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Big 12 Baseball Weekend Preview

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Another great series of college baseball in the Big 12 this weekend.  The biggest series of the week takes place in Austin as we find out whether or not Oklahoma State can sustain the momentum of their series win over Nebraska.

I’m mashing a couple articles together.… in a few weeks, we’ll upgrade to SBN 2.0, which will feature scheduled posts. You can’t imagine how much I’m looking forward to that. In any case, please take a moment to vote on what you’ll cheer for at the Nebraska Spring Game.

Blair Kerkhoff presents his Big 12 baseball power rankings.

  • Oklahoma State @ Texas

We’re going to find out whether or not Texas can turn around their season or if Oklahoma State will continue to push above them in the conference rankings. Both teams are 8-7 in conference and both are ranked.

Last weekend, Okie State pitching shut down the Nebraska offense, garnering Andrew Toliver Big 12 Pitcher of the Week Honors for his Friday night performance. The Cowboys have quietly worked themselves into second place (behind Nebraska) in team overall pitching with an ERA of 4.29, while Texas has fallen to ninth place at 7.01.

Oklahoma State is sixth in team batting at .269 compared to Texas at fourth, .284. One key - Kyle Russell appears to have broken his slump as he’s homered in five of the last eight games. The 40 Acre Sports dudes have an excellent write-up on the series over at BON.

Two of the games will be broadcast - Friday’s is on ESPNU, while Sunday’s game is on Fox College Sports.

  • Kansas @ Nebraska

JQ at Rock Chalk Talk has a great write-up on this weekend’s series. I especially like his insight on our beloved Huskers:

Nebraska's six losses have all been to very good teams, two at Stanford, two at Oklahoma State and one each to Arkansas and Texas.  This does not bode well for the Jayhawks - The Huskers win at home, beat the teams they are supposed to beat, and have never stumbled in 2008.

Amen to that, brother. Nebraska is first in overall team pitching in conference with a 3.24 ERA, while Kansas is ninth at 5.14. Johnny Dorn is currently second among Big 12 pitchers with a 1.65 ERA and fourth with strike outs at 55.

On offense, the Huskers rank seventh in conference in overall team batting at .264 while Kansas is fifth at .281. The Huskers lead the Big 12 in stolen bases, and are tied for first with the Aggies on sacrifice flies. They’re also tied for first with Texas on sacrifice blunts. The fact that we’re winning games the way we are is a testament to Mike Anderson’s coaching philosophy - aggressive small ball, combined with good pitching, and Nebraska stands a great chance at winning the Big 12. Who’d have thought we’d be in this position this season?

Nebraska should feast on the birds this weekend, 2-1. It’d be nice to get a sweep and wouldn’t be unexpected, but I’m being conservative. ☺

  • Baylor vs. Texas A&M

The Bears and Aggies face each other in the "Battle of the Brazos". The first game of the series is played at College Station, then switches to Waco for the next two games.

This is as close to a toss-up as any series, as Baylor is 17-4 at home, including 5-1 in conference play. We’ve talked earlier about how the Aggies have feasted on the lower half of the conference with series wins against Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma and Texas Tech. Those are the bottom four teams in the Big 12, all with losing Big 12 records.

This weekend we start to find out if the Aggies are for real. I’ll say that Baylor’s home is tougher than the Aggies - Bears will take this series 2-1.

  • Missouri @ Oklahoma

Let’s not forget that Missouri waltzed into Texas Tech a couple weeks ago and lost a series on the road. It’s doubtful that’ll happen here. Missouri has three of the top 10 pitchers in conference and Oklahoma.… well, Oklahoma has simply underachieved. They’ve dropped their last six of seven.

The bag on the Tigers before last weekend’s shellacking of Texas was that they couldn’t generate offense. 44 runs in two games - was it a fluke, or has Mizzou suddenly decided to get their bats going?

Wednesday, Tiger senior Jacob Priday became Missouri’s career record home run holder. This past week he was the NCBWA’s Pro-Line National Hitter of the Week after setting a Big 12 record by hitting four home runs in the 31-12 mauling of Texas. He finished the three-game series with a .583 batting average (7-for-12) with four home runs, a double and 11 runs batted in. His slugging percentage for the weekend was 1.667.

Combine that guy with Tiger ace Aaron Crow, and Ian Berger, and the Sooners don’t have much of a chance, even playing at home.

Mizzou should take this series 2-1. Don’t be surprised if they sweep.

  • Kansas State @ Texas Tech

This series is for last place in conference. Texas Tech is a tough place to play, KSU is coming in off a home series loss to Baylor, while Texas Tech got swept last weekend by Kansas. It doesn’t bode well for the Wildcats.

Who wins? I hate to say it and don’t mean any slight towards these teams, but who cares?