March 8, 2007
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GAMES 17-19 MARCH 9-11, 2007
QUALA-T IMPRINTS BAYLOR CLASSIC
BAYLOR BALLPARK WACO, TEXAS
BAYLOR: Steve Smith
Alma Mater: Baylor, 1986
Career Record: 464-290-1 [13th season]
Record at Baylor: 464-290-1 [13th season]
SAN FRANCISCO: Nino Giarratano
Alma Mater: William Jewell, 1985
Career Record: 230-241 [9th season]
Record at USF: 230-241 [9th season]
MISSISSIPPI STATE: Ron Polk
Alma Mater: Grand Canyon, 1965
Career Record: 1,320-648-2 [34th season]
Record at MSU: 1,086-536-2 [28th season]
WINTHROP: Joe Hudak
Alma Mater: Malone College, 1972
Career Record: 754-505-5 [24th season]
Record at Winthrop: 551-368-5 [16th season]
1660 ESPN RADIO (Waco)
Tom Barfield, play-by-play
Lark Smith, color
Baseball America NR
USA Today/ESPN Coaches RV
Collegiate Baseball NR
Baylor returns to action this weekend, hosting Mississippi State, San Francisco and Winthrop for the Quala-T Imprints Baylor Classic at Baylor Ballpark. The Bears face San Francisco at 6:30 p.m. CST Friday, Mississippi State at 6:30 p.m. Saturday and Winthrop at 4 p.m. CDT Sunday. This is the second rendition of the event, which featured Baylor, Michigan, Pacific and champion Louisiana Tech last season.
Baylor (10-6) snapped a brief two-game losing streak Tuesday night with a 6-4 victory over Texas State at Baylor Ballpark. It was the fifth come-from-behind victory this season for the Bears, who erased a 4-1 deficit in the middle innings. Baylor has won 16 of its last Unranked in this week's Baseball America Top 25, Baylor is among teams receiving votes in this week's USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll.
San Francisco (8-6) posted a 1-1 record at last weekend's Pacific State Bank Tiger Classic in Stockton, Calif., with one suspended game. After falling to Baylor 5-4 in the first game of the Tiger Classic, USF defeated San Diego State 3-1. The Dons and host Pacific were tied 5-5 through 12 innings in the event's finale when the game was suspended due to darkness; it is scheduled to be completed May 8. USF is unranked in all four major polls.
Mississippi State (8-1) plays its first games away from home this weekend. The Bulldogs have won three straight after midweek wins over UAB (12-10) and Jacksonville State (11-9). Unranked in this week's Baseball America Top 25, MSU is amon teams receiving votes in this week's NCBWA Top 30.
Winthrop (10-7) is 3-5 in its last eight games with wins in each of their last two games. The Eagles were 2-1 last weekend in the Winthrop Challenge, falling to Temple 5-4 before defeating Kent State 9-1 and East Tennessee State 5-2. Unranked in this week's Baseball America Top 25, Winthrop is among teams receiving votes in this week's NCBWA Top 30.
All Baylor baseball games are broadcast live on Waco's 1660 ESPN Radio. Live streaming audio is available for all Baylor baseball games online at www.BaylorBears.com, the official website of Baylor Athletics and a member of the CSTV Network.
GameTracker live stats are available for all six games of the Quala-T Imprints Baylor Classic at www.BaylorBears.com. Live streaming video also is available for Baylor's games. For more information, follow the Baylor All-Access link at www.BaylorBears.com.
QUALA-T IMPRINTS BAYLOR CLASSIC SCHEDULE
Winthrop (RHP Alex Wilson) vs. Mississippi State (RHP Aaron Weatherford), 2:30 p.m.
San Francisco (RHP Mitchell Bialosky) vs. Baylor (RHP Jeff Mandel), 6:30 p.m.
San Francisco (LHP Aaron Poreda) vs. Winthrop (RHP Ryan Schwartz), 2:30 p.m.
Mississippi State (LHP Justin Pigott) vs. Baylor (RHP Kendal Volz), 6:30 p.m.
Mississippi State (RHP Josh Johnson) vs. San Francisco (LHP Matt Baugh), noon
Winthrop (RHP Jason Franzblau) vs. Baylor (RHP Randall Linebaugh), 4 p.m.
Since the start of the 2003 season, Baylor is:
- 124-46 (.729) when its starting pitcher lasts at least 5.0 innings
- 30-7 (.811) when its pitching staff records at least 10 strikeouts
- 117-33 (.780) when scoring first
- 135-25 (.844) when out-hitting its opponent
- 127-35 (.784) when holding its opponent to fewer than five runs
- 114-22 (.838) when scoring at least six runs
- 103-15 (.873) when scoring at least seven runs
Since the start of the 2002 season, Baylor is 163-7 (.959) when leading after eight innings. The Bears have won 23 straight, 57 of their last 58 and 92 of their last 94 such games.
Baylor has won 22 of its last 23 games when hitting at least two home runs.
Baylor is 14-3 in extra-inning games since the start of the 2003 season.
The Bears are 41-9 (.820) at Baylor Ballpark since the start of the 2005 postseason.
Baylor is 19-3 all-time at Baylor Ballpark in finales with a chance to sweep a three-game series (does not include the Texas and Texas A&M split series).
The Bears have three walk-off victories this season, one shy of their total from the last two seasons combined.
Baylor has out-scored its opponents 19-1 in the eighth inning and 19-5 in the second inning this season.
Baylor's bullpen is 6-0 with a 2.45 ERA this season.
Baylor is 7-for-22 (.318) this season with the bases loaded.
The Bears are hitting .310 (78-for-252) with runners on base this season but only .257 (43-for-167) with runners in scoring position. That means Baylor is hitting .412 (35-for-85) with a runner only at first base.
Baylor plays its next seven games and 23 of its next 27 games against 2006 NCAA Tournament participants.
3B Raynor Campbell has hit safely and/or produced an RBI in eight consecutive games; he is hitting .424 (14-for-33) in that time.
RHP Nick Cassavechia has stranded 28 of 32 inherited runners in his career.
1B/DH Dustin Dickerson has two hits in his last 29 at bats (.069). His second-inning single Tuesday against Texas State snapped an 0-for-16 skid.
CF Chase Gerdes has reached safely and/or scored in 15 of 16 games this season. He also is hitting .375 (9-for-24) over the last eight games.
1B/DH Tim Jackson is 6-for-9 (.667) in his Baylor career with the bases loaded.
Both of Jackson's home runs this season have tied the score and set the stage for Baylor to win the game with the next run scored.
Baylor is 13-4 in RHP Randall Linebaugh's 17 career starts, including a 13-2 mark in 15 career regular-season starts.
Linebaugh is 6-1 with four no-decisions in 11 career starts in which he lasted at least 5.0 innings.
RHP Jeff Mandel has been given just three runs of support in his last two starts, both losses despite allowing only five earned runs in 13.2 innings (3.29 ERA).
RHP Tim Matthews is 2-1 with two saves and a 1.33 ERA in his career as a reliever. He has allowed just four earned runs over 27.0 innings in 17 career relief apperances.
Matthews has allowed one earned run in his last 13 relief appearances, dating back to last season.
RF Aaron Miller has hit safely in all but three games this season.
Miller has reached safely in 15 of 16 games this season, including eight straight.
THE SAN FRANCISCO SERIES
Baylor and San Francisco meet for the second time ever Friday. The two teams first met last Friday at the Pacific State Bank Tiger Classic in Stockton, Calif. The Bears won that game 5-4 on Aaron Miller's ninth-inning walk-off RBI double.
Overall: Baylor leads 1-0
Waco: Never Met
San Francisco: Never Met
Neutral Site: Baylor leads 1-0
Smith vs. USF: 1-0
First Meeting: Baylor 5, USF 4 [3/2/2007]
Last Meeting: Baylor 5, USF 4 [3/2/2007]
BAYLOR vs. THE WEST COAST CONFERENCE
Baylor is 3-1 all-time against current members of the West Coast Conference. The Bears' only games against a WCC opponent prior to last Friday was in 2004 when Baylor took two of three in a series against Loyola Marymount in Waco.
THE MISSISSIPPI STATE SERIES
Baylor and Mississippi State meet for the sixth time Saturday. The Bears hold a slim 3-2 advantage in the all-time series, which dates back to 1925.
The last time Baylor and Mississippi State met, a trip to Omaha was on the line. After beating the Bulldogs 3-0 in the first round of the 1978 NCAA South Central Regional at Arlington Stadium, the Bears defeated UT-Pan American 3-2 and then edged Mississippi State 6-3 to win the regional and advance to the College World Series for the second straight season.
Baylor and Mississippi State first met March 23, 1925, in Waco. The Bears lost that game 10-4 but bounced back to beat the Bulldogs 6-5 the following day. The teams did not meet again until April 16, 1960, when MSU defeated Baylor 14-2 at the Easter Tournament in Monroe, La.
Overall: Baylor leads 3-2
Waco: Tied 1-1
Starkville: Never Met
Neutral Site: Baylor leads 2-1
Smith vs. MSU: 0-0
First Meeting: Baylor 6, MSU 3 [5/22/1978]
Last Meeting: MSU 10, at Baylor 4 [3/23/1925]
BAYLOR vs. THE SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE
Baylor is 53-50 all-time against current members of the Southeastern Conference, including a 12-12 mark during head coach Steve Smith's tenure. The majority of Baylor's history against SEC teams involves former Southwest Conference foe Arkansas, agaisnt which the Bears are 37-36 all-time.
The Bears are 5-3 against Vanderbilt, 2-6 against Louisiana State, 4-1 against Mississippi, 3-2 against Mississippi State, 1-1 against Florida, 1-0 against Tennessee and 0-1 against South Carolina.
Nine of Baylor's 30 games against SEC teams other than Arkansas have come in NCAA Tournament play; the Bears are 4-5 in those games.
THE WINTHROP SERIES
Baylor and Winthrop meet for just the second time ever Sunday. The Bears won the previous meeting 17-6 March 6, 2002, at Baylor Ballpark.
Overall: Baylor leads 1-0
Waco: Baylor leads 1-0
Rock Hill: Never Met
Neutral Site: Never Met
Smith vs. Winthrop: 1-0
First Meeting: at Baylor 17, Winthrop 6 [3/6/2002]
Last Meeting: at Baylor 17, Winthrop 6 [3/6/2002]
BAYLOR vs. THE BIG SOUTH CONFERENCE
Winthrop is the only member of the Big South Conference Baylor has ever faced.
QIBC FEATURES MANY CONNECTIONS
Baylor head coach Steve Smith and assistant coaches Mitch Thompson and Steve Johnigan all previously served as assistant coaches at Mississippi State under Bulldogs' head coach Ron Polk.
Thompson and Johnigan both received Master of Science degrees from Mississippi State
Winthrop head coach Joe Hudak also served as an assistant at Misssissippi State under Polk. In fact, Johnigan replaced Hudak on the MSU staff when the latter took the head job at Winthrop.
Winthrop RHP Owen Reid began his collegiate career at Baylor. Reid posted a 1-1 record with a 6.75 ERA over 18.2 innings in 11 appearances and one start last season for the Bears.
BAYLOR IN THE BIG 12 STATISTICAL RANKINGS
Through games of March 7, Baylor ranks 10th in the Big 12 Conference in batting average (.252), third in ERA (3.04) and seventh in fielding (.964).
Individually, SS Beamer Weems is tied for seventh in home runs (3). LF Ben Booker is tied for third in triples (3), while RF Aaron Miller is tied for sixth in three-baggers (2).
RHP Randall Linebaugh is 14th in the league with a 2.57 ERA, seventh among pitchers with at least four starts. RHP Jeff Mandel is third in strikeouts (29); Mandel's 10.58 strikeouts-per-nine-innings average ranks third in the league among pitchers with at least four starts. RHP Nick Cassavechia is tied for third in wins (3) and tied for seventh in saves (2). Cassavechia and RHP Tim Matthews are tied for fifth in appearances (8), while RHP Jake Weghorst is tied for 10th in appearances (7).
BEARS STRONG IN LATE INNINGS
Baylor has posted five come-from-behind victories this season, largely due to the Bears' dominance of the late innings. Through 16 games, Baylor has out-scored its opponents 32-18 from the seventh inning on, including a 19-1 advantage in the eighth inning.
Meanwhile, Baylor's bullpen has been much stronger than the opponents' bullpen. The Bears' pen is 6-0 this season with a 2.45 ERA and a .259 opponents' batting average. Opposing bullpens, on the other hand, have posted an 0-5 record with a 6.48 ERA; Baylor is hitting .291 off opposing relievers.
Baylor is hitting .338 (22-for-65) as a team in the eighth inning with four doubles, three triples, one home run, 17 RBI and a .443 on base percentage. The only other inning in which the Bears are hitting .300 or better is the second inning (.328, 21-for-64). Baylor has out-scored its opponents 19-5 in the second inning.
On the mound, Baylor pitchers posted a 1.96 ERA from the seventh inning on. The Bears have not allowed an eighth-inning earned run this season.
Baylor is 7-0 when leading after six innings and 2-1 when tied after six. The Bears are 8-0 when leading after seven innings and 1-0 when tied after seven. Baylor is 7-0 when leading after eighth and 2-0 when tied after eight.
BAYLOR BEGINS TOUGH STRETCH
Friday's game against San Francisco is Baylor's first of seven straight against 2006 NCAA Tournament participants. In fact, Baylor plays 23 of its next 27 against 2006 regional participants. The only games between Friday and April 22 against teams that did not reach the NCAA Tournament last season are a three-game series at home against Texas State and a midweek game against Texas Southern at Baylor Ballpark. After the Texas Tech series, Baylor plays 16 consecutive games against 2006 regional participants.
A LITTLE HELP, PLEASE
RHP Jeff Mandel has been given just seven runs of support in his three losses this season, including three runs of support in his last two starts. Meanwhile, Mandel allowed just five earned runs in 13.2 innings (3.29 ERA) in his last two starts. Baylor batters have given Mandel 4.25 runs of support in his four starts, the lowest of Baylor's five starters.
Mandel has posted a 3.20 ERA in his last three starts, allowing seven earned runs in 19.2 innings. He has 24 strikeouts against five walks and has held opponents to a .234 batting average in that time. However, he is only 1-2 in those three starts.
BEARS ARE EXTRA SPECIAL
Baylor is 14-3 in extra-inning games since the start of the 2003 season, including a 2-0 mark in such games this season. Last year, the Bears lost their only extra-inning game -- a 13-inning, 7-6 loss at home to Texas. Baylor was 6-1 in extra-inning games 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.
TRIPLE YOUR PLEASURE
Through games of March 7, Baylor is second in the Big 12 Conference with nine triples this season. LF Ben Booker is tied for third with three triples, while RF Aaron Miller is tied for sixth with two triples. 3B Raynor Campbell, Dickerson, Gerdes and 1B/DH Tim Jackson also have one triple each.
Last season, Baylor tied for second nationally with 32 triples, which also tied for the fourth-best season total in school history.
MIDWEEK SUCCESS CONTINUES
Baylor improved to 17-4 in non-conference midweek games since the start of the 2006 season after Tuesday's 6-4 victory over Texas State, including a 15-3 mark on Tuesdays. The Bears have won 10 consecutive Tuesday games and 17 straight Tuesday home games against non-ranked opponents. Baylor was 7-8 in non-conference midweek games during the 2005 season, including a 6-6 mark on Tuesdays.
BEARS STRONG AT BAYLOR BALLPARK
Baylor's series-finale loss to Oral Roberts earlier this season snapped a 14-game winning streak for the Bears at Baylor Ballpark. It was Baylor's longest home winning streak since a facility-record 15-game run in 2000.
Since the start of the 2005 postseason, the Bears are 41-9 (.820) at Baylor Ballpark. Six of those nine losses were to ranked opponents. Baylor also has five home wins against ranked opponents during that time, including a sweep of fifth-ranked Nebraska last May.
Baylor has lost consecutive home games only once since the start of the 2005 postseason: a 6-4 loss to second-ranked Rice on a Josh Rodriguez ninth-inning home run and a 7-6, 13-inning loss to eighth-ranked Texas two days later.
CASSAVECHIA NAMED TO STOPPER WATCH LIST
RHP Nick Cassavechia was named to the 2007 Stopper of the Year Watch List, announced in early February by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Cassavechia joined Texas sophomore Austin Wood as the only Big 12 pitchers on the 35-man list.
A product of St. Mark's High School in Dallas, Texas, Cassavechia posted a 3-4 record with eight saves and a 3.03 ERA as a sophomore in 2006. He stranded 24 of 27 inherited runners (88.9 percent) and held a lead or a tie in 16 of 18 opportunities (88.9 percent). Cassavechia was dominate when entering a game as opponents were 2-for-25 (.080) in first at bats against the Baylor closer.
Cassavechia's 2006 saves total tied for the sixth-best tally in school history. He tied fellow Bear Jeff Mandel for fourth in the Big 12 last season in saves. Cassavechia and Mandel, who moves to the starting rotation for 2007, are the two top returning pitchers in saves in the conference this year.
SCHEDULE AMONG NATION'S TOUGHEST
Baylor's 2007 schedule is projected as the nation's 20th-most difficult slate, according to Boyd Nation of BoydsWorld.com. The Bears' schedule is rated as the third-most difficult in the Big 12 behind Texas (10th) and Texas A&M (17th). In fact, Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M and Georgia (18th) are the only non-California and/or non-Pac 10 teams in the top 25.
Long Beach State's schedule is predicted to be the most difficult, followed by Southern California, UCLA, Stanford, Cal Poly, Pacific, Cal State Northridge, Cal State Fullerton, UC Santa Barbara and Texas.
BEARS PICKED FOURTH IN PRESEASON BIG 12 COACHES' POLL
Baylor was picked to finish fourth in the Big 12 Conference, according to the preseason coaches' poll released by the league office. The Bears garnered 57 total points, seven behind third-place Nebraska and 11 ahead of fifth-place Oklahoma.
Defending regular-season champion Texas was picked as the preseason favorite, receiving 79 total points and seven of nine first-place votes. Oklahoma State was picked to finish second with 70 points and two first-place votes. Texas Tech was picked to finish sixth, followed by Texas A&M, Missouri, Kansas and Kansas State. Coaches are not permitted to vote for their own teams.
This is the third consecutive season in which Baylor was picked to finish fourth in the preseason coaches' poll. In the 10-year history of the Big 12 Conference, only five schools have claimed regular-season titles: Baylor (2000, 2005); Nebraska (2001, 2003, 2005); Texas (2002, 2004, 2006); Texas A&M (1998, 1999) and Texas Tech (1997).
BAYLOR RANKED NATION'S 17TH-BEST PROGRAM
Baylor was listed as the nation's 17th-best collegiate baseball program since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1999, according to a recent study by Baseball America. The publication's study focused on 11 categories, including winning percentage, NCAA Tournament appearances, tradition, All-Americans and players drafted in the top 10 rounds.
With 150 total points, Baylor was the third highest-rated Big 12 Conference program behind only top-rated Texas and 11th-rated Nebraska. Miami, Fla., Stanford, Cal State Fullerton, Rice, Louisiana State, Florida State, Clemson, South Carolina and Southern California rounded out the top 10 of the 64-team list. Other Big 12 programs on the list were Texas A&M (24th), Oklahoma State (29th), Oklahoma (35th), Texas Tech (40th) and Missouri (59th).
Baseball America last did such a study in 1997 and focused only on the 1990s. Baylor ranked 80th in that study; the Bears' 63-spot jump was the second-largest behind only Tulane, which climbed from 83rd in 1997 to one spot ahead of Baylor at No. 16 in this study. With that, Baylor ranked second in the publication's list of top five "rising" programs; Rice and Wake Forest, both up 59 spots, tied for third on the list, followed by Nebraska (up 51 spots).
Programs were awarded one point for every .010 above a .500 winning percentage, five points for each regional appearance, seven points for each super regional appearance, 10 points for each College World Series appearance, 20 points for each national title, one point for each CWS appearance prior to 1999, five points for each first-team All-American, three points for each second-team All-American, two points for each third-team All-American, two points for each player drafted in the top 10 rounds and two points for each former player to play in the Major Leagues during the period of study.
With 19 players drafted in the top 10 rounds since 1999, Baylor tied Louisiana State, Nebraska, North Carolina and Texas A&M for 11th in that category. The Bears tied for 15th in total All-Americans since 1999. Baylor also is one of only 20 programs to make at least seven NCAA Tournament appearances in the last eight years.
BAYLOR/ISP SPORTS NETWORK
Catch every inning of Baylor baseball in 2006 on the flagship station for Baylor athletics, 1660 ESPN Radio.
Popular on-air personality Tom Barfield enters his fourth season as the primary play-by-play man for Baylor baseball. Barfield, the operations manager for KRZI/KRZX and KLRK-FM in Waco, is best known as co-host of the afternoon "You Make the Call" call-in show. Barfield also serves as host for the "Countdown to Kickoff" and "The Baylor Fifth Quarter Show" during football season. He has previously served as the radio voice for Tarleton State, McLennan Community College, Mary Hardin-Baylor and several high schools across the state.
Barfield is joined by Lark Smith in the booth. Smith, whose attachment to Baylor baseball dates back to the days of coach Dutch Schroeder, was sports director for the Baylor campus radio station in the late 1970s and served as play-by-play voice for the Bears' 1977 and 1978 College World Series teams. After nearly two decades in broadcasting, Smith now works for the Heart O' Texas Federal Credit Union in Waco.
Live audio for all Baylor baseball games also are available online at www.BaylorBears.com.
INSIDE BAYLOR SPORTS
Inside Baylor Sports, a half-hour look at the world of Baylor athletics, airs weekly throughout Central Texas and the region. The program, co-hosted by John Morris and Lori Scott-Fogleman, airs on KCEN-TV Channel 6, Fox Sports Net Southwest and the College Channel (Waco cable channel 18). KCEN carries the show at 10:30 p.m. Sundays, and it airs at 1 p.m. Wednesdays on FSN Southwest.
HEAD COACH Steve Smith
Steve Smith is in his 13th season as head coach of Baylor's baseball program in 2007. In his first 12 years, Smith guided the program to unprecedented heights, including the most successful nine-year run in the program's 102-season history and a College World Series appearance in 2005.
Smith has compiled a 464-290-1 career record, all at Baylor. He ranks second among the program's 18 head coaches in career victories. Smith has led Baylor to eight NCAA Regional appearances, three NCAA Super Regional appearances, one College World Series appearance and two Big 12 Conference titles. He also has coached 12 All-America selections and seven USA Baseball National Team members while at Baylor.
The 2005 USA Baseball National Team head coach, Smith came to Baylor from Mississippi State, where he was an assistant under Ron Polk for five seasons. Prior to that, he served as a graduate assistant for Mark Johnson at Texas A&M from 1987 to 1989.
A former standout pitcher at Baylor in 1982-1983, Smith led the Southwest Conference with a 1.72 ERA as a junior. He was drafted in the fifth round of the 1983 Major League draft by the San Francisco Giants and played four years of pro ball before moving into the coaching ranks.
Smith has tutored seven pitchers in the last 13 years who were selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft. He also has coached at least one all-conference pitcher in each of the last 13 years.
UP NEXT ...
Baylor continues a five-game home stand Tuesday, March 13, hosting Winthrop for a 6:30 p.m. CDT first pitch. This is Baylor's final game before starting Big 12 Conference play next weekend against Texas.