March 27, 2008
Complete Release in PDF Format
GAMES 23-25 MARCH 28-30 L. DALE MITCHELL STADIUM NORMAN, OKLA.
No. 20 BAYLOR (15-7, 2-4) at OKLAHOMA (18-7-1, 0-2-1)
FRIDAY: 6:35 p.m. CST
SATURDAY: 2:00 p.m. CST
SUNDAY: 1:00 p.m. CST
Baylor returns to action this weekend, traveling to Norman, Okla., for a three-game Big 12 Conference series at Oklahoma. The Bears and the Sooners meet Friday at 6:35 p.m. CDT, Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. This is the third Big 12 series of the season for Baylor and the second Big 12 series of the season for Oklahoma.
The Bears (15-7, 2-4) won a pair of midweek games at home, defeating Houston Baptist 12-4 and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 11-8. Baylor was swept at Missouri last weekend. The Bears are 3-5 in road games this season, all coming on opponents' home fields. Baylor is ranked 20th nationally by Baseball America, 20th by Collegiate Baseball and 23rd by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. The Bears are the top team among those also receiving votes for the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll.
The Sooners (18-7-1, 0-2-1) defeated UT Arlington 6-5 at home Tuesday night. Oklahoma dropped the first two games at Nebraska last weekend; the series finale ended in an 8-8 tie. The Sooners enjoyed an 11-game winning streak earlier this season but are 4-4-1 since that streak. Oklahoma is 11-3 at home this season; all three losses were in the first three games of a four-game series against Washington State two weekends ago. The Sooners are unranked in all four major polls but are receiving votes for the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll.
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 www.BaylorBears.com, the official website of Baylor Athletics and a member of the CSTV Network. Live streaming video also is available for the Oklahoma series at www.SoonerSports.com.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Baylor: RHP Kendal Volz, So. (3-1, 3.31 ERA, 32.2 IP, 14 BB, 36 K)
Oklahoma: RHP Jeremy Erben, So. (0-0, 1.96 ERA, 23.0 IP, 11 BB, 18 K)
Baylor: RHP Shawn Tolleson, Fr. (2-1, 3.99 ERA, 29.1 IP, 12 BB, 22 K)
Oklahoma: RHP Andrew Doyle, So. (4-2, 2.50 ERA, 39.2 IP, 14 BB, 35 K)
Baylor: RHP Willie Kempf, So. (3-1, 3.62 ERA, 27.1 IP, 14 BB, 19 K)
Oklahoma: RHP Michael Rocha, Fr. (2-0, 3.94 ERA, 29.2 IP, 4 BB, 16 K)
Overall: Baylor leads 31-26
Waco: Baylor leads 21-10
Norman: Oklahoma leads 16-6
Neutral Site: Baylor leads 4-0
Since Start of Big 12: Baylor leads 20-15
Regular Season: Baylor leads 18-15
Postseason: Baylor leads 2-0
Smith vs. Oklahoma: 21-20
First Meeting: Baylor 8, Oklahoma 5 
Last Meeting: Baylor 7, Oklahoma 6 [5/26/2007]
BAYLOR: Steve Smith
Alma Mater: Baylor, 1986
Career Record: 503-318-1 [14th season]
Record at Baylor: 503-318-1 [14th season]
OKLAHOMA: Sunny Golloway
Alma Mater: Oklahoma Christian, 1984
Career Record: 426-208 [12th season]
Record at Oklahoma: 91-46 [4th season]
BAYLOR/ISP SPORTS NETWORK
1660 ESPN RADIO (Waco)
Tom Barfield, play-by-play
Lark Smith, color
Baylor and Oklahoma meet for the 58th, 59th and 60th times this weekend. The Bears hold a 31-26 advantage in the all-time series, which dates back to an 8-5 Baylor victory during the 1936 season.
This is the 12th series between the teams since the inception of the Big 12 Conference in 1997. The Bears have won seven of the previous 11 series; each team has one sweep. The home team has won each of the last seven series since Baylor won two of three at Norman in 2000. The Bears took two of three at home last season and lost two of three at Norman in 2006.
Baylor holds a 20-15 advantage in games as Big 12 foes, including a 2-0 edge in games at the Big 12 Championship. The Sooners, however, hold a 16-6 advantage in games played at Norman, winning eight of the last 10 games played at Mitchell Stadium.
STREAKS AND TIDBITS
Baylor allowed 17 hits in Wednesday's win against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. That was the most hits Baylor has allowed in a victory since the Bears allowed 17 hits Feb. 9, 2003, in an 11-9, 11-inning win at Arizona. ... LF Ben Booker is 5-for-36 (.139) since capping a nine-game hitting streak with a three-hit, five-RBI performance March 9 at Mississippi State. ... 1B/DH Dustin Dickerson is 1-for-11 (.091) since capping a career-long 11-game hitting streak with a 1-for-2 outing in the series opener at Missouri. ... Dickerson has reached safely in 20 of 22 games this season and 48 of the last 50 dating back to last season. ... C Gregg Glime is 0-for-12 (.000) since capping a career-long five-game hitting streak with a fourth-inning single in the Oklahoma State series finale. ... 3B Shaver Hansen has not gone hitless in consecutive games since games three and four of the season. Hansen is hitting .387 (24-for-62) since those consecutive hitless games. ... 1B/DH Adam Hornung is hitting .385 (20-for-52) over the last 14 games, hitting safely in 11 of those contests. ... RHP Willie Kempf walked either three or four batters in each of his first four starts this season. Interestingly, he had a season-low one walk in his last start, his only loss of the season. ... C Brooks Kimmey has hit safely in four of his five starts this season. ... RHP Tim Matthews has not allowed an earned run in six of his seven appearances this season, including each of the last four. ... RF Aaron Miller was hitless in the first two games of the Oklahoma State series. It marked the first time in his 56-game college career that Miller was held hitless in consecutive games. ... Miller has 18 RBI on the season, 11 of which have come via home runs. ... Dating back to last season, RHP Kendal Volz has recorded at least 10 strikeouts in four of his last eight starts. ... Since allowing five earned runs over 2.1 innings in his first career start, RHP Shawn Tolleson has posted a 2.67 ERA (8 ER, 27.0 IP) with 19 strikeouts against eight walks and a .229 opponents' batting average. He has lasted at least 5.0 innings in all four starts. ... 2B Landis Ware, who opened his career with a six-game hitting streak, was held hitless in consecutive games for the first time in his career in the first two games of the Missouri series. He is 4-for-9 (.444) with three walks since.
Baylor is 7-2 this season in one-run games after going 4-5 in such contests last season. The Bears already are one one-run win shy of matching their season total from 2006 (8-7). Baylor's 2005 College World Series squad was 15-8 in one-run games; the previous year, the Bears led the nation in one-run games (23) and one-run losses (16).
Baylor is 11-4 this season in weekend games, sweeping series against Purdue and Mississippi State, winning all three games at the QTI Baylor Classic (Illinois, Illinois-Chicago and Stephen F. Austin), and winning two of three last weekend against Oklahoma State. In fact, dating back to last season, the Bears have won 14 of 18 regular-season weekend games. Baylor swept Kansas State in the final Big 12 series last year.
BEARS DROPS TO No. 20 IN BASEBALL AMERICA TOP 25
Baylor dropped six spots to No. 20 in this week's Baseball America Top 25, released Monday by the publication. The Bears were one of eight teams to drop at least one spot in this week's ranking. Baylor was 0-3 last week, dropping all three games in a weekend series at Missouri, which moved up two spots to No. 2 nationally as the highest ranked Big 12 Conference team.
Arizona State was ranked No. 1 for the second consecutive week, followed by Missouri, North Carolina, Miami, Fla., and Long Beach State, which swept preseason No. 1 UCLA over the weekend. Former No. 1 Arizona dropped two spots to No. 6; UC Irvine, Florida State, Vanderbilt and South Carolina rounded out the top 10. Texas (13th) and Nebraska (19th) joined Baylor and Missouri to give the Big 12 four teams in the Top 25.
The Bears also dropped out of the of the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll after being ranked No. 13 last week. Baylor was the leader among teams also receiving votes for the poll and just one point out of the ranking. The Bears dropped five spots to No. 20 in this week's Collegiate Baseball Top 30.
BAYLOR IS EXTRA SPECIAL
Baylor is 15-4 in extra-inning games since the start of the 2003 season, including a 1-0 mark in such games this season. Baylor was 2-1 in extra-inning games last season, 0-1 in 2006, 6-1 in 2005, 1-0 in 2004 and 5-1 in 2003.
Five of the 15 wins over the past six seasons have come on an opponent's home field (Arizona twice, Arizona State, Texas and Vanderbilt). Three of the 15 wins were either neutral-site games or games at Baylor Ballpark in which the Bears were the visitor. Four of the 15 wins have come in postseason play (two at the Big 12 Tournament, one in the NCAA Regional round 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 during mid-May.
FIVE BAYLOR GAMES SLATED FOR TELEVISION
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 AMONG NATIONAL APR LEADERS
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.
CASSAVECHIA AMONG NATIONAL CAREER SAVES LEADERS
RHP Nick Cassavechia entered the 2008 season with 19 career saves, a total that was tied for second in Baylor history and led all active Big 12 Conference pitchers. Furthermore, Cassavechia ranked 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 Manning (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 his 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 BALLPARK CELEBRATES MILESTONE GAME
Baylor's 2008 season opener was the Bears' 300th game at Baylor Ballpark. The Bears are 225-83 (.731) 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 was the Bears' 300th game at Baylor Ballpark, the facility already had 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.
TRIPLE YOUR PLEASURE
Baylor batters tallied 58 triples over the past two seasons. Only Arizona (62) and Charlotte (59) 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.
BIG 12 COACHES PICK BAYLOR THIRD
Baylor was picked third in the 2008 Big 12 Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll. 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).
FIVE BEARS EARN PRESEASON HONORS
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). Cassavechia also was named to the preseason watch lists for the Wallace Award, the Clemens Award and the NCBWA National Stopper of the Year.
SS Beamer Weems was a second-team preseason All-America selection by Rivals.com 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 CSTV.com. Baseball America also named Weems preseason All-Big 12 and listed him as the league's best defensive shortstop. In addition, Weems was named to preseason watch lists for the Golden Spikes Award and the Wallace Award.
RHP Shawn Tolleson was ranked second nationally on the Rivals.com 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.
SIX BEARS ON BASEBALL AMERICA'S PRESEASON DRAFT LISTS
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.
BEARS ON SHORT LIST FOR RECENT NCAA SUCCESS
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 plays a pair of midweek games next week, one on the road and one at home. Tuesday, the Bears travel to Fort Worth, Texas, for a 7 p.m. CDT game at TCU; the game will be televised nationally on CBS College Sports. Wednesday, Baylor hosts UTSA for a 6:30 p.m. game at Baylor Ballpark.