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Conference Series Preview: Baylor

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After a midweek beatdown at the hands of ORU (again), the Cowboys look to rebound and avenge their only conference series loss of 2014.

The Breakdown

No. 10 OSU vs. Baylor (14-22, 4-8 Big 12)
Allie P. Reynolds Stadium, Stillwater
Saturday: 3:00 p.m.
Sunday: 1:00 p.m.
Monday: 1:00 p.m.
All-Time Series: OSU leads 39-37
Last Season: 2-1 Baylor (each game ended with a 4-1 scoreline)

That 24-2 Bedlam win seems forever ago, doesn’t it? The Cowboys find themselves on a three game losing streak – their longest of the year – after allowing 15 runs to ORU during the week.

Baylor is in the midst of a rough year. They got swept by Texas Tech and TCU this year, but haven’t lost a series to OSU since 2007. The Cowboys will be looking for the program’s 2500th win this weekend, but will their recent slide inspire a lowly Baylor team to pull the upset Kansas did last weekend?

Offense
Advantage: OSU

This could get ugly. Baylor has the second-worst ERA in the Big 12 (we’ll get to that in a second) while the Cowboys are a thousandth of a point behind WVU for the best batting average. Last in runs, walks, on-base and slugging percentage, and first in strikeouts, this is quite the anemic offense. The Bears have hit just five (!!!) home runs this year.

Pitching
Advantage: OSU

About that pitching staff: a 5.13 ERA, a .287 batting average against, and 209 strikeouts in 317.1 innings pitched. It’s not the worst staff in the conference, but it’s nowhere close to the best. No one on the staff with more than 10 innings pitched has a sub-3.00 ERA. Combining that with the aforementioned offense – or lack thereof – and it’s easy to see why Baylor has just 14 wins this season.

Coaching
Advantage: OSU

Steve Smith – no, not either of the NFL players – has been the Baylor head coach for 20 years, during which he’s become the all-time leader in wins in school history. He’s one of just 36 active coaches with 700+ wins, but hasn’t appeared in a Regional since 2012. The Bears have steadily fallen over the past three seasons, going from winning the conference in 2012 to finishing 7th in the Big 12 last season.

This year isn’t going any better, with Baylor eight games under .500 and all hopes of postseason play vanquished. This truly is a case of two programs heading in opposite directions.

Prediction

This is an important weekend for OSU. If there’s going to be a second straight Big 12 title, the Pokes need to beat up on the bad teams in the conference (looking at you, Baylor) and stay competitive against the top teams. I’ll say two of three for the home team this weekend, but I really hope they push for the sweep.

By the way, if you’re in Stillwater this weekend, games on Saturday and Monday are free to the public.

Team Conference Record Overall Record
Oklahoma State 8-4 24-12
Oklahoma 8-4 24-15
TCU 7-5 27-8
Texas Tech 7-5 23-14
Texas 6-6 19-18
West Virginia 4-5 21-13
Kansas State 4-8 17-18
Baylor 4-8 14-22
Kansas 3-6 15-22

 

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