2011 NCAA Regional Sites Announced 9:55 P.M. SUNDAY, MAY 29, 2011 DAVID KAYE
The NCAA announced the 16 regional host sitesfor the 2011 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship on Sunday. Here's the list, along with the distance from Waco to each site according to Google Maps.
Atlanta, Ga. (Georgia Tech) - 820 miles
Austin, Texas (Texas) - 104 miles
Fullerton, Calif. (Cal State Fullerton) - 1,401 miles
Chapel Hill, N.C. (North Carolina) - 1,198 miles
Charlottesville, Va. (Virginia) - 1,303 miles
Clemson, S.C. (Clemson) - 944 miles
College Station, Texas (Texas A&M) - 92 miles
Columbia, S.C. (South Carolina) - 1,031 miles
Corvallis, Ore. (Oregon State) - 2,194 miles
Fort Worth, Texas (TCU) - 86 miles
Gainesville, Fla. (Florida) - 1,024 miles
Houston, Texas (Rice) - 186 miles
Los Angeles, Calif. (UCLA) - 1,417 miles
Nashville, Tenn. (Vanderbilt) - 759 miles
Tallahassee, Fla. (Florida State) - 877 miles
Tempe, Ariz. (Arizona State) - 1,040 miles
The Bears can't be placed in the Austin, Texas or College Station, Texas Regionals because the host teams are fellow Big 12 Conference members. That leaves Houston, Texas and Fort Worth, Texas as the only two potential destinations where the Bears wouldn't have to fly.
The NCAA Championship Handbook states, "Except for the 16 No. 1 regional seeds, the pairings for the regionals, whenever possible, will be based on closest location of the teams to the tournament sites." While the only sites that can be officially ruled out are College Station and Austin, there's a strong possibility the Bears will either make their second straight appearance in the Fort Worth Regional or travel down Highway 6 to play in the Houston Regional.
It's obviously not a given that the Bears will be selected, but the projections say Baylor will be one of the 64 teams announced during the selection show on ESPN at 11:30 a.m. Monday. Here's the breakdown on the bids:
All 16 host teams will play in the NCAA Tournament. There are also 30 automatic bids for conference champions, but six of those spots are also regional hosts: Cal State Fullerton, Virginia, Texas A&M, Florida, Rice and UCLA. That means 40 bids have already been given out and the NCAA is deciding on the final 24 non-automatic qualifiers.
According the Boyd's World RPI rankings prior to Sunday's game, the Bears' RPI is No. 29. The top 13 teams in the RPI are all regional hosts, as well as No. 19 (TCU), No. 28 (Oregon State) and No. 33 (UCLA). Additionally, Fresno State (No. 21) won the WAC automatic bid, so that means the Bears have the 13th-best RPI among teams waiting on the final 24 tournament berths.
At-large teams with higher RPIs than Baylor: Arkansas, Stanford, Georgia, Miami, Central Florida, Southern Miss, Florida International, Oklahoma, Stetson, Arizona, LSU, East Carolina.
Baylor's strength of schedule is No. 5 nationally, according to WarrenNolan.com. Georgia (No. 1) is the only team with a higher strength of schedule that's still waiting on a tournament bid. Georgia, Baylor and Miami (No. 11) are the only teams that are eligible for the postseason, ranked in the top 15 strengths of schedule, and still waiting on tournament bids.
What else does Baylor have on its side? The Bears are 14-15 against the RPI top 50. Only 11 teams in the nation have more wins against RPI top 50 teams. If you extend the range out to the RPI top 60, Baylor is 18-16 against those teams.
Baylor is also 11-9 in road games. Eight of the Bears' 11 road wins have come against teams with RPIs in the top 55: No. 16 Georgia (twice), No. 35 Texas State, No. 9 Texas A&M, No. 55 Nebraska (twice), and No. 34 Oklahoma State (twice).
Baylor also has wins against a number of teams with strong cases to earn some of the 24 at-large berths that are still available:
Baseball America (May 24): One of five Big 12 teams "Safely In." (A&M, UT, OU, BU, OSU)
That's all for now, but don't forget to follow Baylor Baseball on Twitter and tune in to ESPN at 11:30 a.m. Monday for the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship Selection Show.
Big 12 Championship Seeding Scenarios 10:55 A.M. SATURDAY, MAY 21, 2011 DAVID KAYE
With only one regular season game left, it's time to look at the seeding scenarios for next week's Phillips 66 Big 12 Conference Baseball Championship. The short version is that Baylor can be seeded anywhere from No. 5 through No. 8.
Texas has clinched the No. 1 seed and a share of the conference title by taking the first two games in their series against the team that will now be the No. 2 seed, Texas A&M.
Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will be the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds. The teams are tied entering their final games, but Oklahoma State won two of three against the Sooners, so the Cowboys will be the No. 3 seed unless they lose to Texas Tech and Oklahoma beats Baylor.
As of right now, Baylor is the No. 5 seed, but even with a win in today's game against Oklahoma, the Bears can't clinch the No. 5 seed without a little help since Missouri still has two games remaining.
To clinch the No. 5 seed, Baylor needs the following things to happen:
Baylor win vs. Oklahoma and Missouri loss in one of two remaining games at Nebraska.
Baylor loss vs. Oklahoma, Missouri losses in both games at Nebraska, Kansas State loss in one of two games at Kansas, and Texas Tech loss in one of two games vs. Oklahoma State.
A Baylor win against Oklahoma would clinch at least the No. 6 seed. If the Bears beat the Sooners and Missouri wins each of its last two games at Nebraska, Baylor would be No. 6.
There are numerous things that would need to happen for Baylor be seeded sixth if the Bears lose to Oklahoma. Two of the following three things would need to happen:
Missouri loss in both games at Nebraska
Kansas State loss in one of two games at Kansas
Texas Tech loss in one of two games vs. Oklahoma State.
If Baylor loses to Oklahoma and one of the three things above happens, the Bears would be the No. 7 seed. If the Bears lose to OU and all three things above happen, BU would be seeded No. 8.
Here's a breakdown of the potential seeds:
No. 1 seed - Texas
No. 2 seed - Texas A&M
No. 3 seed - Oklahoma State or Oklahoma
No. 4 seed - Oklahoma State or Oklahoma
No. 5 seed - Baylor, Missouri, Kansas State or Texas Tech
No. 6 seed - Baylor, Missouri, Kansas State or Texas Tech
Nebraska has been eliminated because the Cornhuskers can't finish higher than ninth in the league. The other team left out will either be Kansas, Texas Tech or Kansas State.
If Baylor wins today, there's a good chance the Bears will open the tournament by playing their fourth consecutive game against Oklahoma. With a Baylor win, Oklahoma would clinch the No. 4 seed and the Bears would only need Missouri to lose one of two at Nebraska to be the No. 5 seed and face the Sooners in the opening round.
Week 13 Rewind 10:45 A.M. TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2011 DAVID KAYE
Baylor was off for final exams during the 12th week of the season, but the Bears took a major step toward securing a NCAA Tournament berth by going 2-2 with all four games on the road against ranked opponents in week 13.
The Bears traveled to No. 10 TCU for a Tuesday night game, and though they took an early 2-0 lead, a rain delay quickly slowed any momentum they had built. Though the first delay lasted only 22 minutes, TCU came back out and took the lead with three runs in the bottom of the third and two more in the fourth. The game would've been broken open if not for the catch of the year by Logan Vick to rob a three-run homer:
Just seconds after Vick came down with that catch, the game went into another rain delay, this time for 91 minutes. Even after the wait, Baylor came back out and erased the 5-2 deficit with Josh Ludy's RBI double and Max Muncy's two-run homer in the seventh. However, a pair of unearned runs in the eighth provided TCU enough insurance to overcome a Baylor rally in the ninth. On top of that, the Bears' game on Wednesday against Northwestern State - their only scheduled home game in a nine-game stretch - was cancelled due to rain.
As tough as the TCU loss was to take, the series opener at Oklahoma State might have been tougher. Logan Verrett was dominant, allowing only four hits in 8.0 shutout innings. The Bears' only problem was that OSU starter Mike Strong was even more dominant, giving up only two hits with 14 strikeouts in 8.0 shutout innings. Strong tied for the most strikeouts by a Big 12 pitcher this year - equaling Verrett's 14-strikeout performance against Louisiana Tech.
The Bears got a scoreless ninth from Max Garner, but after two quick outs in the 10th, Garner issued a walk on a close 3-2 pitch and then gave up a double to the gap in left-center field to allow the winning run to score. At that point, the Bears' backs were certainly against the wall with a 9-13 Big 12 record and the five remaining conference games all against ranked teams.
That changed on Saturday, as Josh Turley tossed an absolute gem to give the Bears an 8-1 win and snap a nine-game losing streak in televised games. Turley was even better than his numbers show, as he recorded 12 of his 15 outs through groundballs and was able to overcome a 27-minute break while the Bears broke out of a 14-inning scoreless drought with seven runs in the top of the sixth.
Max Muncy was the unsung hero in that offensive explosion. Muncy drew a leadoff walk, and was able to go first to third on Dan Evatt's single to left-center field. That play proved crucial, as it allowed Josh Ludy to swing away (coach Smith said later that Ludy likely would've been bunting if Muncy had stopped at second base). Ludy delivered a RBI single, and two batters later Steve DalPorto gave the Bears a 2-0 lead with a sacrifice fly.
DalPorto's at-bat was huge because it robbed OSU of a chance to take a ton of momentum away, had the Cowboys been able to limit Baylor to one run in the inning. Jake Miller followed with a two-run double, Chris Slater hit a RBI double and Brooks Pinckard smashed a two-run homer. Slater would homer later in the game, giving him two extra base hits on the same day he officially graduated from Baylor.
Needing a win on Sunday to clinch their first series win on the road against a ranked opponent in five seasons, the Bears handed the ball to Pinckard. That proved to be a wise decision, as Pinckard held OSU to only one run through his first seven innings of work, finally surrendering a two-run homer with one out in the eighth. Trent Blank got the second out in the inning and Max Garner recorded the final four outs to extend his streak of Big 12 series with at least one save to five straight.
OSU took an early lead with a run in the first, but Muncy tied the game with a solo homer in the third. Miller put the Bears in front with a sacrifice fly in the fourth, and Joey Hainsfurther padded the lead with a clutch two-out, two-run single in the eighth. Those runs would prove huge after Pinckard allowed the two-run homer. DalPorto executed a suicide squeeze bunt in the ninth to score Evatt with another run, giving the Bears a 5-3 lead.
Baylor wraps up the regular season with four consecutive home games. The Bears take on Dallas Baptist at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, then host No. 13 Oklahoma for a three-game series Thursday through Saturday.
RESULTS: Tuesday - TCU 7, Baylor 6 Friday - Oklahoma State 1, Baylor 0 (10 innings) Saturday - Baylor 8, Oklahoma State 1 Sunday - Baylor 5, Oklahoam State 3
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Max Muncy, Sophomore, 1B, Keller, Texas (Keller HS) Hit .471 (8-for-17) with two home runs, a double, four RBI and four runs during week, extending hitting streak to seven straight games ... Helped Bears to first road series win over a ranked opponent since 2006 and first series win in Stillwater since 2003 ... Drew a pair of walks, posted .526 on-base percentage and .882 slugging percentage with 15 total bases ... Hit two-run homer in seventh inning to tie game at No. 10 TCU on Tuesday ... Also delivered RBI single in ninth to cut deficit to one ... Drew a walk, scored two runs and drove in three of Baylor's six runs against TCU ... Had one of only two hits for Baylor in series opener at No. 19 Oklahoma State ... In second game of series, drew leadoff walk in sixth inning and came around to score to give Baylor a 1-0 lead ... Doubled leading off ninth inning ... In series finale at OSU, went 4-for-5 with a home run and three singles ... Tied game at 1-1 with solo homer in third, his eighth round-tripper of season and fifth in Big 12 play ... Moved into top 10 in Big 12 overall individual rankings in batting average, hits, home runs, RBI, total bases, walks, on-base percentage and slugging percentage ... Improved batting average in league play to .372, good for fourth in conference and tied for league lead with 58 total bases in Big 12 play ... Third in Big 12 play in on-base percentage (.464) and second in slugging (.617).
PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Josh Turley, Sophomore, LHP, Texarkana, Texas (Texas HS) Started second game of series at Oklahoma State, allowing one run on seven hits with no walks in 7.2 innings to help Bears to series-tying win before Baylor, setting up Bears' series win in rubber match ... Became just the second Big 12 pitcher to beat Oklahoma State on its home field this season ... Worked first five innings of game with no run support ... Didn't allow a runner past second base through first seven innings, never needing more than 14 pitches to retire the side ... Had four innings of 10 or fewer pitches ... Recorded 12 of 15 outs with groundballs through first five frames ... After sitting for 27-minutes during Bears' offensive outburst in sixth, allowed a leadoff double before retiring next three batters to keep Bears in front 7-0 ... Allowed only run of game after three consecutive two-out singles in eighth ... Win snapped Bears' nine-game losing streak in televised games.
Baylor's series win at Oklahoma State was its first road series win over a ranked opponent since taking two of three at Long Beach State in 2006. It was also Baylor's first series win in Stillwater since 2003, which was the last time the Bears won a Big 12 road series against a ranked opponent.
Baylor's pitchers held Oklahoma State to just five runs in the three-game set. The Cowboys entered the series with the second-best offense in the Big 12 averaging 6.15 runs per game.
Baylor's starting pitchers (Logan Verrett, Josh Turley and Brooks Pinckard) all worked into the eighth inning and held Oklahoma State to four runs in a combined 23.0 innings (1.57 ERA). The trio allowed only 17 hits in the series.
The series opener at Oklahoma State was the first time Baylor went to extra innings in a 0-0 game since the series opener in 2001 against Rice. That game was also a 1-0 Baylor loss in 10 innings.
Baylor improved to 11-9 on the road this season after going 5-12 in true road games a season ago. The Bears are also 2-1 in neutral-site games.
Baylor pitchers have combined to post a 1.75 ERA and hold opponents to a .204 batting average in their last 10 road games.
With Wednesday's game against Northwestern State cancelled due to rain, the Bears have played their last eight games on the road, posting a 5-3 record. The Bears wrap up the regular season with four straight home games.
Tuesday's loss was just the fourth time this season Baylor lost a game when scoring four or more runs. The Bears are 25-4 when scoring four or more runs in 2011.
Baylor grounded into a double play away from Baylor Ballpark for the first time this season in Tuesday's game. The Bears have grounded into only one double play in 23 games away from their home field this season.
Baylor batters have hit 23 home runs in their last 21 games after hitting only 7 in the first 28 games of the season.
Baylor has hit 21 home runs in 21 games of Big 12 play, five more than any other team in the conference.
Baylor's current .973 fielding percentage would tie the program record for a single season (.973 in 2006).
Brooks Pinckard has started on the mound in four of Baylor's last eight games, posting wins in three of the four.
Pinckard established a new career-high with 7.1 innings pitched in Sunday's series finale. Pinckard allowed only one run before a two-run homer in the eighth.
Max Muncy extended his hitting streak to seven games and posted his second four-hit game of the season in Sunday's series finale.
Muncy delivered a pair of game-tying homers during the week. He tied the game at 5-5 in the seventh inning at No. 10 TCU on Tuesday and tied the game at 1-1 in the third inning at No. 19 Oklahoma State on Sunday.
Muncy leads the team with eight home runs and is tied for the team lead with five home runs in Big 12 play.
Josh Turley allowed one run in 7.2 innings in Saturday's start at No. 19 Oklahoma State. He became only the second Big 12 pitcher to beat the Cowboys on their home field this season, while Pinckard became the third in Sunday's game.
Turley kept OSU off the board before allowing three straight two-out singles in the eighth inning, but by then the Bears had built a 7-0 lead.
Turley needed 14 or fewer pitches to get through each of his first seven innings, never allowing a runner past second base. He had four innings of 10 or fewer pitches, and 12 of his first 15 outs were recorded through groundouts.
Chris Slater hit his second homer of the season (first outside the park) in Saturday's game on the same day he officially graduated from Baylor. He'll be presented his diploma prior to one of this weekend's games against Oklahoma.
Josh Ludy became the first Baylor player to catch all three games in a weekend series this season. He also had three hits on Saturday, including a RBI single that broke a scoreless tie in the sixth, and he added two more hits on Sunday.
Logan Verrett threw 8.0 innings of shutout baseball in Friday's series opener at OSU. Verrett allowed only four baserunners through the first seven innings and never needed more than 17 pitches to work through an inning.
Max Garner entered Sunday's series finale with a one-run lead and the potential tying and go-ahead runs on base in the eighth inning. He got a strikeout to escape the jam and retired the side in order in the ninth to post his sixth save.
Garner has saved a game in each of the Bears' last five Big 12 series.
Joey Hainsfurther drove in what would prove to be the game-winning run with a two-out, two-run single in the eighth inning in Sunday's series finale.
Dillon Newman worked 1.1 innings of shutout relief with two strikeouts to close out Saturday's win at OSU.
Week 11 Rewind 11:15 A.M. TUESDAY, MAY 3, 2011 DAVID KAYE
Baylor baseball built on its solid road record during the 2011 season by going 3-1 while playing all four games on the road in week 11. The Bears are now 9-7 in true road games after going 5-12 in such games a season ago.
The Bears used only six pitchers during the week. Max Garner, Brooks Pinckard, Logan Verrett, Josh Turley, Jon Ringenberg and Trent Blank combioned to post a 1.80 ERA and hold opposing hitters to a .198 batting average. Baylor's trio of starting pitchers (Pinckard, Verrett, Turley) combined to post a 1.37 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 26.1 innings pitched.
In Tuesday's win at UT San Antonio, Pinckard made his first career start on the mound after pitching in relief in the first 51 outings of his Baylor career. He rose to the challenge, holding the Roadrunners to one run on four singles in 5.1 innings of work. Pinckard struck out six and walked only two. He retired the side in order in four of his five completed innings, with the lone blip coming when he allowed a run but escaped a bases-loaded jam in the third.
Dan Evatt drove in the first run of the game with a two-out RBI double in the first, and Josh Ludy knocked a RBI single that scored what would prove to be the game-winning run before Pinckard headed to the mound. Lawton Langford added a two-out, two-run double to give the Bears some insurance in a three-run seventh inning. Ringenberg relieved Pinckard in the sixth and worked 2.2 innings of shutout relief before Garner pitched a scoreless ninth to close out the win.
In Friday's series-opening win at Nebraska, Verrett turned in a dominating performance with one run allowed in 8.0 innings. He allowed only four singles, walked two and struck out eight before Garner came on to work another scoreless ninth to end the game.
Joey Hainsfurther scored Steve DalPorto with a squeeze bunt to give the Bears a 1-0 lead in the third, and one inning later, Jake Miller's RBI infield single put the Bears back on top 2-1 before DalPorto's squeeze bunt scored Landis Ware with what would prove to be the winning run. Ware added a three-run double an inning later to give Verrett all the support he would need.
Saturday's loss came despite a strong start from Turley, who held Nebraska to two earned runs in 6.0 innings. Evatt tied the game at 1-1 with a solo homer leading offthe fourth, and an inning later Pinckard tripled and scored on Muncy's two-out RBI single to put the Bears in front 2-1, but that lead would be short-lived when Cody Asche hit his first of a pair of two-run homers.
Five days after making his first career start on the mound, Pinckard made his first start in Big 12 play in Sunday's game. He was dominant, allowing only a single through the first six innings on his way to pitching 7.0 innings of two-hit, shutout ball.
Hainsfurther broke up a no-hit bid from Tyler Niederklein with a one-out infield single in the sixsth, and Muncy followed with a two-run blast deep into the right field stands to provide the only runs of the game for either team. Garner came on in relief and escaped a jam in the eighth by striking out Asche on the 10th pitch of his at-bat to strand a pair of runners in scoring position, and he followed with a scoreless ninth to close out the three-hit shutout. Garner has recorded the final out in each of Baylor's last five wins.
Baylor returns from an eight-day break when the Bears travel to Fort Worth, Texas to take on TCU on May 10 at 6:30 p.m. The Bears then host Northwestern State at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday before heading back out on the road for the final regular season road games with a three-game set at Oklahoma State.
Max Muncy, Sophomore, 1B, Keller, Texas (Keller HS) Hit .313 (5-for-16) with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored ... Drew two walks and struck out only once ... Tied for team lead in RBI and total bases (8) while slugging .500 for week ... Hit safely in all the games at Nebraska, giving him hits in 18 of 21 Big 12 games this season ... Also produced a run (RBI or run scored) in all three games against Cornhuskers, increasing total to 17 of 21 Big 12 games with a run produced ... Had three hits and scored a run in series-opening win on Friday ... Two-out RBI single in fifth inning gave Baylor its only lead in second game of series ... Drove in only runs of game with two-run homer in series finale that gave Baylor its first series win in Lincoln since the inaugural season of Big 12 play in 1997 ... Was intentionally walked in final plate appearance of series.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Brooks Pinckard, Junior, RHP, Buda, Texas (Hays HS) Made first two career starts on the mound, combining to go 2-0 with 0.73 ERA in 12.1 innings of starts at UTSA and at Nebraska ... Struck out 11, walked four and allowed only six singles for .146 opponents batting average ... Pitched 7.0 shutout innings, allowing only two singles, in rubber game of series at Nebraska ... Pitched most of game with no run support, as Bears were no-hit through 5.1 innings ... With 2-0 victory, Baylor won a series in Lincoln for the first time since the teams first met in Big 12 play in 1997 ... Faced minimum number of batters in five of seven innings ... Had never pitched more than 5.0 innings in his life before tossing 5.1 innings at UTSA on Tuesday ... Allowed one run on four singles with six strikeouts in 5.1 innings ... Retired side in order in four of five completed innings against Roadrunners.
Sunday's win was the first time Baylor won a game when scoring three or fewer runs this season. The Bears are 23-3 this season when scoring four or more runs and 1-18 when scoring three or fewer.
Sunday's win was also the first time Baylor pitched a 9.0-inning shutout on the road since a 3-0 win at Kansas State on May 14, 2008.
Baylor hasn't grounded into a double play in any of its 19 games away from Baylor Ballpark. The Bears have grounded into only 10 double plays this season, have turned 41 double plays and have been doubled up only 19 times.
Baylor is 72-for-89 stealing bases this season, and the Bears' 80.9 percent success ranks second in the Big 12.
Baylor batters have hit 19 home runs in their last 17 games after hitting only 7 in the first 28 games of the season.
Baylor has hit 18 home runs in Big 12 play, four more than any other team in the conference.
Baylor's current .974 fielding percentage would break the program record for a single season (.973 in 2006).
Brooks Pinckard made his first career start on the mound on Tuesday at UTSA. He got the win after allowing one run with six strikeouts and two walks in a then-career-long 5.1 innings.
Pinckard held Nebraska to two hits in 7.0 shutout innings in Sunday's 2-0 win. He didn't allow a runner to reach third base against the Cornhuskers. He entered the week with a 4.56 ERA and finished with his ERA at 3.25.
Max Garner recorded his fifth save of the season (fourth in Big 12 play) by working 2.0 scoreless innings in the series finale at Nebraska. Garner closed out all three Baylor wins during the week, tossing scoreless ninth innings on Tuesday at UTSA and on Friday at Nebraska.
Garner is tied for seventh in the Big 12 with five saves and fourth in the league with four saves in conference play.
Max Muncy provided the only runs in the game with a two-run homer in the sixth inning of Sunday's series finale. The Bears had been no-hit through 5.1 innings before Joey Hainsfurther singled and Muncy followed with a two-run blast.
Muncy Big 12 ranks (all games): 14th batting average (.320), t-6th hits (56), t-7th home runs (6), t-9th RBI (34), 9th total bases (86), t-5th walks (28).
Muncy Big 12 ranks (conference games): 5th batting average (.358), 4th hits (29), t-3rd home runs (4), t-3rd total bases (48), 2nd walks (14), 3rd on-base percentage (.458), t-5th slugging percentage (.593).
Dan Evatt hit his seventh home run of the season (fifth in Big 12 play) in the middle game of the Nebraska series. He's on a five-game hitting streak, but he left Sunday's game with a dislocated finger. Evatt is averaging a home run every nine at-bats in Big 12 play.