April 11, 2007
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GAMES 36-38 APRIL 13-15 4 P.M./1 P.M./1 P.M. CDT
BAYLOR (19-16, 4-8) vs. KANSAS (18-20, 4-8)
HOGLUND BALLPARK LAWRENCE, KAN.
BAYLOR: Steve Smith
Alma Mater: Baylor, 1986
Career Record: 473-299-1 [13th season]
Record at Baylor: 473-299-1 [13th season]
KANSAS: Ritch Price
Alma Mater: Willamette, 1978
Career Record: 380-360-2 [13th season]
Record at Kansas: 163-132-1 [5th season]
1660 ESPN RADIO (Waco)
Tom Barfield, play-by-play
Lark Smith, color
Baseball America NR
USA Today/ESPN Coaches NR
Collegiate Baseball NR
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Friday, April 13
BU RHP Jeff Mandel (4-5, 4.32 ERA, 58.1 IP, 58 H, 19 BB, 54 K)
KU LHP Nick Czyz (2-5, 4.41 ERA, 51.0 IP, 56 H, 23 BB, 51 K)
Saturday, April 14
BU RHP Randall Linebaugh (2-4, 4.65 ERA, 50.1 IP, 20 BB, 31 K)
KU LHP Zach Ashwood (3-3, 6.08 ERA, 47.1 IP, 48 H, 25 BB, 43 K)
Sunday, April 15
BU RHP Kendal Volz (4-1, 5.35 ERA, 37.0 IP, 43 H, 9 BB, 26 K)
KU LHP Andy Marks (3-3, 6.98 ERA, 49.0 IP, 51 H, 20 BB, 60 K)
Baylor baseball returns to action this weekend, traveling to Lawrence, Kan., for a three-game Big 12 Conference series at Kansas. The Bears and the Jayhawks meet Friday at 7 p.m. CDT, Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. All three games will be played at Hoglund Ballpark on the Kansas campus. This is the fifth Big 12 series of the season for both teams.
Baylor (19-16, 4-8) wrapped a 3-2 home stand Tuesday night with a 6-3 loss to TCU. Last weekend, the Bears posted their second Big 12 series victory of the season, taking two of three at home against 19th-ranked Oklahoma with wins in the series opener and finale. Baylor is 2-9 on the road this season, including a 1-5 mark on opponents' home fields and an 0-4 road record in Big 12 play. The Bears are unranked in all four major polls.
Kansas (18-20, 4-8) did not play a midweek game after its scheduled Tuesday night game against Oral Roberts was postponed due to inclement weather. The Jayhawks dropped two of three at home last weekend against seventh-ranked Texas, winning the middle game 14-6. Kansas is 3-7 in its last 10 games and has dropped two of three games in all of its four previous Big 12 series. The Jayhawks are unranked in all four major polls.
The Bears and the Jayhawks have played three common opponents this season: Oklahoma State, Oral Roberts and Texas. Baylor is 2-7 against that trio with both wins coming against Oral Roberts. Kansas is 2-5 against that trio with single wins against Oklahoma State and Texas at home and a loss to Oral Roberts on the road.
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 Kansas series. For more information, follow the Jayhawks All-Access link at www.kuathletics.com.
Since the start of the 2003 season, Baylor is:
- 130-52 (.714) when its starting pitcher lasts at least 5.0 innings
- 34-8 (.810) when its pitching staff records at least 10 strikeouts
- 124-38 (.765) when scoring first
- 142-28 (.835) when out-hitting its opponent
- 135-36 (.789) 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 171-8 (.955) when leading after eight innings, winning 65 of the last 67 and 100 of the last 102 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 49-15 (.766) 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 out-scored their opponents 60-20 in the first two innings and 41-16 in the eighth inning this season. However, opponents have out-scored Baylor 34-8 in the third inning.
Baylor is 15-7 this season when scoring first (4-9 when the opponent scores first).
The Bears are 0-4 this season in Big 12 Conference series middle games.
Baylor is 2-7 on Saturday this season, going 17-9 elsewhere in the week.
Eleven of Baylor's 15 losses were to opponents ranked at some point this season.
The Bears have not won only one game this season (April 6 vs. Oklahoma) in which neither SS Beamer Weems nor IF Raynor Campbell hit safely.
Baylor is in the middle of a 26-game stretch with 22 games against 2006 NCAA Tournament participants.
THE KANSAS SERIES
Baylor and Kansas meet for the 36th, 37th and 38th times this weekend. The Bears hold a 31-4 advantage in the all-time series, which dates back to an 8-1 Baylor victory during the 1957 season. Baylor is 12-3 all-time at Lawrence and 26-4 against Kansas as Big 12 Conference opponents. The Bears have 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 26 of the last 28 meetings, sweeping seven of the last nine season series and nipping the Jayhawks 2-1 in 10 innings at the 2005 Big 12 Tournament first round. The only non-sweeps in that span were in 2003 (Baylor took two of three at Lawrence) and last season (Baylor took two of three in Waco). Kansas' 6-5 win at Baylor Ballpark in the second game of last season's series is the Jayhawks' only victory in 18 tries in Waco.
Baylor rallied for a pair of runs in the top of the 10th in the 2005 series finale to complete a sweep of the Jayhawks. Kansas has not been swept in a Big 12 series at home since then.
Overall Record: Baylor leads 31-4
Waco: Baylor leads 17-1
Lawrence: Baylor leads 12-3
Neutral Site: Baylor leads 2-0
Since Start of Big 12: Baylor leads 26-4
Smith vs. KU: 26-4
First Meeting: at Baylor 8, Kansas 1 
Last Meeting: at Baylor 5, Kansas 1 [3/19/2006]
LF Ben Booker
Hitting .367 (11-for-30) over the last 10 games with six RBI and seven runs
Has hit safely in 15 of the last 19 games with two streaks of five-plus games
Has reached safely in 10 straight games and in 19 of the last 20 games
IF RAYNOR CAMPBELL
Hitting .321 (9-for-28) over the last 10 games with eight runs and six RBI
Missed six games earlier this season due to a hamstring injury
Re-aggravated hamstring last Tuesday against Houston
Played against Oklahoma last weekend but did not play Tuesday against TCU
Has hit safely in nine of last 12 games and has reached safely and/or produced a run in all 12
RHP Nick Cassavechia
Has stranded 36 of 45 inherited runners during career, including a streak of 22 consecutive inherited runners stranded (ended 2/27/07 vs. UT-Arlington)
13 scoreless outings in 17 appearances this season
Averaging 16.5 strikeouts per nine innings over last seven appearances (22 strikeouts in 12.0 innings)
Has recorded at least one strikeout in 15 of 17 appearances, including each of the last 10 outings
Has recorded multiple strikeouts in seven consecutive outings, including four three-plus strikeout tallies
Has not allowed multiple earned runs in 43 of 49 career appearnaces
Currently fourth all-time at Baylor in career saves (14) and tied for third in career Big 12 saves (7)
Fourth in Big 12 with six saves
DH/1B Dustin Dickerson
Hitting .313 (5-for-16) over the last 10 games
Has reached safely in 13 of last 14 starts with hits in 10 of those games
CF Chase Gerdes
Hitting .294 (10-for-34) over the last 10 games with 12 runs, two triples, eight RBI and nine walks
Hitting .338 (23-for-68) over last 21 games with 16 RBI, 18 runs and 10 stolen bases
Has hit safely in eight of last nine games
Has reached safely in 14 consecutive games and in 21 of last 22
Has reached safely and/or scored in 33 of 35 games this season
Has stolen thrid base four times this season
Walked 14 times against nine strikeouts since March 4 (21 games)
One of only four players in Baylor history to record 10-plus stolen bases in four different seasons
IF Shaver Hansen
14 of 24 hits this season have come in six games
1B/DH Tim Jackson
Hitting .133 (4-for-30) over the last seven games
Is hitless in last five 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 10 of 12 appearances
Recorded five consecutive strikeouts over two innings against Texas Tech (3/24)
RHP Randall Linebaugh
Baylor is 14-8 in his 22 career starts, including a 14-6 mark in 20 career regular-season starts
7-4 with five no-decisions in 16 career starts in which he has lasted at least 5.0 innings
8-2 in 26 career appearances at Baylor Ballpark
Has allowed two or fewer earned runs in 16 of 22 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 (2.8 per game)
10-2 with a 1.98 ERA in 37 career appearances (11 starts) at Baylor Ballpark
4-1 with a 1.47 ERA in four starts this season at Baylor Ballpark
Has held opponents to a .183 average (23 hits in 36.2 innings) at home this season with 36 strikeouts against only 10 walks
Allowed career-high 10 earned runs March 31 at Oklahoma State after allowing only 10 earned runs in his previous five starts
RHP Tim Matthews
First batters faced are 1-for-12 with six strikeouts this season and 1-for-20 with 10 strikeouts in career (as a reliever)
OF Aaron Miller
Hitting .345 (10-for-29) over the last 10 games with three doubles, two triples, 10 RBI and seven runs scored
Has not gone hitless in consecutive games this season
Has suffered two hitless games in a three-game span only once
Has hit safely in seven of last eight
Has reached safely in 11 consecutive games and in 32 of 35 games this season
Has reached safely and/or produced an RBI in 26 of last 27 games
C Matt Sodolak
Hitting .316 (12-for-38) over the last 10 games with three doubles, six RBI and six runs
Career-long 12-game hitting streak (longest this season by a Bear) ended last weekend against Oklahoma
Streak included five multiple-hit performances, including a pair of three-hit games
Has reached safely and/or produced an RBI in 20 of 24 starts this season
SS Beamer Weems
Has missed last four games with a hamstring injury sustained during Baylor's April 3 game against Houston
Was hitting .450 (18-for-40) over the last 10 games prior to injury 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 19 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)
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 Kansas series continues a stretch of 16 consecutive games against 2006 NCAA Tournament participants.
HOME SWEET HOME
Baylor is 49-15 at home since the beginning of the 2005 postseason, including a 17-7 mark this season. The Bears are 211-79 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 .301 batting average and a 3.18 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 18-for-59 (.305) 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 (21-for-81, .259).
SCHEDULE AMONG NATION'S TOUGHEST
Baylor's 2007 schedule is rated as the nation's 16th-toughest, according listings at www.BoydsWorld.com. The Bears' schedule ranks third among Big 12 Conference schools behind only Texas (10th) 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), Oral Roberts (ninth), Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska (18th) and Kansas (19th). Thus far, Baylor is 4-6 against those teams.
BAYLOR STILL STRONG IN LATEST PSEUDO-RPI
Baylor ranks 45th in the latest pseudo-RPI, according to listings at www.BoydsWorld.com. The Bears are seventh among Big 12 Conference teams, trailing Texas (sixth), Texas A&M (seventh), Oklahoma (14th), Nebraska (29th), Kansas State (32nd) and Missouri (36th). Texas Tech is 49th, Oklahoma State is 67th and Kansas is 102nd. Currently, the Big 12 ranks second nationally in conference RPI behind only the Southeastern Conference.
RPI is one of the key components used by the NCAA Tournament selection committee, along with overall record, conference finish, conference RPI, strength of schedule, record against RPI top 50, record against RPI top 100 and percentage of games against RPI top 100.
Through games of April 10, Baylor has played 74.3 percent of its games (26 of 35) against RPI top 100 teams, going 11-15 in those games. The Bears' only loss to a non-top-100 team was a 3-1 loss at Pacific in early March. Baylor is 4-8 against RPI top 50 teams with six of those losses coming against teams ranked sixth or better -- 0-1 against Vanderbilt (first), 0-1 against Rice (fourth), 0-1 against Mississippi State (fifth) and 0-3 against Texas (sixth).
GERDES, CASSAVECHIA CLIMBING CAREER CHARTS
CF Chase Gerdes is scheduled to play in the 84th Big 12 Conference game of his career Friday against Kansas. That will move him into a tie with Kevin Sevigny (2003-06) for 10th place on Baylor's career list. Should Gerdes play in each of the Bears' 15 remaining conference games, he would finish sixth all-time at Baylor in career Big 12 games. Gerdes' total would rank as the third-best in school history since the league schedule was cut to 27 games in 2002, trailing only Michael Griffin (105 games, 2002-05) and Paul Witt (99 games, 2002-05). Griffin is the only Bear to have played in every Big 12 game during his career.
Gerdes also is climbing several other Baylor all-time career charts. Entering the Kansas series, he is tied for fifth in triples (15) and tied for sixth in Big 12 triples (four). He is just outside the top 10 in hit by pitch, sacrifices and stolen bases. Gerdes, one of only four players in Baylor history to record 10-plus stolen bases in four different seasons, is one stolen base shy of 10th place on Baylor's career stolen bases chart and needs three steals to become only the ninth player in school history to reach 50 career swipes.
RHP Nick Cassavechia has quickly etched his name among Baylor's all-time best closers. Despite having spent only one calendar year as the Bears' primary closer, he already ranks fourth in school history with 14 career saves behind only Zane Carlson (37 saves, 2000-04), Abe Woody (19, 2003-05) and Kyle Edens (1999-02). Cassavechia is tied with Edens for third in career Big 12 saves with seven; Carlson owns the school record with 17, while Woody is second with eight.
Cassavechia's next relief appearance will be the 50th of his career, tying Justin Taylor (1999-02) for 10th all-time at Baylor. Cassavechia has made 18 relief appearances in Big 12 play, tied with Matthew Marcom (1997-98) for eighth in Baylor history.
CASSAVECHIA AMONG MOST VALUABLE PITCHERS IN BIG 12
RHP Nick Cassavechia has recorded a decision in 47.4 percent of Baylor's 19 victories this season, logging six saves and three wins. Only Kansas State's Daniel Edwards has a higher percentage; Edwards has two wins and nine saves in the Wildcats' 22 victories (50.0 percent). In fact, Cassavechia, Edwards, Missouri's Kyle Gibson (37.5 percent) and Oklahoma's Garrett Richards (39.1 percent) are the only Big 12 pitchers to have recorded a decision in at least 35 percent of their respective teams' victories this season.
TRIPLE YOUR PLEASURE
Through games of April 10, Baylor leads the Big 12 Conference with 20 triples this season. The Bears rank fifth nationally with 0.59 triples per game. Baylor joins Arizona (24) and Charlotte (23) as the nation's only three teams with at least 20 triples this season.
LF Ben Booker is tied for the league lead with five triples, while RF Aaron Miller is tied for fifth with four. SS Beamer Weems and CF Chase Gerdes are tied for eighth with three triples each. 1B/DH Dustin Dickerson has two triples, and IF Raynor Campbell, 3B Seth Hammock and 1B/DH Tim Jackson have one triple each.
Booker is 21st nationally with 0.15 three-baggers per game, while Miller is 60th (0.12) and Weems is 97th (0.10). Baylor, BYU and San Diego State are the nation's only three teams with three players ranked in the national top 100 in triples per game.
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.
BAYLOR SUFFERS RARE MIDWEEK LOSS
Baylor is 20-5 in non-conference midweek games since the start of the 2006 season, including an 18-4 mark on Tuesdays. Tuesday's loss to TCU snapped a 12-game winning streak for the Bears in Tuesday games; Baylor also had won 19 straight Tuesday home games against non-ranked opponents. The Bears were 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 473-299-1 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 begins a four-game home stand Tuesday, April 17, hosting Texas-Arlington for a 6:30 p.m. CDT first pitch at Baylor Ballpark. This is the third and final scheduled meeting between the two teams this season. The Bears defeated the Mavericks 9-7 at Baylor Ballpark in late February. Baylor posted a 10-2 victory at UTA in late March.