Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Big 12 Orientation: Baylor Baseball

A bed-time favorite for every Baylor baseball player

Baylor Baseball at-a-glance:
-Program founded: 1902
-Overall record: 2,129-1,520-6
-3 College World Series appearances (1977, 1978, 2005)
-18 NCAA Tournament appearances (most recent: right meow)
-5 conference championships (3 Big 12)
-3 conference tournament championships (most recent: 1993)

History with TCU: Given their proximity and the fact that they were conference rivals for so long, it's not surprise that the Bears and Frogs have met quite a bit on the diamond.  305 times, to be exact.  Baylor holds the all-time advantage with a 158-143-4 record against TCU, but the Frogs hold a 12-10 advantage since Jim Schlossnagle took over the program in 2004.  They met twice this season, with Baylor winning 7-1 in Waco in February and TCU winning 9-4 in Fort Worth in March.

Notable former Bears:

  • Jason Jennings- He won the Golden Spikes Award at Baylor in 1999 and the NL Rookie of the Year with the Rockies in 2002, but I'll always remember him for the terrible month he spent with the Rangers in April of 2005, when he lost all five of his starts and had an ERA of 8.65.  

  • David Murphy- I've got nothing bad to say about Murph.  
  • Kelly Shoppach- Grew up in Fort Worth, played at Baylor, lost to the Rangers in the playoffs twice with the Rays.

  • Drayton McLane- He used to own the Astros.

Recent History: Like TCU's program under Schlossnagle, Baylor's has thrived in recent years under head coach Steve Smith.  He took over a struggling program in 1995, and four years later had his first 40-win season and made his first NCAA Tournament appearance.  Since then, the Bears have made the NCAA field 13 years out of 15, went to Omaha in 2005 and have been to the Super Regionals three times including this current postseason.  They've also ended the year ranked in the Top 25 eight times under Smith, a figure that will most likely increase to nine here in a couple of weeks.  They went 20-4 in the Big 12 this year, winning the regular-season conference title and earning themselves the #4 national seed in the NCAA Tournament.  Like the Frogs, they lost the first game of their regional , and then came back to win four straight to advance.  This weekend, they'll host fellow former SWC rival Arkansas in the Super Regionals.

Outlook for next year: The top six batters for Baylor (who hit .312 as a team and scored 6.6 runs per game) are all hitting above .300, but five of them (and seven of the starting nine in the order) are either seniors or draft-eligible juniors.  Their pitching staff, which posted a team ERA of 3.14 and held opposing hitters to a .239 average, is also dominated by juniors and seniors.  If the Bears can limit the number of juniors that leave, they have a chance to be pretty dominant again next year. 

Miscellaneous:  Before Baylor basketball players started murdering each other, the baseball team was famous for murdering cats.   If you are interested in reading about the incident and Baylor's super moral reaction to it, come back to Spit Blood later in the week for another post in our "What a Dick!" series.

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