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Bears Leave Lone Star State

RHP Willie Kempf is scheduled to start Sunday's series finale.

RHP Willie Kempf is scheduled to start Sunday's series finale.

April 2, 2009

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GAMES 26-28    APRIL 3-5    HOGLUND BALLPARK    LAWRENCE, KAN.

No. 7 BAYLOR (18-7, 5-4) at KANSAS (17-10, 3-3)

FRIDAY:  6:00 p.m. CDT

SATURDAY :  2:00 p.m. CDT

SUNDAY :  1:00 p.m. CDT

 

 

Baylor returns to action this weekend, traveling to Lawrence, Kan., for a three-game Big 12 Conference series at Kansas. The Bears and Jayhawks meet Friday at 6 p.m. CDT, Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.; all games will be played at Hoglund Ballpark on the Kansas campus. This is Baylor’s fourth Big 12 series, while Kansas plays its third conference series this weekend.

                The Bears (18-7, 5-4) are 7-3 in their last 10 games. Baylor split a pair of midweek home games, dropping a 5-3 decision Tuesday against Texas State and defeating Prairie View A&M 14-1 in seven innings Wednesday. The Bears took two of three at home against Kansas State last weekend. Baylor is 4-3 away from home this season, including a 2-2 mark on opponents’ home fields. The Bears play their first games this season outside the state of Texas this weekend.

                Baylor is ranked seventh nationally in this week’s Baseball America Top 25 and 12th in this week’s USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ Poll. Baylor also is ranked 11th in the NCBWA Top 30 and 11th in the Collegiate Baseball Top 30.

                The Jayhawks (17-10, 3-3) are 7-3 in their last 10 games. Kansas won a pair of midweek home games against Northern Colorado, winning 8-6 on Nick Faunce’s walk-off, three-run homer Tuesday and easing to a 15-6 victory Wednesday. The Jayhawks were swept last weekend at Texas A&M, losing the three games by five total runs with two one-run losses. Kansas has been involved in the only two sweeps in Big 12 play this season, sweeping Texas at home two weeks ago. The Jayhawks are 14-0 at home this season. Kansas is unranked in all four major polls.

                Baylor and Kansas have played no common opponents this season.

                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 CBS College Sports Network.

                Live streaming video also is available for the Kansas State series. For more information, follow the Baylor All-Access link at www.BaylorBears.com.

 

 

PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS

FRIDAY

Baylor:  RHP Kendal Volz, Jr. (2-2, 3.00 ERA, 39.0 IP, 16 BB, 32 K, .241 OBA)

Kansas:  LHP Shaeffer Hall, Jr. (2-2, 2.27, 39.2 IP, 6 BB, 27 K, .233 OBA)

 

SATURDAY

Baylor:  RHP Logan Verrett, Fr. (7-0, 2.25 ERA, 32.0 IP, 7 BB, 42 K, .281 OBA)

Kansas:  RHP T.J. Walz, So. (2-0, 3.90 ERA, 30.0 IP, 9 BB, 31 K, .250 OBA)

 

SUNDAY

Baylor:  RHP Willie Kempf, Jr. (2-1, 3.86 ERA, 16.1 IP, 14 BB, 16 K, .211 OBA)

Kansas:  RHP Lee Ridenhour, Fr. (3-2, 2.79 ERA, 38.2 IP, 10 BB, 25 K, .217 OBA)

 

 

SERIES INFORMATION

Overall:   Baylor leads 36-5

                Waco:     Baylor leads 20-1

                Lawrence:               Baylor leads 14-4

                Neutral Site:            Baylor leads 2-0

Smith vs. Kansas:  31-5

First Meeting:         at Baylor 8, Kansas 1 [1957]

Last Meeting:         at Baylor 17, Kansas 7 [4/6/2008]

 

 

COACHES

BAYLOR:                Steve Smith

                Alma Mater:            Baylor, 1986

                Career Record:      540-344-1 [15th season]

                Record at Baylor:  540-344-1 [15th season]

 

KANSAS: Ritch Price

                Alma Mater:            Willamette, 1978

                Career Record:      437-397-2 [15th season]

                Record at Kansas: 220-179-1 [7th season]

 

 

BAYLOR-ISP SPORTS NETWORK

1660 ESPN RADIO (Waco)

                Tom Barfield, play-by-play

                Lark Smith, color

 

 

INTERNET FEEDS

GameTracker:        www.BaylorBears.com

Audio:     www.BaylorBears.com

Video:     www.kuathletics.com

 

 

BAYLOR-KANSAS SERIES HISTORY

                Baylor and Kansas meet for the 42nd, 43rd and 44th times this weekend. The Bears hold a 36-5 advantage in the all-time series, which dates back to an 8-1 Baylor victory during the 1957 season. Baylor is 14-4 at Lawrence, all coming during the Big 12 era. The Bears won two of three at Lawrence in 2007. Baylor has not lost a Big 12 series to the Jayhawks since dropping two of three in the first meeting as conference foes in 1997.

                The Bears have won 31 of the last 34 meetings; Baylor has swept eight of the last 11 season series, including last year’s series in Waco. Baylor also defeated the Jayhawks 2-1 in 10 innings at the 2005 Big 12 Championship. The only non-sweeps in that span were in 2003 (Baylor took two of three at Lawrence), 2006 (Baylor took two of three in Waco) and 2007.

 

 

ESPNU TO CARRY BAYLOR-TEXAS GAME

                Baylor’s May 1 series opener at Texas has been selected for national broadcast by ESPNU. First pitch for the game will be 8:05 p.m. CDT at Disch-Falk Field in Austin.

                This is one of four Baylor games selected for broadcast this season. Other TV games for the Bears this season are April 18 at Oklahoma State (FSN), April 25 vs. Oklahoma (FSN) and May 16 at Nebraska (NET-TV; Nebraska regional broadcast).

                Baylor is 29-33 all-time in televised games, including a 6-5 mark on ESPN networks.

 

 

TEAM NOTES

• Baylor has five last-at-bat victories this season after only two such wins last year.

• Baylor has three extra-inning victories this season after only one such win last year.

• Baylor is 10-1 in one-run games; the Bears have won nine consecutive one-run games.

• Baylor ranks fourth in the Big 12 Conference in batting (.302), fifth in pitching (4.64) and seventh in fielding (.967) through games of April 1.

• Baylor is hitting .429 (12-for-28) with the bases loaded, including two grand slams. Meanwhile, Baylor pitchers have held opposing batters to a .235 average (8-for-34) with the bases loaded.

• Baylor is hitting .333 (89-for-267) with runners in scoring position.

• Baylor has 53 two-out RBI this season, while holding its opponents to 29 two-out RBI.

• Baylor pinch hitters have a collective .289 average (13-for-45) with three home runs.

• Baylor is hitting .378 (42-for-111) in the third inning.

• Baylor batters are 7-for-8 in extra innings.

 

 

PLAYER NOTES

• IF Joey Hainsfurther ranks fifth in the Big 12 in batting average (.387).

• 1B Dustin Dickerson ranks 16th in the conference in batting average (.354).

• Dickerson enters the Kansas series with an 11-game hitting streak that ties for the longest of his career. He is hitting .341 (15-for-44) during the streak.

• SS Shaver Hansen is tied for 19th in the league in batting average (.347); he also ranks sixth in home runs (8), tied for 10th in total bases (64) and ranks seventh in slugging percentage (.674).

• LF Adam Hornung is tied for sixth in the Big 12 in doubles (9), tied for ninth in home runs (6) and eighth in slugging percentage (.671).

• RF/LHP Aaron Miller is tied for 10th in the conference in walks (18) and ranks second in on base percentage (.510).

• RHP Logan Verrett ranks seventh in the Big 12 in ERA (2.25); he also is tied for the league lead in wins (7) and tied for 10th in strikeouts (42).

• RHP Kendal Volz ranks 13th in the conference in ERA (3.00) and seventh in innings (39.0).

 

 

LAST MEETING

BAYLOR 17, KANSAS 7 (7 INNINGS)    APRIL 6, 2008    BAYLOR BALLPARK    WACO, TEXAS

                Four Bears homered in a 16-hit attack Sunday as Baylor defeated Kansas 17-7 in seven innings in the Big 12 Conference series finale at Baylor Ballpark.

                Aaron Miller got the scoring started for the Bears with a three-run homer in the bottom of the first. Baylor added six runs on five hits and two walks in the second. Shaver Hansen started the scoring with an RBI triple, and Beamer Weems followed with an RBI double. After a couple walks loaded the bases, Raynor Campbell cleared the bags with a three-run triple. Ben Booker followed with an RBI double.

                Dustin Dickerson’s two-run homer in the third staked the Bears to an 11-0 lead. Erik Morrison belted the first of his two home runs on the day in the top of the fourth, a two-run shot to left. Weems’ responded with a two-run homer of his own in the fifth; it was his second career left-handed home run at Baylor Ballpark.

                Kansas scratched for a run in the top of the sixth before the Bears scored four runs in the bottom of the inning to put the game nearly out of reach. Miller and Jon Ringenberg had consecutive RBI doubles, and Booker followed with a two-run homer to right. The Jayhawks scored three runs in the top of the seventh, the last three of which came on Morrison’s second round-tripper; however, that was as close as Kansas would get.

                Baylor starter Willie Kempf earned the win; he allowed three runs on six hits and four walks with a season-high five strikeouts over 5.1 innings.

                Kansas starter Sam Freeman took the loss; he was touched for seven runs on five hits and three walks with a strikeout in 1.1 innings.

                Every Baylor starter reached base safely, and eight of the nine produced at least one hit. Weems and Landis Ware both had three-hit games. Miller tallied four RBI, while Booker, Campbell and Weems each had three RBI. Weems scored four times, a career high, and Miller scored three times.

 

 

VOLZ STILL LOOKING FOR SUPPORT

                In his last 12 starts (dating back to last season), RHP Kendal Volz has posted a 3.11 ERA (26 earned runs over 75.1 innings). He worked into at least the sixth inning in all but one of those starts; the lone exception was against Texas last year when he left after 3.0 innings with seven strikeouts and a strained oblique muscle.

                However, Volz is 2-6 in those 12 starts, and Baylor is 5-7. The Bears have averaged 2.9 runs per game in those games, scoring two or fewer runs seven times. Baylor scored eight runs for Volz two weeks ago as the Bears defeated Texas Tech 8-4 last Friday. That was the first time the Bears scored more than five runs in a a Volz start since Feb. 29, 2008, when Baylor defeated Illinois 20-6. It also gave Volz his first Big 12 win since April 15, 2007, at Kansas.

 

 

FRESHMEN PHENOMS

                Baylor’s freshman class has made quite an impact this season with 11 true and redshirt freshmen seeing the field at some point this year. While all 11 have played roles throughout the year, five freshmen have made the biggest impact:  DH Dan Evatt, SS Joey Hainsfurther, OF Lucas Hileman, CF/RHP Brooks Pinckard and RHP Logan Verrett.

                Evatt is hitting .298 with two home runs and 14 RBI. He also has five doubles, a triple and 10 runs scored.

                Hainsfurther ranks fifth in the Big 12 Conference in batting average (.387), second among league freshmen. Meanwhile, Hileman hit safely in each the first eight games of his career and hit safely in each of his first five career at bats. He enters the Kansas series with a .500 average (14-for-28).

                Pinckard has excelled at the plate and on the mound. He is hitting .268 with nine home runs, four of which came on his lone home run — a crucial grand slam in the Texas A&M series finael. Pinckard leads the team with six stolen bases. Meanwhile, Pinckard is 3-0 with a 2.92 ERA and one save.

                Verrett is one of only two pitchers nationally with at least seven wins (Kansas State’s A.J. Morris). He is seventh in the league in ERA (2.25) and tied for 10th in strikeouts (42). Baylor is 8-0 in games in which Verrett has pitched as he also has one save.

 

 

VERRETT AMONG ELITE CLUB

                RHP Logan Verrett is the 11th Baylor freshman to post at least six wins. Furthermore, he is only the fifth to accomplish the feat during head coach Steve Smith’s tenure, joining Ryan LaMotta (2003), Abe Woody (2003), Kendal Volz (2007) and Shawn Tolleson (2008). Aaron Lineweaver established Baylor’s record for wins by a freshman with nine in 1993.

                Verrett, who is tied for the national lead in wins, is the fifth Baylor freshman to win at least seven games and the first to win accomplish the feat since LaMotta was 7-3 in 2003. Verrett’s 7-0 start ties the school record for consecutive wins to start a career by a freshman; Ted Richardson finished the 1985 season at 7-0.

 

 

BOOKER CONTINUES WARMING TREND

                In what has been a trend throughout his career, OF Ben Booker has pulled out of his early season slump over the past two weeks. Booker has a career batting average of .229 (43-for-188) prior to March 17 and a .315 career batting average (141-for-448) after March 17.

                This has happened each season of his career. As a freshman in 2006, he hit .212 (7-for-33) through March 16 and .282 (37-for-131) the rest of the season. In 2007, he hit .254 (17-for-67) through March 16 and .327 (54-for-165) the rest of the season. Last year, he hit .239 (16-for-67) through March 16 and .309 (43-for-139) the rest of the season. This year has been no different. Booker limped to a 3-for-21 start, but he is 7-for-13 since March 17.

 

 

EXTRA SPECIAL

                Baylor is 18-7 in extra-inning games since the start of the 2003 season. After limping to a 1-3 record last season, the Bears already are 3-0 in extra frames this year. The Bears’ 10-inning, 2-1 victory over Pacific in the 2009 season opener snapped a three-game losing streak in such games.

                Five of the 18 wins over the past six-plus 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, 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.

 

 

VOLZ, MILLER NAMED PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA

                RHP Kendal Volz and OF/LHP Aaron Miller were named preseason All-America by Baseball America. Volz was one of four pitchers named first team, while Miller was a third-team selection as a utility player (position and pitcher). The Baseball America preseason All-America teams are determined by a vote of Major League Baseball scouting directors.

                Volz was 3-6 with a 4.20 ERA in 12 starts last season. He led the Big 12 and ranked 18th nationally with 10.83 strikeouts per nine innings, a Baylor single-season record. However, Volz made his biggest waves last summer as the USA Baseball National Team’s closer. He posted a 0.00 ERA and converted all eight save opportunities, guiding the National Team to a 24-0 record.

                Miller hit .295 with 12 home runs and 45 RBI last season. He led the Bears in home runs, doubles (18), extra-base hits (31), slugging percentage (.562), walks (34) and on base percentage (.425). He saw limited action on the mound in 2008, going 1-1 with a 14.40 ERA over 5.0 innings. However, he expected to pitch more this season.

                Volz and Miller are the sixth and seventh Baylor players to earn Baseball America preseason honors; Volz is the program’s second first-team selection. Previous Baylor players so honored were Kip Wells (1998, second team), Jeremy Dodson (1998, third team), Steven White (2002, third team), Michael Griffin (2004, third team) and Mark McCormick (2004, second team; 2005, first team). Baseball America began selecting preseason All-America teams in 1982.

                Volz and Missouri right-handed pitcher Kyle Gibson were the only first-team selections from the Big 12 Conference. Other Big 12 honorees were catcher Trevor Coleman (Missouri, second team), left-handed pitcher Andrew Oliver (Oklahoma State, second team) and Miller.

 

 

BIG 12 COACHES PICK BAYLOR THIRD

                Baylor was slotted in a third-place tie in the 2009 Big 12 Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The Bears (32-26, 11-16 in 2008) earned 59 points along with Oklahoma State. This marks the second consecutive year in which the league’s coaches picked Baylor to finish third.

                Defending Big 12 champion Texas A&M was a unanimous choice to defend its title. The Aggies received nine of 10 first-place votes; coaches were not permitted to vote for their own teams. Texas, which garnered the other first-place vote, was picked to finish second with 69 total points. Missouri was picked fifth, followed by Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas Tech, Kansas State and Kansas.

                This marks the first time since 2001 (Nebraska) that a team other than Texas was picked to win the Big 12 by the league’s coaches. Baylor has been picked to finish fourth or better each year since 1999. This is the sixth time the Bears have been picked to finish third or better.

 

 

VOLZ NAMED TO GOLDEN SPIKES AWARD WATCH LIST

                RHP Kendal Volz was among 50 players named to the initial watch list for the 2009 Golden Spikes Award announced Wednesday by USA Baseball. The Golden Spikes Award, in its 32nd year, is given annually to the nation’s top collegiate player.

                Volz was one of five Big 12 Conference players on the list, joining fellow 2008 National Team pitching staff mates Tyler Lyons and Andrew Oliver of Oklahoma State and Kyle Gibson of Missouri. Texas A&M first baseman Luke Anders also was on the list. Additional players may be added to the list throughout the year at USA Baseball’s discretion.

                USA Baseball officials will cut the watch list to 30 names May 26. That list will be sent to a voting panel consisting of professional baseball personnel, past USA Baseball National Team coaches, select members of the media, former USA Baseball press officers and current USA Baseball staff. For the second consecutive year, fan voting will count toward the final total; that will be available May 26 at www.goldenspikesaward.com.

                Five finalists will be announced June 2 with voting for the winner beginning that day. The 2009 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award will be presented July 15 during an award show in conjunction with the 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star weekend festivities in St. Louis.

                Volz is the first Baylor pitcher to appear on the award’s initial watch list since Chad Hawkins in 2000. Other Baylor players named to the award’s initial watch list in past seasons include Beamer Weems (2008), Jason Jennings (1999) and Marty Crawford (1996).

 

 

BAYLOR SCHEDULE USUALLY AMONG NATION’S BEST

                Baylor’s strength of schedule has ranked among the nation’s best routinely over the past decade, including top-10 rankings at season’s end each year from 2002 to 2005. The Bears’ strength of schedule ranked in the nation’s top 30 each year from 1997 to 2007 before dipping to 36th last year.

                According to BoydsWorld.com, Baylor’s 2009 intended strength of schedule ranks 28th nationally. That ranks second in the Big 12 Conference behind only Oklahoma (25th) and just ahead of Texas A&M (31st).

                Recruiting Closer recently researched teams from the Big 12, the ACC, the SEC and the Pac-10 to see which programs play the most non-conference games against teams from one of the other three conferences. Over the past four seasons, Baylor has played 22 non-conference games against teams from the other three conferences (includes postseason play). That ranks 11th nationally and second in the Big 12 behind only Texas (31, seventh).

                Furthermore, Baylor’s .682 winning percentage in those games (15-7) ranks third nationally among teams with at least 10 such games in that time. Southern California (.818, 9-2) ranked first, followed by Texas A&M (.778, 14-4).

 

 

FIVE BEARS ON BASEBALL AMERICA’S PRESEASON DRAFT LISTS

                Five Baylor baseball student-athletes were listed on Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects ranking for the 2009 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. The list is specific to college players and focuses only on players who will be eligible to be drafted next June. Baylor had more players on the list than any other school.

                RHP Kendal Volz was ranked as the nation’s sixth-best prospect, while RHP Shawn Tolleson and RHP Craig Fritsch were 22nd and 37th, respectively. OF/LHP Aaron Miller was the 62nd-rated prospect, and 1B Dustin Dickerson was 71st.

                Only two schools — Baylor (5) and Georgia (4) — had more than three players on the list. Ten schools had three players listed, including Missouri, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M from the Big 12 Conference.

                In all, 16 players from Baylor’s roster will be eligible in the 2009 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. The program record for most players drafted in one year is nine (2005).

 

 

MILLER, VOLZ NAMED TO WALLACE WATCH LIST

                OF/LHP Aaron Miller and RHP Kendal Volz were named to the initial watch list for the 2009 Brooks Wallace Award, presented annually to the top collegiate baseball player in conjunction with the College Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. This is the award’s sixth year.

                The Wallace Award is dedicated to the memory of former Texas Tech player and assistant coach Brooks Wallace, who died of cancer at age 27 in 1985. Wallace played at Tech from 1977 to 1980 and spent two years in the Texas Rangers’ organization.

                Past winners of the Wallace Award are Kurt Suzuki (catcher, Call State Fullerton, 2004), Alex Gordon (third baseman, Nebraska, 2005), Brad Lincoln (pitcher/designated hitter, Houston, 2006), David Price (pitcher, Vanderbilt, 2007) and Buster Posey (catcher, Florida State, 2008).

 

 

MIDWEEK PREVIEW

                Baylor plays two midweek non-conference games next week, continuing a stretch of 19 games in 26 days. The Bears host Northwestern State at 6:30 p.m. CDT Tuesday and Dallas Baptist at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

 

BAYLOR-NORTHWESTERN STATE SERIES HISTORY

                Baylor and Northwestern State meet for the 17th time Tuesday. The Bears hold a 9-7 advantage in the all-time series, which began with a 16-2 Baylor victory April 15, 1960, at the Northeast Louisiana Easter Tournament in Monroe, La. After two more meetings at the same tournament in 1962, the teams did not meet again until a three-game set in Waco during the 1995 campaign.

                The Bears lead the series 6-4 in games played in Waco. The teams have not met since the 2005 season when the Demons posted a 5-4 victory at Baylor Ballpark. Northwestern State leads the series 7-6 during head coach Steve Smith’s tenure. However, the Bears have won five of the last seven meetings after a five-game Demon winning streak in the series.

 

BAYLOR vs. THE SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE

                Baylor is 294-127-1 all-time against programs currently playing as Southland Conference members, including a 1-1 mark this season. The Bears were 8-1 against the SLC last season, falling only to regular-season league champion UTSA. Baylor has played more games against current Southland members than any conference other than the Big 12.

 

BAYLOR-DALLAS BAPTIST SERIES HISTORY

                Baylor and Dallas Baptist meet for the 60th and 61st times this week. The Bears hold a 39-20 advantage in the all-time series, which dates back to a May 5, 1979, doubleheader sweep by the Bears at Ferrell Field. The teams split a two-game midweek set last season with Baylor winning 11-4 in Waco and Dallas Baptist winning 13-5 in Dallas the next night. Baylor is 28-14 all-time against DBU in Waco and 9-6 all-time at Dallas; the Bears won both times the teams played at neutral sites.

                Baylor is 10-6 against Dallas Baptist during head coach Steve Smith’s tenure.

 

BAYLOR vs. DIVISION I INDEPENDENTS
                Baylor is 61-48 against programs currently playing as Division I Independents. Baylor is 39-20 against Dallas Baptist, 2-1 against Houston Baptist and 20-27 against UT Pan American.


 

 

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