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Baseball Hosts Kansas For Three-Game Set

Max Garner struck out a career-high nine batters in 6.1 innings in Sunday's win vs. Texas Tech.

Max Garner struck out a career-high nine batters in 6.1 innings in Sunday's win vs. Texas Tech.

March 22, 2012


    vs.   
Baylor (14-7, 3-0) vs. Kansas (10-10, 0-0)
March 23-25 | Waco, Texas | Baylor Ballpark (5,000)
GAME NOTES Get Acrobat Reader
FRI. | 3:05 P.M.
  Gametracker

Probable Starters:
BU - LHP Josh Turley
2-0, 2.48 ERA, 29.0 IP, 27 K
KU - RHP Frank Duncan

3-2, 3.37 ERA, 34.2 IP, 30 K
SAT. | 4:05 P.M.
    Gametracker

Probable Starters:
BU - RHP Trent Blank
5-0, 2.06 ERA, 35.0 IP, 17 K
KU - LHP Wes Benjamin

1-2, 3.27 ERA, 33.0 IP, 21 K
SUN. | 1:05 P.M.
    Gametracker

Probable Starters:
BU - RHP Max Garner
2-2, 6.05 ERA, 19.1 IP, 18 K
KU - RHP Thomas Taylor

2-2, 2.62 ERA, 34.1 IP, 21 K

Baylor returns to Big 12 Conference play when the Bears host Kansas for a three-game series at Baylor Ballpark this weekend. Baylor is riding a four-game winning streak after sweeping Texas Tech in the opening weekend of Big 12 play and defeating Sam Houston State on Wednesday night.

The Bears are looking for their best-ever start in Big 12 play. Baylor's 3-0 start is its best since sweeping No. 1 Texas to open the 2005 Big 12 season, and the Bears' best-ever start to Big 12 play came when the Bears won their first four conference games in 1999.

All Baylor baseball games are broadcast live in Waco, typically on 1660 ESPN Radio, but Friday's game will air on 92.9 FM due to a conflict with the men's basketball Sweet 16 game. If the men's basketball team advances to the Elite 8, Sunday's baseball game would be moved to 1590 AM. Tom Barfield provides the play-by-play with Lark Smith adding color commentary. Live streaming audio and GameTracker also are available for all Baylor baseball games online at www.BaylorBears.com, the official website of Baylor Athletics and a member of the CBS College Sports Network.

Live streaming video is available for most weekend home games. All three games of the Kansas series were scheduled to be available, but the time change for Friday's game does not allow for that game to have streaming video. Saturday and Sunday games will still have live video available. For more information, follow the Baylor All-Access link at www.BaylorBears.com.

SERIES INFORMATION
KANSAS JAYHAWKS
Overall:  Baylor leads 42-10
Waco:  Baylor leads 21-3
Lawrence:  Baylor leads 17-7
Neutral Site:  Baylor leads 4-0
Smith vs. KU:  37-10
First Meeting:  1957
Last Meeting:  4/3/2011

 

COACHES

BAYLOR:  Steve Smith

   Alma Mater: Baylor, 1986

   Career Record: 634-422-1 (18th season)

   Record at Baylor: 634-422-1 (18th season)

KANSAS: Ritch Price

   Alma Mater: Willamette, 1978
   Career Record: 526-480-3 (18th season)

   Record at KU: 309-260-2 (10th season)

 

BAYLOR-IMG COLLEGE SPORTS NETWORK

1660 ESPN RADIO or 1590 AM or 92.9 FM (Waco)

   Tom Barfield (pxp) and Lark Smith (color) 

HONORING A LEGEND
Baylor legend Mickey Sullivan passed away on Thursday morning in Waco after a long battle with cancer. He was 80 years old. Sullivan's memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at Baylor Ballpark, where his casket will rest at home plate.

Sullivan played three seasons on both the Baylor football and baseball teams. He remains the only Baylor baseball player ever to be named a first-team All-American in two seasons, and he established the Southwest Conference record with a .519 batting average in 1954.

Sullivan went on to coach 21 years at Baylor before turning over the reigns to current head coach Steve Smith at the end of the 1994 season.

BAYLOR - KANSAS SERIES HISTORY
Baylor is 42-10 in the all-time series against Kansas, including a 21-3 mark in games played in Waco and a 37-10 record during the Steve Smith era.

Two of Baylor's three losses against the Jayhawks in Waco came in a three-game series in 2010. Baylor dropped the series opener 9-8, but the Bears evened the series with a 9-8 win of their own in the Saturday game. Sunday's series finale went 14 innings, with the Jayhawks using a six-run outburst to take a 12-6 victory and earn their first-ever series win in Waco.

Last season, Baylor dropped the first two games against the Jayhawks in Lawrence before rebounding to salvage a win in the series finale. Kansas has won the last two series meetings after snapping a streak of 12 consecutive series wins by Baylor. The Jayhawks' only other series win against the Bears in Big 12 play came in the 1997 inaugural season.

CONSISTENCY IS KEY
Six Baylor players have started all 21 games in 2012, including four who have started at the same position in every game. Max Muncy (1B), Cal Towey (3B), Logan Vick (CF) and Jake Miller (SS) have started every game at the same position, while Lawton Langford (2B) has started 17 of the last 18 games, giving the Bears the same infield starters in 17 of 18 games since Feb. 21.

Nathan Orf (LF/DH) and Josh Ludy (C/DH) have also started every game. The consistency carries over to the batting order, as Orf (leadoff/3rd), Muncy (2nd/3rd), Ludy (cleanup/6th) and Vick (5th) have hit in two or fewer spots in the lineup in every game.

Adam Toth started 7 of the first 8 games in right field before breaking his wrist, and Logan Brown (10 games) and Michael Howard (5 games) have split time with Toth out.

BLANK-ING OPPONENTS
Baylor senior RHP Trent Blank leads the Big 12 Conference with five wins this season -- more victories than 41 Division I teams have through games of March 19. Combined with 15 teams sitting on five wins, Blank has as many victories as 56 Division I teams.

Blank's success can be attributed to a drop in his arm slot, which was done during a bullpen session at the recommendation of pitching coach Trevor Mote. Blank's first outing with the lower arm slot was May 10, 2011 at TCU, when he went 3.1 scoreless innings.

With the lower arm slot, Blank has combined to go 7-0 with a 2.90 ERA over 49.2 innings pitched. If one bad outing in the 2011 Houston Regional against California is removed from the record, he's gone 7-0 with a 2.02 ERA over 49.0 innings of work. Prior to changing his arm slot, Blank had gone 6-4 with a 6.15 ERA over 98.0 innings in his first two-and-a-half seasons at Baylor. Here's a before and after comparison of his numbers:

BEFORE
Feb. 9, 2009 -
April 30, 2011
AFTER
May 10, 2011 -
present
W-L 6-4 7-0
ERA 6.15 2.90
IP 98.0 49.2
H 124 39
R/ER 73/67 16/16
WHIP 1.643 1.128

QUICK NOTES
• Honoring a legend: Mickey Sullivan passed away Thursday morning in Waco after a long battle with cancer. The Bears' all-time winningest head coach was 80 years of age. He coached Baylor from 1974-1994.
• SERIES: Baylor leads the all-time series 42-10, including a 21-3 mark in games played in Waco and a 37-10 record during the Steve Smith era.
• Baylor is 2nd among teams receiving votes (No. 27) in the latest USATODAY/ESPN Coaches' Top 25 Poll.
• Baylor's staff ERA of 3.43 ranks 4th in the Big 12, while its .231 opponents' batting average ranks 3rd.
• The Bears play all five March weekends at home, but they play four of five midweek games on the road.
• Baylor snapped a 13-game homerless drought with 3 home runs in the first 3 innings of the series finale at UCLA (Feb. 26), but since then the Bears have gone 461 at-bats without a homer, including 14 straight games.
• 17 Baylor relievers have combined for 68 strikeouts, 63 hits and a .204 opponents' batting average over 88.0 IP.
• Baylor's bullpen went 18.0 innings before allowing its first run this season (9th inning vs. TCU).
• Baylor went 6-2 in its first 8 games of the season -- all against 2011 NCAA Tournament teams.
• Baylor's 8-2 start tied the second-best 10-game start of the 18-year Steve Smith era (9-1 in 2008).
• Seven Baylor starters have on-base percentages of .415 or higher, including five at .446 or above.
• Baylor tied an NCAA record with 10 batters hit by pitch on March 6 at TCU. The teams combined to hit 13 batters in the game, breaking the previous NCAA record of 12 combined hit batsmen.
• Baylor has 4 of the top 10 players in the Big 12 in walks drawn: Logan Vick ranks 2nd, Cal Towey and Max Muncy are tied for 5th and Michael Howard is tied for 10th in the league.
• Baylor is 12-3 at home in 2012, and BU is 50-21 in its last 71 home games (22-12 in Big 12 games).
• Baylor started a Big 12 season 3-0 for the first time since sweeping No. 1 Texas to open Big 12 play in 2005.
• Baylor's sweep of Texas Tech was its first Big 12 sweep since May 21-23, 2010 against Oklahoma State.
• According to WarrenNolan.com, Baylor has played the nation's 8th-toughest schedule to this point, which ranks No. 1 in the Big 12. Texas (No. 19) and Texas A&M (No. 20) are the only other Big 12 teams in the top 90.
• For the first time in Big 12 history, Baylor plays its first 9 conference games at home. Baylor's longest previous league-opening homestand was 7 games in 2003 (Bears went 5-2).
• Baylor is 3-3 this season when scoring three or fewer runs. The Bears were 3-22 in such games last season.
• Baylor is currently 18th nationally in total home attendance (37,740) and 20th in average (2,695).
• Baylor has ranked in the nation's top 25 in attendance in all 13 years since Baylor Ballpark opened in 1999.
• Baylor's 2-1 win vs. Memphis was its first victory with 3 hits or less since March 15, 2005 against TCU.
• Senior RHP Trent Blank leads the Big 12 with 5 wins -- more wins than 41 Division I teams entering this week.
• Blank leads the Big 12 in wins (5), ranks 4th in IP (35.0), 4th in opp. batting average (.188) and 3rd in ERA (2.06).
• Junior 1B Max Muncy has started 104 consecutive games at 1B for Baylor. He has missed one start in 141 team games since joining the Baylor program before the 2010 season.
• Junior CF Logan Vick has won Big 12 Player of the Week twice this season (Feb. 27 & March 19). He's the fifth player in program history to win multiple Big 12 Player of the Week awards in the same year.
• Baylor has swept two series this season (Oral Roberts, Texas Tech) after sweeping one series in 2011 (LaTech).
• Baylor has played two doubleheaders this season and has won both games both times.
• Baylor's 56-game 2012 schedule features 28 games against 2011 NCAA Tournament teams.
• Baylor's complete 2012 schedule is rated the 13th-toughest nationally (No. 1 in Big 12) by Boyd's World.
• Since the start of the 2003 season, Baylor is 25-16 in extra-inning games.
• Baylor returned 20 of 25 letterwinners from last season's 31-28 Houston Regional runner-up team.
• The Bears were picked fourth in the Big 12 preseason coaches' poll, behind Texas A&M, Texas and Oklahoma.
• Eight players on Baylor's roster have been selected in previous MLB Drafts.
• Baylor is 1 of 14 programs nationally to play in 12+ NCAA Tournaments since 1998.
• Baylor has been ranked in at least one in-season Baseball America Top 25 poll in 14 of the last 16 seasons.
• Three Baylor pitchers combined to carry a no-hitter through 7.2 IP in a 7-1 win vs. No. 15 TCU on Feb. 21.

UP NEXT
Baylor heads back out on the road for its furthest midweek road game to date. The Bears take on Houston at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Cougar Field. The game is the fourth and final midweek road game in the month of March for the Bears. Baylor plays all four March weekends at home, but four of their five midweek games are on the road.

Following Tuesday's game, the Bears return home to host the third of three consecutive home series to open the Big 12 Conference schedule. Baylor hosts Oklahoma State for three games starting at 6:35 p.m. Friday. Saturday's game is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. and Sunday's series finale is slated for a 1:05 p.m. first pitch.


 

 

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