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Bears Face Key Series Against No. 19 Oklahoma

RF Aaron Miller is one of four Bears hitting .400 or better over the last 10 games.

RF Aaron Miller is one of four Bears hitting .400 or better over the last 10 games.

April 4, 2007

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GAMES 32-34 • APRIL 5-7 • 7 P.M./6:30 P.M./2 P.M. CDT

BAYLOR (17-14, 2-7) vs. 19 OKLAHOMA (22-9, 3-3)

BAYLOR BALLPARK • WACO, TEXAS

 

COACHES

BAYLOR:          Steve Smith

            Alma Mater:      Baylor, 1986

            Career Record:  471-298-1 [13th season]

            Record at Baylor:          471-298-1 [13th season]

 

OKLAHOMA:     Sunny Golloway

            Alma Mater:      Oklahoma Christian, 1984

            Career Record:  414-193 [11th season]

            Record at Oklahoma:       79-37 [3rd season]

 

BAYLOR/ISP NETWORK

1660 ESPN RADIO (Waco)

            Tom Barfield, play-by-play

            Lark Smith, color

 

TELEVISION

CSTV (Thursday only)

            Carter Blackburn, play-by-play

            Kevin Stocker, color

 

INTERNET FEEDS

GameTracker:    www.BaylorBears.com

Audio:  www.BaylorBears.com

Video:  www.BaylorBears.com

 

NATIONAL RANKINGS

Baseball America          NR

USA Today/ESPN Coaches       NR

NCBWA            NR

Collegiate Baseball        NR

 

PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS

Thursday, April 5

BU        RHP Jeff Mandel (3-5, 4.83 ERA, 50.1 IP, 56 H, 17 BB, 49 K)

OU       RHP Stephen Porlier (4-2, 3.38 ERA, 48.0 IP, 44 H, 11 BB, 51 K)

 

Friday, April 6

BU        RHP Randall Linebaugh (2-3, 4.43 ERA, 44.2 IP, 41 H, 19 BB, 28 K)

OU       LHP Heath Taylor (5-1, 2.36 ERA, 42.0 IP, 29 H, 17 BB, 40 K)

 

Saturday, April 7

BU        TBA

OU       LHP Joseph Hughes (5-1, 3.66 ERA, 46.2 IP, 47 H, 11 BB, 34 K)

 

 

Baylor baseball returns to action this weekend, hosting No. 19 Oklahoma for a three-game Big 12 Conference series at Baylor Ballpark. The Bears and the Sooners meet Thursday at 7 p.m. CDT, Friday at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Thursday's series opener will be televised live nationally on CSTV; Carter Blackburn handles play-by-play duties, while former Major Leaguer Kevin Stocker provides color analysis.

            Baylor (17-14, 2-7) snapped a three-game losing streak Tuesday night with a 12-6 victory over Houston at Baylor Ballpark. The Bears are 15-5 at Baylor Ballpark this season, including a 2-2 mark in Big 12 Conference play. Baylor is unranked in all four major polls.

            Oklahoma (22-9, 3-3) posted a 13-5 victory over TCU at home Tuesday night. The Sooners are 7-3 in their last 10 games and 20-5 since opening the season 2-4. Oklahoma is ranked 19th in this week's Baseball America Top 25. The Sooners also are ranked this week in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll (15th), the Collegiate Baseball Top 30 (21st) and the NCBWA Top 30 (23rd).

            The Bears and the Sooners have played three common opponents this season:  San Diego State, Texas and Texas State. Baylor is 2-4 against that trio this season with both wins coming against Texas State. Oklahoma is 1-2 against Texas, 0-1 against Texas State and 1-0 against San Diego State.

            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 Houston game. For more information, follow the BearCasts link at www.BaylorBears.com.

 

 

QUICK HITS

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

            - 128-50 (.719) when its starting pitcher lasts at least 5.0 innings

            - 34-8 (.810) when its pitching staff records at least 10 strikeouts

            - 123-38 (.764) when scoring first

            - 141-28 (.834) when out-hitting its opponent

            - 133-36 (.787) when holding its opponent to fewer than five runs

            - 118-25 (.825) when scoring at least six runs

            - 107-17 (.863) when scoring at least seven runs

• Since the start of the 2002 season, Baylor is 169-8 (.955) when leading after eight innings, winning 63 of the last 65 and 98 of the last 101 such games.

• Baylor has won 23 of its last 25 games when hitting at least two home runs.

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

• The Bears are 47-13 (.783) 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 scored in the first inning 13 times in 31 games this season, going 8-5 in those games.

• The Bears have out-scored their opponents 56-19 in the first two innings and 39-14 in the eighth inning this season. However, opponents have out-scored Baylor 33-8 in the third inning.

• Baylor is 13-7 this season when scoring first.

• Baylor is hitting .355 over the last 10 games after hitting .248 in the season's first 21 games.

• The Bears have not won a game this season in which neither SS Beamer Weems nor IF Raynor Campbell hit safely. In fact, last Tuesday's win at UT-Arlington was Baylor's first win this season in which Weems did not get a hit.

• Baylor is in the middle of a 26-game stretch with 22 games against 2006 NCAA Tournament participants.

 

THE OKLAHOMA SERIES

            Baylor and Oklahoma meet for the 54th, 55th and 56th times this weekend. The Bears hold a 28-25 advantage in the all-time series, which dates back to an 8-5 Baylor victory during the 1936 season.

            This is the 10th series between the teams since the inception of the Big 12 Conference in 1997. Baylor holds a 17-14 advantage in games as Big 12 foes. The Bears took two of three at home against the Sooners in 2005, and the Sooners took two of three last season at Norman. The home team has won each of the last six series since Baylor won two of three at Norman in 2000.

            Baylor is 5-0 in Big 12 series against Oklahoma in Waco. The Bears are 19-9 all-time against the Sooners in Waco.

 

Overall Record: Baylor leads 28-25

            Waco:   Baylor leads 19-9

            Norman:            Oklahoma leads 16-6

            Neutral Site:      Baylor leads 3-0

            Since Start of Big 12:    Baylor leads 17-14

Smith vs. OU:   18-19

First Meeting:    Baylor 8, Oklahoma 5 [1936]

Last Meeting:    at Oklahoma 11, Baylor 10 [3/26/2006]

 

 

PLAYER NOTES

LF Ben Booker

• Hitting .367 (11-for-30) over the last 10 games with seven RBI

• Riding a five-game hitting streak with three multiple-hit games

• Has hit safely in 13 of the last 15 games

• Has reached safely in 15 of the last 16 games

 

IF RAYNOR CAMPBELL

• Hitting .393 (11-for-28) over the last 10 games

• Riding a three-game hitting streak

• Has hit safely in eight of the last nine games and produced an sacrifice fly in the other game

 

RHP Nick Cassavechia

• Has stranded 35 of 43 inherited runners during career, including a streak of 22 consecutive inherited runners stranded (ended 2/27/07 vs. UT-Arlington)

• 12 scoreless outings in 15 appearances this season

• Averaging 16.2 strikeouts per nine innings over last five appearances (18 strikeouts in 10.0 innings)

• Has recorded at least one strikeout in 13 of 15 appearances, including each of the last eight outings

• Has recorded multiple strikeouts in five consecutive outings, including three-plus strikeouts in four straight appearances

• Has not allowed multiple earned runs in 41 of 47 career appearnaces

• Currently tied for fourth all-time at Baylor in career saves (13) and tied for fourth in career Big 12 saves (6)

• Tied for fourth in Big 12 with five saves

 

DH/1B Dustin Dickerson

• Hitting .320 (8-for-25) over the last 10 games

• Has reached safely in 12 consecutive starts with hits in nine of those games

 

CF Chase Gerdes

• Hitting .314 (11-for-35) over the last 10 games with 12 runs, two home runs, eight RBI and eight walks

• Currently riding a five-game hitting streak

• Has reached safely and/or scored in 29 of 31 games this season

• Has reached safely in 10 consecutive games and in 17 of last 18

• Has stolen thrid base four times this season

 

IF Shaver Hansen

• Hitting .471 (8-for-17) over the last 10 games with eight runs and seven RBI

• 12 of 18 hits this season have come in five games

• Has hit safely in six of last eight starts

 

1B/DH Tim Jackson

• Only Baylor regular starter hitting lower over the last 10 games (.205, 8-for-39) than in the season's first 21 games (.254, 17-for-67)

• Hitting .280 (7-for-25) over the last six games

• Is hitless in last three at bats with the bases loaded after starting Baylor career 6-for-7 in such situations

• All three home runs this season have tied the score

 

RHP Willie Kempf

• Has not allowed a run in nine of 11 appearances

• Recorded five consecutive strikeouts over two innings against Texas Tech (3/24)

 

RHP Randall Linebaugh

• Baylor is 14-7 in his 21 career starts, including a 14-5 mark in 19 career regular-season starts

• 7-3 with five no-decisions in 15 career starts in which he has lasted at least 5.0 innings

• 8-1 in 25 career appearances at Baylor Ballpark

• Has allowed two or fewer earned runs in 16 of 21 career starts

• Has logged at least 5.0 innings in every non-predetermined start (innings, pitch count) since going 3.1 innings in first career start

 

RHP Jeff Mandel

• Has been given just 14 runs of support in five losses this season

• 9-2 with a 2.18 ERA in 36 career appearances (10 starts) at Baylor Ballpark

• 3-1 with a 1.57 ERA in four starts this season at Baylor Ballpark

• Has held opponents to a .206 average (21 hits in 28.2 innings) at home this season with 31 strikeouts against only eight walks

• Allowed career-high 10 earned runs in last start after allowing only 10 earned runs in his previous five starts

• Lasted 3.2 innings in last start, first in eight starts this season in which he did not log at least 5.0 innings and snapping a streak of six consecutive starts logging at least 6.0 innings

 

RHP Tim Matthews

• First batters faced are 0-for-11 with six strikeouts this season and 0-for-18 with 10 strikeouts in career (as a reliever)

• Has posted a 1.15 ERA in nine appearances (15.2 innings) at home this season

 

OF Aaron Miller

• Hitting .400 (12-for-30) over the last 10 games with three doubles, 10 RBI and six runs scored

• Currently riding a career-long tying six-game hitting streak, his third streak this season of five-plus games

• Has not gone hitless in consecutive games this season

• Has suffered two hitless games in a three-game span only once

• Has reached safely in 28 of 31 games this season

• Has reached safely and/or produced an RBI in 22 of last 23 games

 

C Matt Sodolak

• Hitting .436 (17-for-39) over the last 10 games with three doubles, seven RBI and eight runs

• Currently riding a career-long 12-game hitting streak, Baylor's longest this season

• Has five multiple-hit performances in the last seven games, including a pair of three-hit games

• Has reached safely and/or produced an RBI in 18 of 20 starts this season

 

SS Beamer Weems

• Hitting .450 (18-for-40) over the last 10 games with four doubles, three triples, a home run, 12 RBI and eight runs

• Currently riding a four-game hitting streak and has hit safely in 12 of the last 13 games

• Has hit safely in 25 of 31 games this season, going hitless in consecutive games only once

• Has gone hitless in consecutive games only four times in 93 career games

• Has hit safely in 16 of Baylor's 17 victories this season

• Has hit safely in 21 of last 23 games at Baylor Ballpark

• Has reached safely in 13 consecutive games

• Has reached safely and/or produced an RBI in 16 consecutive games

• 12 career home runs (10 from right side of plate)

 

BEARS ADD MIDWEEK CONTEST

            Baylor announced the addition of a game to the 2007 schedule Wednesday. The Bears will host Prairie View A&M at 6:30 p.m. CDT Wednesday, April 25, at Baylor Ballpark. This game is added to replace the March 13 game against Winthrop that was cancelled due to inclement weather.

            Fans holding tickets to the March 13 game will be allowed to use those tickets for the April 25 game against Prairie View A&M.

            The Bears have faced Prairie View A&M twice previously, both times coming the last two seasons. Baylor won both previous meetings -- 4-3 in 2005 and 14-2 last season. Both teams participated in last year's NCAA Houston Regional at Rice; however, the teams did not face each other.

 

BAYLOR IN THE MIDST OF TOUGH STRETCH

            Baylor is in the middle of a 26-game span where it plays 22 games against 2006 regional participants. The only games between March 9 and April 22 against teams that did not reach the NCAA Tournament last season were the March 20 victory over Texas Southern and the March 23-25 Texas Tech series. The Oklahoma series continues a stretch of 16 consecutive games against 2006 NCAA Tournament participants.

 

BATS WARM WITH WEATHER

            As temperatures in Central Texas begin to warm, so do Baylor's bats. The Bears are hitting .355 as a team over the last 10 games after posting a .248 average in the season's first 21 games. Baylor also is averaging 1.2 fewer strikeouts per game over the last 10 games.

            Leading that charge is SS Beamer Weems, who is hitting .450 (18-for-40) over the last 10 games with four doubles, three triples, a home run, 12 RBI, a .775 slugging percentage and a .500 on base percentage.

            Five other Baylor batters with 25-plus at bats in the last 10 games are hitting at least 80 points higher during that time than they did in the season's first 21 games: C Matt Sodolak (.257 -- .436), RF Aaron Miller (.299 -- .400), IF Raynor Campbell (.306 -- .393), LF Ben Booker (.254 -- .367) and DH/1B Dustin Dickerson (.211 -- .320).

 

HOME SWEET HOME

            Baylor is 47-13 at home since the beginning of the 2005 postseason, including a 15-5 mark this season. The Bears are 209-77 all-time at Baylor Ballpark. On the flip side, Baylor is just 2-9 away from Baylor Ballpark this season. The Bears have posted a .319 batting average and a 3.12 ERA at home; however, Baylor has a .220 batting average and a 6.58 ERA on the road.

            Individually, C Matt Sodolak is the only Bear hitting .300 or better at home and on the road. Sodolak is 17-for-45 (.378) at home and 9-for-29 (.310) away from Baylor Ballpark. Only LF Ben Booker who has a better batting average on the road (11-for-34, .324) than at home (18-for-67, .269).

 

BAYLOR ON TELEVISION

            The Bears are 26-26 all-time in televised games, including an 0-1 mark this season (loss Sunday at Oklahoma State).

            Baylor is 4-4 all-time in games televised by CSTV. The Bears were 2-4 last season on CSTV, losing the final two games of the Texas series and going 2-2 at the NCAA Houston Regional (wins over Arizona State, losses to Rice). In 2005, Baylor defeated Texas in the series finale and won the Saturday game of the series at Nebraska, both on CSTV.

            The Bears are 22-20 in televised games under head coach Steve Smith. The 2005 Bears established a school record with 12 televised games, 39 percent of the program's all-time televised games prior to the 2005 season.

 

BEARS AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS

            Baylor has posted an 0-8 record this season against nationally ranked opponents, including an 0-5 mark against teams ranked in the top 10.

            The 2005 Bears established a school record with 18 wins against ranked teams and nine wins against teams ranked in the top 10, marks previously held by the 2003 team that went 14-16 against ranked teams and 8-10 against top-10 opponents.

 

SCHEDULE AMONG NATION'S TOUGHEST

            Baylor's 2007 schedule is rated as the nation's 18th-toughest, according listings at www.BoydsWorld.com. The Bears' schedule ranks third among Big 12 Conference schools behind only Texas (eighth) and Oklahoma (13th).

            Not surprisingly, 12 of the top 20 teams nationally in strength of schedule are from California. Also not surprisingly, Baylor has faced or will face five of the top 20 teams:  Rice (seventh), Texas, Oklahoma, San Diego State (16th) and Oral Roberts (19th). Thus far, Baylor is 2-6 against those teams.

 

TRIPLE YOUR PLEASURE

            Through games of April 3, Baylor leads the Big 12 Conference with 18 triples this season. LF Ben Booker is tied for the league lead with five triples. RF Aaron Miller and SS Beamer Weems are tied for sixth with three triples. 1B/DH Dustin Dickerson and CF Chase Gerdes have two triples each, while IF Raynor Campbell, 3B Seth Hammock and 1B/DH Tim Jackson also have one triple each.

            Baylor tied a single-game school record earlier this season with three triples earlier this season against Texas Southern. It marked the fifth time in school history and the second time this season the Bears have tallied three triples in one game. Weems had two triples against Texas Southern, also tying Baylor's single-game record. He became the first Bear to collected two triples in one game since April 6, 2002, when Chris Durbin had two triples against Oklahoma State.

            Last season, Baylor tied for second nationally with 32 triples, which also tied for the fourth-best season total in school history.

 

BEARS ARE EXTRA SPECIAL

            Baylor is 14-4 in extra-inning games since the start of the 2003 season, including a 2-1 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.

 

MIDWEEK SUCCESS CONTINUES

            Baylor is 20-4 in non-conference midweek games since the start of the 2006 season, including an 18-3 mark on Tuesdays. The Bears have won 12 consecutive Tuesday games and 19 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.

 

CAS-SAVE-CHIA 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.

 

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.

 

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 471-298-1 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 concludes a five-game home stand Tuesday, April 10, hosting TCU for a 6:30 p.m. first pitch at Baylor Ballpark. This is the first of two scheduled meetings between the former Southwest Conference foes this season. The teams also meet May 1 at Lupton Stadium in Fort Worth.

 


 

 

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