much detail, listing on which teams it expects to make the field. It projects the same six Big 12 teams to make the field, and says Kansas is capable of winning its way into the field. CBI says there are only two teams from the Big 12 that have locked up tournament bids - Texas and Oklahoma.

All of this brings us back to our original point - this weekend is an important one. Nothing that happens either way will determine if the Bears are in or out of the field, but it's an opportunity to open some eyes. This week is undoubtedly the toughest on the Bears' schedule, with five total games against a pair of teams who are both ranked in the top five in the nation in at least one poll.

To make things even more difficult, three of those games are on the road. Even though they lost after being just an out away from a win on Tuesday, the Bears got off to a nice start by splitting with TCU. If the Bears play as well against Texas as they did on Wednesday, that would go a long way toward securing a regional bid.

That's all for now, but don't forget to follow The Kaye Zone on Twitter.

Sic em. 


Week 10 Rewind
1:45 P.M. TUESDAY, APRIL 27, 2010

DAVID KAYE

Baylor went 3-2 in week nine. While 4-1 would've been a great week, and 2-3 would've been a bad one, 3-2 was solid, especially considering that the Bears got a much-needed win in a Big 12 series.

Trent Blank, Jon Ringenberg and Shawn Tolleson tossed 3.0 innings each in a 9-5 win over Sam Houston State on Tuesday. That win showed there is plenty of depth on the Baylor pitching staff, but the loss at Texas State on Wednesday was tough to take.

With four position starters getting a night off, the Bears could not afford to fall behind by four runs in the first inning. If you're looking for a positive, look at Joey Hainsfurther's pitching line: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 K. Hainsfurther had only pitched one-third of an inning to that point in the seasno, but his outing against the Bobcats showed why he was considered a candidate for the role of closer at the start of the season.

While there wasn't much offense to be happy about, Cal Towey continued to make his case for a spot in the everyday lineup with a walk and a two-run homer. He doubled, tripled, drove in three runs and stole a base the night before. Those performances helped him earn starts as the designated hitter in all three weekend games.

Friday night's win over Nebraska was huge. Logan Verrett extended his string of consecutive outings with at least eight strikeouts to four, and the only real blemish on his line was one bad series of pitches in the third inning when he allowed a two-out double, hit a batter and then gave up a three-run homer to the conference's leader in that category.

Nebraska took advantage of an error to plate three unearned runs in the eighth, costing Verrett the win, but the Bears bounced back and got two in the eighth to get the win. Hainsfurther delivered the game-winning run with a sacrifice fly.

Saturday's game saw the Bears leave a season-high 13 runners on base, including nine in scoring position. Craig Fritsch pitched well enough to win, but the three runs he allowed in 5.0 innings were more than the Baylor offense would score the whole game. The 6-2 loss hurt simply because the Bears pitched well enough and had enough runners on base to win, but the timely hits just weren't there.

Sunday was crucial, and Tolleson came up huge, allowing just one run in 7.1 innings to help the Bears clinch the series win. While a sweep would've been nice, and certainly could've been accomplished with a few more timely hits on Saturday, taking two of three isn't bad. As much as Nebraska is struggling this season, the Cornhuskers haven't been swept yet. They even managed to win a game in their three-game series at Texas. In fact, this was the sixth consecutive series they've lost two games to one.

This next week is unquestionably the Bears' toughest on the 2010 schedule. Two midweek games against a TCU team that's ranked as high as No. 5 in the nation will be tough, but then the Bears have a three-game set with a Texas team that's ranked No. 1 in the nation in three of the four major polls.

As if that's not enough of a challenge, the Longhorns are on a 16-game winning streak and have swept their last four conference series. Texas has won 14 consecutive conference games, and will be looking to set a new Big 12 record for a conference winning streak this weekend (Texas Agricultural & Mechanical holds the record with a 16-game streak during the 2008 season).

The Bears enter the week at No. 58 in the latest Boyd's World RPI. With TCU at No. 14 and Texas at No. 4, Baylor has a great opportunity to move up the rankings with a few wins. It won't be easy, especially with three of the five games on the road, but if these Bears want to make a statement, this would be the week to do so.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Cal Towey, Freshman, Outfielder, Seattle, Wash. (Eastside Catholic)
Hit .467 (7-for-15) with a double, triple, home run, four runs and six RBI on the week ... Started in Tuesday's game for first time since March 3, and ended up starting all five games during the week ... Extended hitting streak to career-best seven games ... Twice gave Baylor the lead with an extra-base hit in Tuesday's win over Sam Houston State ... Doubled in a run in the third inning and drove in two runs with a triple in the fourth ... Also stole a base and scored twice in the game ... Hit two-run homer to provide two of Baylor's three runs in Wednesday's game at Texas State ... Singled twice in three at-bats and stole a base in series opener against Nebraska ... Cut Baylor deficit to one run with a two-out RBI single in sixth inning of Saturday's game ... Reached base in all three plate appearances in series finale; singled, walked twice and scored game-winning run.

PITCHER OF THE WEEK

Shawn Tolleson, Junior, RHP, Fairview, Texas (Allen HS)
Picked up first career save and first win since season's opening weekend while working 10.1 innings during the week ... In first relief appearance of season, struck out five batters while working final three innings of 9-5 win over Sam Houston State on Tuesday ... Came back to start Sunday's series finale against Nebraska and turned in longest outing since May 3, 2008 ... Picked up series-clinching win after allowing just one run on seven hits in 7.1 innings ... Struck out eight batters and issued just two walks on the week.

Here's what local print media outlets had to say throughout the weekend:

From the Waco Tribune-Herald:
Brice Cherry - Baylor Baseball's Bats Spring Back to Life, 9-5 (Wednesday)
Staff Report - Bears Tumble at Texas State, 9-3 (Thursday)
Brice Cherry - Baylor Pitcher Verrett Moved up to Friday Starter (Friday)
Brice Cherry - On Baylor Baseball's Military Appreciation Weekend, Bears Reflect on Tied to Armed Forces (Friday)
Brice Cherry - BU Baseball Steals Weekend Opener (Saturday)
Brice Cherry - Baylor Baseball Can't Capitalize on Hits Against Huskers, 6-2 (Sunday)
Brice Cherry - Tolleson's Return Clinches Series for Baylor Baseball, 4-1 (Monday)

From The Baylor Lariat:
Chris Derrett - Bears Collect 13th Consecutive Non-Conference Win (Wednesday)
Chris Derrett - Baseball Welcomes Nebraska for Pivotal Big 12 Series (Friday)
Chris Derrett - Bears Ascend Big 12 Standings with Series Victory (Tuesday)

That's all for now, but don't forget to follow The Kaye Zone on Twitter.

Sic em. 


Week Nine Rewind
11:05 A.M. TUESDAY, APRIL 20, 2010

DAVID KAYE

Let's all take a deep breath. Let's not forget that this year's Kansas State team is very good - there's a reason they're 9-3 in Big 12 play and 25-8 overall.

That said, last weekend was rough. Since the games were on their home field, Kansas State was probably the favorite to win the series. While winning one out of three wouldn't have felt great, it's part of college baseball. When two teams play a three-game series, they can't both win two out of three.

Losing all three hurt, if for no other reason than the pitching was good enough to win all three. Entering the weekend, the Bears were 15-2 when holding opponents to five runs or less. Kansas State scored five runs or less in all three games, but by holding the Baylor offense to two runs in all three games, they managed to sweep the series. Entering the weekend, Baylor and Kansas State were the top two hitting teams in the Big 12. Who would have thought neither team would score more than five runs in a game in the series?

Give credit to Kansas State - the Wildcats' pitching was excellent. However, the Bears have seen excellent pitching this season and still found ways to get offensive production. KSU held Baylor's offense to its three lowest hit totals of the season. The Bears had knocked at least six hits in every game entering the series, but managed just four, four and five in Manhattan.

The Baylor bats just went cold at the wrong time. Baseball can be a cruel game. Hitting is contagious, and when things start going against you, it can be hard to get it turned around. In the middle game, the Bears were down 1-0 in the sixth, and with a runner on second, Logan Vick hit a sharp liner up the middle.

Off the bat, it looked like he had tied the game and the Bears had finally put some pressure on the Kansas State pitcher. Instead, the ball glanced off the pitcher's glove and right to the shortstop, who had an easy play to catch it and tag second base for an inning-ending double play. That was a huge play in the series, and one that can be deflating for an offense that has struggled to get going. It's strange how that kind of thing never seems to happen when you're up 18-8.

After taking the last two games against Texas Agricultural & Mechanical and then winning both games against UT Arlington, the Bears were on fire heading to Kansas State. The Wildcats played extremely well, but just as quickly as they were cooled down, the Bears could get hot again. There's still plenty of reason to believe in this team.

First of all, the Bears are 14-2 in their last 16 games at Baylor Ballpark, and 10 of their last 17 games are at home. Second, even with the loss, Baylor went 2-3 last week. While that's not a good week, every team has a bad week once in a while. Remember when Texas lost two of three to New Mexico to open the season?

With the 2-3 record, the Bears dropped from 32 to 52 in the RPI, according to Boyd's World. The same Web site also says the Bears will need to go 10-7 to finish in the top 45, which is the theoretical line between earning an at-large regional berth and spending June at home. It also says the Bears could finish in the top 32 by going 12-5, which would likely earn them a No. 2 seed.

The Bears have plenty of opportunity to prove themselves, with eight of their 17 remaining games against teams currently in the top 32 of the RPI.

Before we get into notes from the last week, here's your Jeopardy answer for the day: 2005.

What is the only season this millenium in which the Bears did not lose all three games of a weekend series?

Correct. Baylor has been swept at least once in nine of the last 10 seasons entering this year. The Bears still earned regional bids in eight of those 10 seasons.

When you play more than 50 regular season games, every team will have ups and downs. The most important thing is trying to limit the downs. There have been two times this season when the Bears have been down: A five-game losing streak at the start of the year, and now the sweep at Kansas State.

Think about all of the ups: taking three of four games in the season's opening weekend, winning three of four against Oral Roberts, sweeping Illinois-Chicago, taking two of three at Missouri, winning the Battle of the Brazos, taking 12 straight non-conference games and going 14-2 in their last 16 games at Baylor Ballpark. Not bad for a team that many people said would be rebuilding.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Chris Slater, Junior, Outfielder, Plano, Texas (Plano East HS)
Hit .667 (6-for-9) with a triple, two runs and three RBI on the week ... Walked once and was hit by a pitch twice for a .750 on-base percentage ... Did not strike out in 13 plate appearances ... Had three hits in each of Baylor's midweek games against UT Arlington ... In Tuesday's game at UT Arlington, moved eventual game-winning run to third base with a sacrifice bunt in the 10th inning ... Run would score on a sacrifice fly ... Hit in second spot in lineup in Wednesday's game and went 3-for-3 with a run and three RBI ... Singled and stole second base in the first inning, as hit by a pitch twice in the third inning, hit bases-loaded triple in the fourth and reached on infield single in the seventh ... Made just three plate appearances over the weekend, but drew a walk to give the Bears their only baserunner in the first five innings in Saturday's game.

PITCHER OF THE WEEK

Craig Fritsch, Junior, RHP, Round Rock, Texas (Round Rock HS)
Fritsch didn't factor in any decisions on the week, but he easily could've gone 2-0. He turned in 4.2 innings of relief in Tuesday's win at UT Arlington, but the only reason he didn't get the win was because the game-tying run scored on an error in the seventh inning ... Struck out six without issuing a walk against the Mavericks ... In series opener at Kansas State, came on in relief with two runners on, one out, and the Bears already trailing 4-0 ... Quickly got groundball double play to get out of inning, and then held the Wildcats scoreless over the next 4.2 innings ... Worked a total of 5.1 innings and struck out six with one walk ... Outing extended streak of innings without allowing an earned run to 15.0 ... Has not allowed an earned run over last four appearances ... Struck out 12 and walked just one in 10.0 innings of relief during the week ... Allowed just five singles and a double, as opponents hit just .182 against him.

Here's what local print media outlets had to say throughout the weekend:

From the Waco Tribune-Herald:
Staff Report - Glime's Sac Fly in 10th Gives Baylor Baseball Win at UT Arlington (Wednesday)
Will Parchman - Bears Crank Up Bats for 18-8 Pasting of UTA (Thursday)
Brice Cherry - Improving Baylor Baseball Faces Potent Hitting Attack in K-State (Friday)
Staff Report - Baylor Baseball Falls in Early Hole, Loses, 5-2 (Saturday)
Staff Report - Baylor Bats Quiet in 5-2 Baseball Loss at Kansas State (Sunday)
Staff Report - Baylor's Bats Stay Quiet as Kansas State Completes Sweep (Monday)

From The Baylor Lariat:
Chris Derrett - Baylor Overwhelms UTA for Comeback Win, 18-8 (Thursday)

That's all for now, but don't forget to follow The Kaye Zone on Twitter.

Sic em. 


Week Eight Rewind
1:35 P.M. TUESDAY, APRIL 13, 2010

DAVID KAYE

We said last week that winning two of three at Missouri was big, but the eighth week of the season would be even bigger. All five games the Bears played during week eight were ranked in the top 40 of the RPI entering the week. Considering the Bears went 4-1, last week was a giant step in the direction of a regional berth.

Baylor entered week eight ranked No. 58 in the RPI. Winning two of three at Missouri only moved the Bears up six spots, but winning four of five from top-40 teams helped them jump all the way to No. 32. That's a 26-spot jump, which is almost unheard of this late in the season, especially for teams that were already ranked in the top 60.

The Bears' two midweek wins were against quality opponents. While Northwestern State and Texas State both play in the Southland Conference, they share another common bond - they've both defeated Texas Agricultural & Mechanical this season.

Texas State entered Tuesday's game with a 17-9 record, and the Bobcats hadn't lost a game by more than five runs all season. With a 12-3 victory, Baylor handed Texas State its most lopsided defeat since May 12, 2009.

Still challenged by a lack of available arms, the Bears went right back to work against a Northwestern State team that entered Wednesday's game at 19-8. Baylor knocked off the Demons 15-3, handing NSU its most lopsided defeat since April 26, 2009. That win also extended the Bears' winning streak in non-conference games to 10 straight.

Then came Texas Agricultural & Mechanical. Friday night's game in College Station was one to forget. A two-out error led to three unearned runs, and the Bears fell 4-3 at Olsen Field. Leaving the ballpark that night, you couldn't help but feel like the Bears had let one get away.

However, things like that tend to even out in baseball. Sure, the error kept the inning alive, but it didn't hit the next pitch over the wall in left-center field. The game was probably closer than it should've been, as the Aggies left 14 runners on base.

Additionally, the Bears gained a little bit of confidence by showing that A&M closer John Stilson is in fact human. In game two of the QTI Baylor Classic earlier this season, Stilson shut the Bears down with 4.0 innings of no-hit relief. In Friday night's loss, the Bears got to Stilson for a run on two hits in 2.2 innings, and even though they didn't pull out the win, it certainly helped the Bears' confidence.

Saturday's game was one that will be hard for any Baylor fan to forget. The Bears finally broke a scoreless tie with Landis Ware's RBI single in the fourth, and with the help of a pinch-hit RBI single from Josh Ludy and a three-run homer from Gregg Glime, the Bears extended their lead to 5-0.

That would be more than enough for Logan Verrett, who was named Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Week after turning in one of the best performances in the history of Baylor Ballpark. For more on that, check out the blog entry below this one.

With Verrett's pitching and some big-time hitting, the Bears were able to turn a game that was close in the middle innings into Baylor's most lopsided win in the 107-year history of the Battle of the Brazos. If it seems like we've said "most lopsided" a lot in this blog, it's because we have.

While it's nice to win a game without worrying in the ninth inning, it doesn't do much to help win the next game. The Bears still had to win on Sunday to take the series, and while 3-2 against teams in the top 40 would've still been a good week, it would've been hard to feel good about losing two to the Aggies.

Thankfully, the Baylor senior captains stepped up and made sure they didn't end their college careers without having taken a series win in the Battle of the Brazos. Willie Kempf didn't officially factor in the decision, but he deserved a win for keeping the Bears within striking distance by holding A&M to one run in 5.1 innings.

If Kempf doesn't keep it so close, there's a good chance A&M puts the series away with the two arms it threw on Sunday. Michael Wacha entered the game ranked third in the Big 12 Conference with a 1.54 ERA. Stilson entered the game ranked second at 1.12. Looking at those numbers alone, the Bears matched up with two of the three best pitchers in the league.

The Aggies got on the board first with a run in the sixth, but they had to feel like they missed an opportunity after grounding into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded. That missed opportunity proved costly, as the Bears got a two-out RBI single from Joey Hainsfurther to tie the game in the bottom half.

With Stilson back on the mound, Gregg Glime delivered the decisive blow with a two-out RBI double in the seventh. Glime said after the game that seeing Stilson on Friday definitely helped the Bears on Sunday.

Jon Ringenberg and Brooks Pinckard combined to keep A&M off the board over the last three innings, and the Aggies went home on Sunday feeling the same way the Bears did on Friday - like they let a game get away that they could've won. Like we said earlier, baseball has a way of evening these things out.

Take a look at what Baseball America's Aaron Fitt had to say about the Bears' upcoming series at Kansas State (He was prompted with a question about why Kansas State isn't getting any love at 23-6 and in second place in the Big 12) ...

It seems like every weekend gets bigger and bigger for the Bears. While cracking the rankings would be nice, it's certainly not on the list of priorities for this team. They're all about winning games, and if they happen to make the rankings along the way, that's just proof that other people are taking notice.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Joey Hainsfurther, Sophomore, Infielder, Dallas, Texas (Highland Park HS)
Hit .600 (12-for-20) with four walks, four runs and five RBI to lead Baylor to a 4-1 week ... Helped Bears win "Battle of the Brazos" series against Texas A&M for first time since 2006 ... Turned in multi-hit games in all five contests, extending his streak of games with multiple hits to six ... Struck out just once on the week ... Raised season batting average to .417 - good for third in the Big 12 Conference ... Went 2-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored in win over Texas State ... Singled twice, walked twice, scored a run and drove in two in win over Northwestern State ... Had two of Baylor's six hits and drove in a run in series-opening loss at Texas A&M ... Helped Bears rebound to win series by collecting three hits in each of the last two games ... Went 3-for-5 with a double, one run and one RBI in Saturday's win, and went 3-for-4 with one RBI in series finale ... After the Aggies had jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the sixth, his two-out RBI single tied the game, and the Bears went on to win 2-1.

PITCHER OF THE WEEK

Logan Verrett, Sophomore, RHP, Corpus Christi, Texas (Calallen HS)
Verrett turned in one of the best performances in the history of Baylor Ballpark with a complete-game four hitter in the middle game of the series against Texas A&M ... Verrett posted 13 strikeouts - the most ever by a Baylor pitcher at Baylor Ballpark ... Each of the last 12 strikeouts were swinging, and he issued just two walks ... Surrendered just two hits through first seven innings, and didn't allow a runner to advance past second base until back-to-back doubles in the eighth ended his shutout bid ... Finished game as strong as he started, striking out the first two and last two batters of the game ... Verrett's 13 strikeouts were the most by a Baylor pitcher in a regular season game since Jason Jennings struck out 14 against Kansas in 1999 ... Struck out at least one batter in every inning but the eighth, yet never struck out the side in an inning ... Pitched a full 2.0 innings longer than his previous career best of 7.0 innings, helping to save the Baylor bullpen for Sunday's series finale - the Bears won Sunday's game with the help of three relief pitchers ... The Aggies hit the ball out of the infield just six times against Verrett, and no A&M hitter was able to do so more than once ... Verrett got to two strikes on a batter 22 times, and he finished off the batter with a strikeout more often (13 times) than the ball was put in play (nine times) ... Verrett retired all but three of the 22 batters that went to two strikes ... Only once did Verrett face more than four batters in an inning - he faced five in the eighth.

Also of note, Kendall Rogers of Yahoo! Sports/Rivals.com NCAA Baseball listed the Bears as one his "winners" in this week's "Winners and Losers" column.

If you're a fan of Texas high school baseball, be sure to click here to vote for the Texas High School All-Century Team. There are quite a few former Bears on the ballot, as well as current Baylor players Joey Hainsfurther and Raynor Campbell.

Here's what local print media outlets had to say throughout the weekend:

From the Waco Tribune-Herald:
Jason Orts - Bears' Hitting Stays Hot Against Texas State, 12-3 (Wednesday)
Will Parchman - Baylor Baseball Rips Through Northwestern State, 15-3 (Thursday)
Brice Cherry - Pinckard Becoming BU's Do-It-All Player (Friday)
Brice Cherry - Aggies Top Baylor Baseball, 4-3 (Saturday)
Brice Cherry - Baylor Baseball Hammers Texas A&M, 13-1 (Sunday)
Brice Cherry - Glime's Double Earns Bears Victory Over Rival Aggies (Monday)
Staff Report - Big 12 Names Verrett Pitcher of the Week (Tuesday)

From the Houston Chronicle:
Brent Zwerneman - A&M Capitalizes on Baylor's Errors in 4-3 win (Friday)
Brent Zwerneman - Baylor Battery Drives Rout of Big 12 Rival Texas A&M (Saturday)
Brent Zwerneman - Baylor Take Series With 2-1 Win Over Texas A&M (Sunday)

From The Baylor Lariat:
Matt Larsen - Baylor Baseball Bullies Texas State, 12-3 (Tuesday)
Chris Derrett - Hot Hitting Continues For Bears in 15-3 Rout (Wednesday)
Chris Derrett & Matt Larsen - Young Hitters Spearheading Bears' Offensive Surge (Friday)
Justin Baer - Bears Clinch Series, Defeat Aggies 2-1 (Sunday)
Justin Baer - Commanding Pitching Clinches Battle of the Brazos (Tuesday)

That's all for now, but don't forget to follow The Kaye Zone on Twitter.

Sic em. 


Looking Back at Verrett's 13-Strikeout Complete Game
12:20 A.M. SUNDAY, APRIL 11, 2010

DAVID KAYE

Logan Verrett's 13-strikeout, four-hit complete game against the Aggies was one of the best pitching performances ever at Baylor Ballpark. It's hard to judge a game like this in historical perspective until a significant amount of time has passed, but we're going to attempt to do it anyway. Here are some notes on Verrett's outing:

That's all for now, but don't forget to follow The Kaye Zone on Twitter.

Sic em. 


Midweek Review and Regional Projections
1:55 P.M. FRIDAY, APRIL 9, 2010

DAVID KAYE

We knew heading into Baylor's two midweek games that the Bears had a chance to get a pair of victories that could really help them when the NCAA selection committee is deciding which teams deserve at-large regional bids. They did just that.

Baylor knocked off Texas State, 12-3, on Tuesday night, and then the Bears returned to the ballpark the next day and took care of Northwestern State, 15-3. While those two teams might not be household names to the casual fan, they're certainly well known to those who hand out regional bids.

According to Boyd's World, Northwestern State was No. 34 and Texas State was No. 37 in the RPI heading into this week. Those are two top-50 wins, something the committee looks at as one of the features on a team's tournament resume.

With those two wins, Baylor moved from No. 58 to No. 43 in the latest RPI projections. That's a huge jump this late in the season, especially considering the Bears moved that much without playing a conference game. The Bears are now 4-5 against teams currently in the RPI top-50. Baylor has also won 10 consecutive non-conference games.

Coach Smith entered the week concerned about the pitching because the Bears didn't really have any fresh arms after playing three games on Saturday and Sunday. Just splitting these two games while not wearing anyone out before the weekend would've been a solid week, but taking two and getting great pitching from the bullpen was just icing on the cake.

Kendall Rogers of Yahoo! Sports/Rivals.com NCAA Baseball released his latest regional projections on Thursday. The Bears are again the No. 3 seed in Louisville, where they would open against a Western Kentucky team that participated in this year's QTI Baylor Classic.

Baylor was a 3 seed in Oxford, Miss. last week, but two weeks ago they were matched up with Western Kentucky in the Louisville Regional. While the Bears didn't improve their seed, they did work their way out of being one of the last five teams to earn a spot in the tournament.

Edit: Baseball America released its first regional projections of the season. BA has the Bears as a No. 3 seed in the Corvalis, Ore. Regional, where they would meet Rice in the first round. Oregon State and Army are the other two teams in that regional.

Part of the reason Baylor has exceeded expectations to this point has been Brooks Pinckard. Be sure to check out Brice Cherry's feature in today's Waco Tribune-Herald: Pinckard Becoming BU's Do-It-All Player.

Also of note, the two former Bears who opened the season in the major leagues both scored the game-winning run in their teams' walk-off wins. David Murphy scored the game-winning run for the Texas Rangers in the bottom of the ninth on Monday, and Kelly Shoppach scored the game-winning run for the Tampa Bay Rays in their opener on Tuesday.

That's all for now, but don't forget to follow The Kaye Zone on Twitter.

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Week Seven Rewind
11:55 A.M. TUESDAY, APRIL 6, 2010

DAVID KAYE

Baylor baseball had a solid seventh week of the season. The Bears won a series at Missouri for the first time since 2004, and in the process, they also won both games of a Big 12 road doubleheader for the first time since May 1, 2004 at Kansas State.

However, Sunday's loss still hurt. The chances for a sweep looked really good when the Bears built a 5-0 lead in the early innings, but Missouri deserves credit for fighting their way back into it and then holding off a late Baylor rally. The Tigers desperately needed Sunday's win, and while it would've been nice for the Bears to have, the goal is to continue to win series, and that's what Baylor did.

Through seven weeks, our Bears are 15-10. According to Boyd's World, Baylor's RPI moved up six spots to number 58 with the series win. Unfortunately for the Bears, Missouri's RPI is now 124, but we expect the Tigers to improve on that number as the season goes along.

While last week was big (the difference between being 2-5 and 3-4 in conference play is huge), this week is bigger. Baylor plays five games in six days. All five games are against teams who have RPIs in the top 40. Texas State enters Tuesday's game at No. 37, while Northwestern State is No. 34 and Texas Agricultural & Mechanical checks in at No. 24.

Boyd's World has also released its first RPI Needs Report. The idea of the report is to project what a team would need to do in its remaining games to finish within a RPI range. The ranges are 1-8, 9-16, 17-32 and 33-45. While RPI doesn't guarantee where you'll be placed in the NCAA tournament, it does provide a projection.

Theoretically, if you finish in the 1-8 range, you'll be a top 8 national seed. If you finish 9-16 you'll host a regional, 17-32 you'll be a No. 2 seed, and 33-45 you'll earn an at-large berth and be a No. 3 seed.

There are some flaws to the projections. The report speculates that all other teams continue at their current winning percentage. To see the flaw in that, simply look at UCLA (23-1) and Arizona State (26-1). Both are great teams, but expecting those teams to lose just one more game the rest of the season is ridiculous (especially since they play each other in a three-game series and one team would have to lose at least two if all three games are played).

Now that we've given some background, here are the numbers: for the Bears to host a regional, they would need to go 23-4 the rest of the way, to finish in the 17-32 range they would need to go 18-9, and to finish in the top 45 they would need to go 15-12. All of this to say, we like the Bears' chances of earning another regional berth.

Before we get into notes from the last week, take a look at what Baseball America's Aaron Fitt had to say about Freshman OF Logan Vick in his Monday afternoon chat:

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Logan Vick, Freshman, Outfielder, Kerrville, Texas (Tivy HS)
True freshman outfielder hit .455 with two home runs, one double, six runs scored and three RBI to help the Bears win a series at Missouri for the first time since 2004 ... Batted in leadoff spot in all three games and drew five walks to add to his league-leading total ... Posted a .647 on-base percentage and a 1.091 slugging percentage ... Continued streak of reaching base safely (via hit or walk) in every game this season (25 games) ... Reached base safely in five of six trips to the plate in the series opener ... Went 2-for-3 with a home run, two RBI, two runs and three walks ... Drew a pair of walks in second game of Saturday's doubleheader ... Went 3-for-5 with a home run, double, three runs and one RBI in series finale ... With six home runs on the season, Vick is now just three home runs from tying the Baylor record for homers in a freshman season (Matt Williams hit nine in 1998).

Others who were considered:
Tyler Collins
- true freshman outfielder started all three games in right field, extending his streak of consecutive starts to seven ... Collins had started just once in season's first 18 games ... Hit .500 (6-for-12) with a double, five runs and one RBI ... Also stole one base and drew a walk ... Reached base safely in four of five plate appearances in series opener .. Went 3-for-4 with a double, three runs, one RBI and a walk ... Singled twice, scored a run and stole a base in second game of doubleheader ... Singled and scored a run in series finale.

Max Muncy - another true freshman, the first baseman extended career-long hitting streak to nine games ... Hit .417 (5-for-12) with two home runs, six runs scored and five RBI on the weekend ... Went 2-for-4 with a walk, three runs and two RBI in series opener ... Homered in second inning to give the Bears a lead they would never relinquish in second game of Saturday's doubleheader ... Went 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBI in series finale, including home run that bounced off the Missouri football practice facility beyond the right-center field wall.

PITCHER OF THE WEEK

Logan Verrett, Sophomore, RHP, Corpus Christi, Texas (Calallen HS)
Verrett allowed one run in 6.2 innings as the Bears clinched the series by winning the second game of Saturday's doubleheader at Missouri ... Struck out eight and allowed just five hits with three walks ... Did not allow any Missouri baserunner to reach third base until there were two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning ... Verrett's outing was crucial in saving the Baylor bullpen after the Bears used three relievers to win the first game of the doubleheader ... It was the fifth time in six starts this season that Verrett worked into the seventh inning.

Here's what local print media outlets had to say throughout the weekend:

From the Waco Tribune-Herald:
Staff Report - Baylor Explodes, Sweeps Pair from Missouri (Sunday)
Staff Report - Baylor Baseball Drops Missouri Series Finale, 13-9 (Monday)

That's all for now, but don't forget to follow The Kaye Zone on Twitter.

Sic em. 

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