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Bears Welcome Purdue for 2008 Opening Weekend

Feb. 21, 2008

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No. 15 BAYLOR (0-0) vs. PURDUE (0-0)

FRIDAY:  6:30 p.m. CST -- free schedule magnets to first 500 fans

SATURDAY:  3:00 p.m. CST -- free schedule posters to first 500 fans; Cub Club Day

SUNDAY:  Noon CST -- free toboggan hats to first 500 fans; Family Sundays (free admission ages 12 and under)


Baylor opens its 2008 season this weekend, hosting Purdue for a three-game series at Baylor Ballpark. The Bears and the Boilermakers meet Friday at 6:30 p.m. CST, Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at noon. These will be the first-ever meetings between Baylor and Purdue in baseball.

            The Bears (35-27 in 2007) enter the season ranked 15th nationally by Baseball America. Baylor also is ranked 24th in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll, 26th in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Top 30 and 28th in the Collegiate Baseball Top 30. This is the first season Baylor has been ranked preseason in all four major polls since 2005.

            Purdue (22-32 in 2007) is not ranked in any of the four preseason polls. The Boilermakers return 20 letterwinners, including six position starters and 10 pitchers. Purdue finished eighth of 10 teams in the Big Ten Conference last season with an 11-20 league mark.

            The Boilermakers are led by RHPs Matt Bischoff and Josh Lindblom, and 1B Ryan White. Bischoff (3-2, 2.85 ERA, 61 K in 2007) earned Big Ten Freshman of the Year and Freshman All-America honors last season. Lindblom (3-4, 4.13 ERA 51 K) in 2007) is projected as the 23rd-best junior prospect by; he also is listed 53rd on Baseball America's prospects list. White (.452, 8 HR, 47 RBI in 2007) led the Big Ten and ranked third nationally in batting average last season. Lindblom is on the 2008 Golden Spikes Award Watch List, while Bischoff and White both are members of the 2008 Brooks Wallace Award Preseason Watch List.

            All Baylor baseball games are broadcast live on Waco's 1660 ESPN Radio. Live streaming audio and GameTracker also are available for all Baylor baseball games online at, the official website of Baylor Athletics and a member of the CSTV Network.

            Live streaming video also is available for the Purdue series. For more information, follow the Baylor All-Access link at





Baylor:  RHP Kendal Volz, So. (6-2, 5.16 ERA, 68.0 IP, 19 BB, 65 K)

Purdue:  RHP Matt Bischoff, So. (3-2, 2.85 ERA, 60.0 IP, 8 BB, 61 K)



Baylor:  RHP Shawn Tolleson, Fr. (redshirt in 2007)

Purdue:  LHP Matt Jansen, So. (0-4, 3.31 ERA, 35.1 IP, 14 BB, 30 K)



Baylor:  RHP Willie Kempf, So. (2-2, 3.00 ERA, 39.0 IP, 21 BB, 43 K)

Purdue:  RHP Allan Donato, Sr. (1-3, 5.83 ERA, 29.1 IP, 19 BB, 23 K)




Overall: 0-0

            Waco:   0-0

            West Lafayette: 0-0

            Neutral Site:      0-0

Smith vs. Purdue:          0-0

First Meeting:    never met

Last Meeting:    never met



BAYLOR:          Steve Smith

            Alma Mater:      Baylor, 1986

            Career Record:  490-311-1 [14th season]

            Record at Baylor:          490-311-1 [14th season]


PURDUE:         Doug Schreiber

            Alma Mater:      Purdue, 1986

            Career Record:  253-252 [10th season]

            Record at Purdue:         253-252 [10th season]



1660 ESPN RADIO (Waco)

            Tom Barfield, play-by-play

            Lark Smith, color









• Since the start of the 2003 season, Baylor is:

            - 141-56 (.716) when its starting pitcher lasts at least 5.0 innings

            - 37-9 (.804) when its pitchers record at least 10 strikeouts

            - 134-40 (.770) when scoring first

            - 154-31 (.832) when out-hitting its opponent

            - 146-39 (.789) when holding its opponent to fewer than five runs

            - 131-28 (.824) when scoring at least six runs

            - 118-19 (.861) when scoring at least seven runs


• Since the start of the 2002 season, Baylor is 183-9 (.953) when leading after eight innings, winning 44 of the last 46, 78 of the last 81 and 113 of the last 117 such games. The Bears were 26-2 when leading after eight innings last season.


• Baylor has won 28 of its last 31 games when hitting at least two home runs.


• Baylor is 14-4 in extra-inning games since the start of the 2003 season.


• Baylor ranks third nationally with 58 triples over the past two seasons. The Bears also are one of only three programs to tally at least 20 triples each season since 2002.


• SS Beamer Weems enters the 2008 season tied for 11th nationally in career triples (10) among active players.


• Weems enters the 2008 season with 17 career home runs, most ever by a Baylor shortstop. He ranks first in the Big 12 and third nationally in home runs by a shortstop among active players.


• RHP Nick Cassavechia enters the 2008 season with 19 career saves, tops among active Big 12 pitchers and sixth nationally.


• RHP Kendal Volz is scheduled to become the first Bear to start Baylor's final game of one season and the following season's opener since Kip Wells accomplished the feat in 1997 and 1998.


Gregg Glime is Baylor's first switch-hitting catcher since Chad Polk (1997-1998).




            Baylor and Purdue have never met in baseball competition.



            Baylor is 12-4-1 all-time against current Big Ten Conference members. The Bears have faced Minnesota (5-2), Michigan (3-1-1), Northwestern (3-0), Illinois (0-1) and Iowa (1-0). This is the first time Baylor has played a Big Ten member since defeating Michigan 16-0 in the 2006 Quala-T Imprints Baylor Classic.

            Some of Baylor's history against Big Ten opponents has been in postseason play. The Bears dropped a 4-3, 11-inning decision to Minnesota in the 1977 College World Series. Michigan blanked the Bears 4-0 in the opening game of the 1978 College World Series. Baylor got revenge on Minnesota in 1999, topping the Gophers 6-4 and 22-6 to win the NCAA Waco Regional.

            Purdue is the first of two Big Ten opponents on Baylor's 2008 schedule. Illinois visits Waco for the third-annual QTI Baylor Classic next weekend.



            Baylor is 7-6 in season openers under head coach Steve Smith, including last year's 4-2 loss to Houston at the Houston College Classic. The Bears, who are 2-2 in their last four season openers after dropping four straight from 2001 to 2004, are 22-16 in such games since 1970.

            This is the eighth time in Smith's 14-year tenure that Baylor has opened its season at home; the Bears are 5-2 in such situations.



            The Bears are 9-4 in home openers under head coach Steve Smith. Baylor has won two consecutive such games after a 10-4 victory over Texas State last season. Since 1960, Baylor is 36-12 in home openers. The Bears won nine consecutive home openers from 1991 to 1998.



            Due to the NCAA's mandated Feb. 22 universal start date for the 2008 season, Baylor plays its season opener this season later than in recent years. This is Baylor's latest season opener since 1982, when the Bears opened Feb. 23 with a doubleheader sweep of Southwestern at Ferrell Field. In fact, this marks just the second time since 1974 that Baylor has opened its season later than Feb. 20. The Bears earliest season opener was a Jan. 28 victory at San Diego State in 1993.



            Baylor's 2008 season opener is the Bears' 300th game at Baylor Ballpark. The Bears are 217-82 (.726) at home since the stadium opened in 1999. Baylor Ballpark, which celebrates its 10th season in 2008, has drawn over 800,000 fans in its existence. Baylor is one of only eight Division I schools to average at least 2,700 fans per game each season since 2000. The facility was voted the nation's third-best college baseball stadium in a 2003 Baseball America survey.

            While the season opener will be the Bears' 300th game at Baylor Ballpark, the facility has already celebrated its 300th college game. Including the 1999, 2000 and 2005 NCAA Regionals and the 2006 and 2007 Quala-T Imprints Baylor Classics, a total of 16 Division I games that did not involve the Bears have been played at Baylor Ballpark.



            2B Raynor Campbell will not see action this weekend after undergoing surgery Wednesday morning on his right (throwing) thumb. Campbell sustained ligament damage earlier this week while taking ground balls. The 2007 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American is expected to miss four to six weeks. True freshman Landis Ware will start at second base in Campbell's absence.



            Baylor was picked third in the 2008 Big 12 Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll, announced Wednesday by the league office. The Bears garnered one first-place vote and 65 total points, six behind second-place Missouri and five ahead of fourth-place Texas A&M.

            This is Baylor's highest preseason pick by the league's coaches since 2004 when the Bears were tabbed second. The Bears have been picked fourth in the preseason poll each of the past three seasons.

            Texas was the coaches' preseason favorite, picking up eight first-place votes and 80 total points; Missouri earned the final first-place vote. Oklahoma State was picked fifth, while Nebraska was slotted sixth. Kansas State and Oklahoma tied for the seventh-place spot; Kansas and Texas Tech rounded out the poll.

            In the 11-year history of the Big 12, only five schools have claimed regular-season titles: Baylor (2000, 2005); Nebraska (2001, 2003, 2005); Texas (2002, 2004, 2006, 2007); Texas A&M (1998, 1999) and Texas Tech (1997).



            RHP Nick Cassavechia enters the 2008 season with 19 career saves, a total that is tied for second in Baylor history and leads all active Big 12 Conference pitchers. Furthermore, Cassavechia ranks sixth nationally in career saves among active players behind only Kelly Heyne (24, Ball State), Joshua Fields (23, Georgia), Joseph Edesn (22, Samford), Daniel Kennedy (21, Georgetown) and Chris Mannings (21, Belmont).

            Cassavechia's career total is even more impressive considering he has been Baylor's closer for not even two full seasons. He moved into the closer role during the first week of April in 2006 and has amassed all 19 saves since that point. He tallied 11 saves as a junior in 2007, tying for fourth in the Big 12 and 23rd nationally. It also tied for the third-best season total in Baylor history. Cassavechia, who had eight saves as a sophomore in 2006, joins Zane Carlson (2000, 2001) as the only Baylor pitchers to record at least eight saves in consecutive seasons.



            Baylor batters have tallied 58 triples over the past two seasons. Only Arizona (62) and Charlotte (59) have hit more three-baggers in that time. The Bears tied for seventh nationally last season with 26 triples. In 2006, the Bears tied for second nationally with 32 triples.

            Furthermore, Baylor joins Arizona and Texas as the nation's only programs to collect at least 20 triples in each of the past six seasons.

            Baylor's Jon Topolski led the nation with 11 triples in 1998. Seth Fortenberry tied for third nationally with 10 triples in 2006, and Ben Booker tied for 15th nationally last season with seven. Michael Griffin was 25th nationally with 0.12 triples per game in 2003, one year after Mike Huggins was 25th nationally with 0.11 triples per contest.



            RHP Kendal Volz became the ninth freshman in Baylor history to record at least six victories last season. Furthermore, he is only the third to accomplish the feat during head coach Steve Smith's tenure. Here is a look at how the others fared as sophomores and in their careers:


                  PLAYER                 YEARS             FRESHMAN      SOPHOMORE   CAREER

                  Ricky Fox               1971-1974         6-4                    3-5                    19-17

                  Mike Roberts           1976-1979         6-2                    3-1                    20-6

                  Andy Beene            1976-1979         8-1                    0-0                    15-5

                  Ted Richardson       1985-1988         7-0                    9-6                    21-8

                  Bruce Aguilar          1986-1989         6-3                    2-1                    21-13

                  Aaron Lineweaver    1993-1995         9-5                    4-6                    16-18

                  Ryan LaMotta          2003-2006         7-3                    2-5                    21-16

                  Abe Woody            2003-2005         6-0                    5-1                    21-4



            Five Baylor games are scheduled for television broadcast this season, including two home games. The Bears will be on CSTV twice:  April 1 at TCU (7 p.m. CT) and April 22 vs. Texas (7 p.m.). Two games will be aired on Fox College Sports:  April 26 vs. Nebraska (6:30 p.m.), May 4 at Texas (1 p.m.). The Bears' May 3 game at Texas will be televised on FSN (2:30 p.m.).

            Since 1988, Baylor has played on television 57 times, including a program-best 12 games in 2005. Over the past 20 years, the Bears are 28-29 in televised games.



            Baylor hit at least one home run in each of the final seven games of the 2007 season. That ties for the longest streak by a Baylor squad since the Bears homered in 12 consecutive games in 2003.

            In last year's streak, the Bears hit two home runs in the first game and one in each of the final six contests. In the 12-game 2003 run, the Bears hit 27 home runs with at least two in each of the final seven games. Baylor also had a seven-game streak later in the 2003 season; in fact, the Bears never went more than three straight games without a home run that year.



            Baylor is 14-4 in extra-inning games since the start of the 2003 season, including a 2-1 mark in such games last season. Baylor was 0-1 in extra-inning games in 2006, 6-1 in 2005, 1-0 in 2004 and 5-1 in 2003.

            Five of the 14 wins over the past five seasons have come on an opponent's home field (Arizona twice, Arizona State, Texas and Vanderbilt). Three of the 14 wins were either neutral-site games or games at Baylor Ballpark in which the Bears were the visitor. Four of the 14 wins have come in postseason play, including two at the Big 12 Tournament and one at the College World Series.

            Baylor's luck was not as good in 2002 when the Bears were 1-5 in extra-inning games, including a span of three consecutive games lost in extra innings in mid-May.



            Five Baylor players garnered preseason accolades from various publications and outlets this year, including two preseason All-America honors.

            RHP Nick Cassavechia was a preseason All-America pick by Ping! Baseball (first team) and by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (third team).

            SS Beamer Weems was a second-team preseason All-America selection by and by Ping! Baseball. He was one of four players honored by Baseball America as "Best Defensive Players," and Weems also was listed as the nation's third-best shortstop by Baseball America also named Weems preseason All-Big 12 and listed him as the league's best defensive shortstop.

            RHP Shawn Tolleson was ranked second nationally on the 2008 Impact Freshmen List. He sat out the 2007 season as a medical redshirt.

            2B Raynor Campbell was named preseason All-Big 12 by Baseball America. The publication also listed him as the league's best defensive third baseman in a survey of the league's coaches (conducted last fall).

            RHP Kendal Volz was named the third-best pro prospect in the Big 12 Conference for the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft.



            Baseball America, with assistance from Major League Baseball scouting directors, has compiled a list of the top 50 draft prospects in each class. Six Baylor players are on those lists, including five players from the Bears' heralded 2006 signing class.

            RHP Shawn Tolleson was rated as the 15th-best prospect among freshmen; Tolleson, who missed the 2007 season with a medical redshirt, will be draft eligible in 2009 after his sophomore seasons.

            Four Bears appearend on the sophomore list: RF Aaron Miller (11th), RHP Kendal Volz (14th), 1B Dustin Dickerson (32nd) and 2B Raynor Campbell (50th). Of that group, only Campbell is draft eligible this season as he turns 21 within 45 days of the draft. Miller was an 11th-round draft pick of the Colorado Rockies in 2006. Dickerson (15th round, Washington Nationals) and Volz (50th round, Arizona Diamondbacks) also were drafted that year.

            RHP Randall Linebaugh was rated as the 14th-best prospect among seniors. Linebaugh, one of only two three-year lettermen on Baylor's 2008 roster, has never been drafted.



            RHP Nick Cassavechia was named to the 2008 Stopper of the Year Watch List, the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association announced. Cassavechia is one of 40 pitchers -- and one of only four from the Big 12 Conference -- on the initial list for the fourth-annual award given to the nation's top college closer. This is the second consecutive year he has been named to the award's preseason watch list. Other Big 12 pitchers on the watch list are Daniel Edwards (Kansas State), Kyle Gibson (Missouri) and Kyle Thebeau (Texas A&M).



            SS Beamer Weems was named to the 2008 Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List. He is one of 75 players on the list, which is the first of its kind for the Golden Spikes Award. The list is rolling, which means other players may be added throughout the season.

            The Golden Spikes Award is sponsored by Major League Baseball and administered by USA Baseball. This is the 31st year of the award. Past winners include Terry Francona (1980), Will Clark (1985), Robin Ventura (1988), Jason Varitek (1994) and Baylor's Jason Jennings (1999). David Price of Vanderbilt was the 2007 Golden Spikes Award winner.



            RHP Nick Cassavechia and SS Beamer Weems were named to the 2008 Brooks Wallace Award Preseason Watch List. Weems also was on the award's preseason watch list last year, while Cassavechia makes his first appearance.

            Dedicated to the memory of late Texas Tech shortstop and assistant coach Brooks Wallace, the award is in its fifth year and is given annually to the nation's top collegiate baseball player. Past winners are Kurt Suzuki (catcher, Cal State Fullerton, 2004), Alex Gordon (third baseman, Nebraska, 2005), Brad Lincoln (pitcher/designated hitter, Houston, 2006) and David Price (pitcher, Vanderbilt, 2007).



            Baylor is one of 15 NCAA Division I programs and one of only two from the Big 12 Conference with at least nine NCAA Tournament appearances in the past 10 years. The Bears have made nine tournament appearances in that time (missing only the 2004 event) with three Super Regional appearances and one College World Series appearance.

            Others on the elite list are: Arizona State (9), Cal State Fullerton (10), Clemson (10), Florida State (10), Miami, Fla. (10), Mississippi State (9), North Carolina (9), Oral Roberts (10), Rice (10), South Carolina (9), Stanford (9), Texas (9), Tulane (9) and Wichita State (9). Of that list, only Tulane did not participate in the 2007 NCAA Tournament.



            Baylor received a public recognition award from the NCAA Division I Academic Performance Program in 2007 for having an Academic Progress Rate (APR) score that ranks among the top 10 percent within their sport. The Bears' most-recent APR score was 983 with an adjusted squad size mark of 992. Baylor was one of 30 Division I programs honored by the NCAA. Head coach Steve Smith's squad was the only of Baylor's 19 varsity teams so honored.



            In what will prove to be an exception to the norm, Baylor plays only one midweek game next week. The Bears host Texas Southern for a 6:30 p.m. CST first pitch Tuesday, Feb. 26, at Baylor Ballpark.

            This will be the eighth meeting between Baylor and Texas Southern; the Bears have won all seven previous meetings, including two games last season.

            Baylor is 12-0 all-time against teams from the Southwestern Athletic Conference. In addition to Texas Southern, the Bears have played Prairie View A&M (4-0) and Southern (1-0). Two of Baylor's victories against SWAC programs have come in NCAA Tournament play; the Bears defeated Southern in the 2003 Hattiesburg Regional and Prairie View A&M in last year's Houston Regional.

            The Bears were 11-2 in regular-season midweek games last year, losing only at home to TCU and at second-ranked Rice. Over the past two seasons, Baylor is 24-6 in regular-season midweek contests. In Baylor's 2005 College World Series campaign, the Bears were just 7-8 in regular-season midweek games.

            RHP Wade Mackey is scheduled to start Tuesday's game against Texas Southern. Mackey was 3-0 with a 1.65 ERA in nine midweek starts last season. He tallied 30 strikeouts against 11 walks over 43.2 innings and held opponents to a .235 batting average. His best midweek start was a two-hit, complete-game shutout at 23rd-ranked TCU in early May that led to him being honored as Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Week.

            Mackey started two games against Texas Southern last season. The first was his first career victory; he held the Tigers to one run on three hits with two strikeouts in a predetermined 3.0-inning start. The second was his final midweek start of the season; he allowed one run on four hits with three strikeouts over 2.0 innings but did not factor in the decision (Baylor won 16-4).



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