Texas baseball ends its trying regular season this weekend against a Baylor Bears team that was just swept by Oklahoma after having won 18 straight conference games. The Horns have lost a starting rotation worth of pitchers in Sam Stafford, Ricky Jacquez and Parker French and will take on the best team they've seen since Stanford with freshman Dillon Peters going on Friday, Corey Knebel making his second career start on Saturday and a yet-to-be-announced starter on Sunday. For a squad built on pitching it hasn't been a good year.
Yet, the Horns also enter this weekend with a chance to secure second place in the Big 12 ahead of the Aggies who face a tough series in Stillwater. For all that has gone wrong this season for Texas baseball, the series against Baylor represents an excellent opportunity to shore up something of a starting rotation and solidify a 2 seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament.
Offensively, the Bears bring three hitters hitting .340 or better. Logan Vick leads the pack at .348, followed by Lawton Langford at .342 and Josh Ludy at .341. Langford and Ludy have been particularly terrifying in conference play, hitting .372 and .357 respectively with the latter adding seven home runs in 21 conference games.
On the mound, Friday starter Josh Turley has been lights out, going 7-0 with a 1.59 ERA in 12 starts. Turley is 5-0 in conference play with a slightly higher 1.82 ERA. Saturday starter Trent Blank has been fantastic as well, putting up a 9-1 record and 2.30 ERA.
Just how good have the Bears been this season? Their staff has four saves. In 40 wins, only four times has an opponent forced Baylor into a save situation. The Horns, by contrast, have 16 saves in just 29 wins.
It's a tall task for Texas this weekend but, as the old saying goes, with great something or other comes great opportunity. First pitch is 6:30 tonight in Waco with Friday and Saturday's games in Austin on the Longhorn Network. Projected pitching matchups and open thread after the jump.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 6:30 p.m. Central
Texas: LHP Dillon Peters (4-0, 2.61 ERA)
Baylor: LHP Josh Turley (7-0, 1.59 ERA)
Friday, May 18, 2012 - 6:30 p.m. Central
Texas: RHP Corey Knebel (4-3, 1.29 ERA)
Baylor: RHP Trent Blank (9-1, 2.30 ERA)
Saturday, May 19, 2012 - 2 p.m. Central
Baylor: RHP Tyler Bremer (5-1, 3.41 ERA)