After a sweep at the hands of Oklahoma last weekend, the No. 7 Baylor Bears need wins to ensure a national seed and home field advantage until a possible trip to Omaha for the College World Series. Texas hasn't had the sort of season to which they are accustomed and isn't in the national seed discussion, but a good showing against Baylor this weekend can lock down their spot in the tournament and give them a better shot at making a darkhorse run in the postseason.
No. 7 Baylor (40-13, 18-3) can finish the year with the second-best winning percentage in the Big 12's 16-year history with a series win, second only to Texas' 2010 mark of 24-3 in conference play. After blowing out Texas-San Antonio 14-3 on Tuesday, Baylor extended its school-record home winning streak to 21 games, including the 11 conference games they have played in Waco this year. Some outlets are saying the Bears have already clinched a national seed; others point to their 9-7 record against the RPI Top 50 and say "not so fast." A series win against Texas would change those doubters' minds.
The Longhorns (29-18, 13-8) currently rank No. 50 in the RPI, which means they are living in that murky Bracketology land where ESPN has them as a lock for at least a 3-seed and making a trip to Houston to fight it out with Rice and TCU, yet Baseball America says to feel safe the 'Horns need a series win against Baylor or a run in the Big 12 tourney.
Game One: Thursday 6:30 CDT, TV: MYTX
Steve Smith and Augie Garrido both throw their best left-handers in Waco Thursday night. The Bears look to have the advantage, as they start Josh Turley (7-0, 1.59) a quintessential crafty southpaw who rarely cracks 90, but his stuff breaks hard enough he'll likely go in the first 10 rounds of June's MLB Draft. Freshman Dillon Peters (4-0, 2.61) has been solid for the 'Horns, though he doesn't always go deep into games.
Game Two: Friday 6:30 CDT, TV: LHN
Star closer Corey Knebel (4-3, 1.29) makes his second start of the year for Texas. Trent Blank (9-1, 2.30) dropped his first decision of the year at Oklahoma last week; he went eight innings and gave up one run to get a loss.
Game Three: Saturday 2 p.m. CDT, TV: LHN
Baylor's Tyler Bremer (5-1, 3.41) and Texas' John Curtiss (2-2, 3.40), both usually bullpen arms, are slated to make starts in the series finale.
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