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No. 27 Baseball Closes Regular Season at West Virginia
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May 15, 2018


GM 49-51
BAYLOR at WEST VIRGINIA
May 17-19 | Monongalia County Ballpark | Morgantown, West Virginia | Twitter
May 17: 5:30 PM CT | Video | Radio | Live Stats 
May 18: 5:30 PM CT | Video | Radio | Live Stats 
May 19: 12:00 PM CT | Video | Radio | Live Stats 
Baylor Game/Series Notes


MEDIA INFORMATION
GAME 49 | MAY 17
Video: WVUsports.com
Radio: ESPN 1660/Baylor All-Access
Radio Talent: Derek Smith (pxp), Steve Johnigan (analyst)
Live Stats: WVUsports.com
Twitter: @BaylorBaseball | #SicWVU
Pitching Matchup: BU LHP Cody Bradford (6-4, 2.72 ERA) vs. WVU TBA
GAME 50 | MAY 18
Video: WVUsports.com
Radio: ESPN 1660/Baylor All-Access
Radio Talent: Derek Smith (pxp), Steve Johnigan (analyst)
Live Stats: WVUsports.com
Twitter: @BaylorBaseball | #SicWVU
Pitching Matchup: BU RHP Hayden Kettler (6-4, 3.99 ERA) vs. WVU TBA
GAME 51 | MAY 19
Video: WVUsports.com
Radio: ESPN 1660/Baylor All-Access
Radio Talent: Derek Smith (pxp), Steve Johnigan (analyst)
Live Stats: WVUsports.com
Twitter: @BaylorBaseball | #SicWVU
Pitching Matchup: BU LHP Tyler Thomas (2-2, 2.38 ERA) vs. WVU TBA

MATCHUP

BAYLOR

30-18
Ranking: 27
2018 Big 12 Record: 11-10
Head Coach: Steve Rodriguez
Career Record: 374-368 (15th season)
BU Record: 89-70 (3rd season)

WEST VIRGINIA

26-23
Ranking: NR
2018 Big 12 record: 8-13
Head Coach: Randy Mazey
Career Record: 372-310-2 (12th season)
WVU Record: 186-150 (6th season)

By Jerry Hill
Baylor Bear Foundation

Even if no one else did, Baylor sophomore catcher Shea Langeliers saw it coming more than a month ago when he said the Bears had the "potential to go on a run."

At that point, Baylor baseball was 14-16 overall and 3-9 in the Big 12 and coming off being swept in back-to-back conference series.

Since then, the Bears (30-18, 11-10) have won 16 of their last 18 games, moved up to fifth in the conference standings and are now at least on the radar for earning a second straight NCAA regional berth with a No. 49 RPI.

"It says something about these guys that they were able to flip it like that," said Baylor coach Steve Rodriguez, whose team will try to keep its run going with a regular season-ending series at West Virginia (26-23, 8-13) beginning Thursday in Morgantown.

Last season, the Bears won 14 of their first 15 games and advanced to a regional tournament for the first time in five years. But, they faded at the end, losing their last six games and bowing out of both the Big 12 Tournament and Houston Regional with two straight losses.

"Everybody talked about the phenomenal start we had last year. And it was great, except for how we finished," Rodriguez said. "This year, hopefully it's different. It was a difficult start, and hopefully we finish how we started last year. It's much better to end with this kind of a streak than start and then try to figure out what's going on at the end."

Junior DH Richard Cunningham, who he's hitting .328 with nine homers and 34 RBI, said "you never really know, when you look back in hindsight, exactly what the run looked like."

"But that week (headed to a series at Memphis), you could feel something," he said. "We came back from Texas, and we were like, `You know what, there's a second half ahead of us and we're going to do something special.' Who knew it was going to be 16-2. But, it's been a special run, a lot of fun, too."

Rodriguez has had to raise the bar after originally giving the team a goal of getting to 30 wins. The Bears did that by reeling off 13 straight wins and 14 of their last 15.

"I just thought, `If we can get to 30 wins, we're going to make that decision very difficult for that committee,''' Rodriguez said. "I should have said 35, but I was trying to be reasonable. At the same time, in my opinion, I think two or three (more) wins put us in a really good position."

Baylor will try to do that with a three-game series at West Virginia. Game times are 5:30 p.m. CDT Thursday and Friday and noon Saturday at Monongalia County Ballpark.

The Mountaineers have lost two games in a row and four of their last six after winning conference series at home against Kansas State and Texas. West Virginia is second in the league with a .281 batting average, leads the league and ranks 18th nationally with 86 stolen bases and is No. 2 in the conference and 15th in the country with 49 double plays turned.

Junior Kyle Gray is hitting .368 with 14 homers and 37 RBI, while freshman infielder Tyler Doanes was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week after hitting .600 last weekend at TCU.

"They're good, especially at their place," Rodriguez said. "They have some guys with big power. They have guys that are really impressive two-way guys. They're a scrappy bunch, they play just really good baseball. We have to go up there and play better baseball."

West Virginia's rotation has not been set, but senior right-hander B.J. Myers (1-1, 4.48 ERA) and sophomore righty Isaiah Kearns (3-3, 4.46) are tentative starters against Baylor's rotation of sophomore lefty Cody Bradford (6-4, 2.72), sophomore right-hander Hayden Kettler (6-4, 3.99) and freshman left-hander Tyler Thomas (3-2, 2.38).


WACO, Texas -- No. 27 Baylor baseball finishes its regular season and Big 12 play with a three-game series at West Virginia this weekend. Games are slated for 5:30 p.m. CT Thursday, 5:30 p.m. Friday and 12 p.m. Saturday.

All Baylor baseball games are broadcast live on Waco's 1660 ESPN Central Texas (1330 AM/100.9 FM in Temple, Belton and Killeen). Derek Smith provides the play-by-play with Steve Johnigan adding color commentary. Live streaming audio, video and GameTracker also are available for all Baylor baseball home games online at BaylorBears.com.

For updates on the program follow @baylorbaseball on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

TEAM QUICK NOTES
*Baylor has won three straight Big 12 series for the first time since 2013 and four straight overall series for the first time since 2014.

*Baylor has won 16 of its last 18 games.

*Baylor has won 30 or more (30) games in a season for the second straight year, giving the program back-to-back 30-win seasons for the first time since 2011 (31) and 2012 (49).

*Baylor was ranked No. 27 by Collegiate Baseball on May 14, marking the team's first ranking since last season.

*Baylor's 13-game winning streak from April 15-May 11) was its longest since the program-record 24-game run in 2012 and gave BU 10-game winning streaks in back-to-back seasons (10 games from Feb. 17-March 3, 2017) for the first time since 1998 (14) and 1999 (14). The 13-game streak led all NCAA DI teams at the time.

*Baylor has 10 or more wins (10) in Big 12 play for the third straight season.

*Baylor is 7-4 in three-game series this season (2-3 on road, 5-1 at home) and has a combined record of 18-13.

*Baylor has scored 110 runs in its last 65 innings.

*Baylor has hit 130 home runs in 158 games under third-year head coach Steve Rodriguez. BU hit 51 in 2017 for its most homers since 2010 (57). BU has 46 in 2018.

*Baylor has 36 multi-home run games under Rodriguez (nine 2016, 14 in 2017, 13 in 2018).

*Baylor has 13 shutouts under Rodriguez (six in 2018, six in 2017, one in 2016).

*So. IF Davis Wendzel has reached base in a career-high 37 straight games, marking Baylor's longest since a 39-game streak by David Murphy in 2003.

*Jr. DH Richard Cunningham and Jr. OF Cole Haring were named Big 12 Player and Newcomer of the Week, respectively, on May 14. The awards mark the sixth and seventh this season for Baylor, giving the program its most in a season since having seven in 2014. Under Rodriguez, the Bears have collected 16 Big 12 weekly accolades.

*Baylor led the conference with 17 Academic All-Big 12 choices on May 15, including a league-best 13 first team honorees. The Bears set a new program record for total choices for a second straight year (15 in 2017) as they've now had 10 or more honorees in seven straight seasons. BU has had at least nine honorees in 10 straight seasons. In the league's 22-year history, Baylor has earned 156 first team selections, which are 51 more than any other team in the league.

-BU-

 

 

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