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Texas Baseball Hosts Baylor

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The Longhorns left another small army on the bases on Tuesday night against Rice but got enough timely hits and great pitching to close out a 5-2 victory. The Horns return to action tonight against Baylor in a critical Big 12 series.

Photo courtesy of bandito

Texas needs just four wins to match last season's win total, and the first three of those wins could come this weekend against Baylor.

The Bears are a surprising 14-13 and ranked 67th in ISR (against a top 20 SoS). They enter this weekend on a four game losing streak to teams not ranked 268th or worse in ISR, though before that they had series victories over a talented Cal State Fullerton team and conference series wins over Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. An ugly 14-3 midweek road loss to Texas State and two-game series sweep at the hands of West Virginia seems to have demolished Baylor's momentum from three straight series wins.

Before you think to criticize the Texas offense take a look at Baylor's stats. The Bears are second in the conference in double plays, so that's good. That's the end of the good news.

Statistic National Conference
Base on Balls (296 ranked) 153 8
Batting Average (296 ranked) 278 9
Double Plays (296 ranked) 30 2
Doubles (296 ranked) 188 8
Earned Run Average (296 ranked) 118 8
Fielding Percentage (296 ranked) 242 8
Hits (296 ranked) 236 9
Hits Allowed Per Nine Innings (296 ranked) 98 7
Home Runs (285 ranked) 159 6
Home Runs Per Game (293 ranked) 178 6
On Base Percentage (296 ranked) 251 9
Runs (296 ranked) 212 9
Sacrifice Bunts (295 ranked) 204 8
Sacrifice Flies (295 ranked) 204 7
Scoring (296 ranked) 237 9
Shutouts (124 ranked) 69 5
Slugging Percentage (296 ranked) 258 9
Stolen Bases (296 ranked) 143 6
Stolen Bases Per Game (296 ranked) 158 5
Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio (296 ranked) 199 9
Strikeouts Per Nine Innings (296 ranked) 193 7
Triples (280 ranked) 98 7
WHIP (296 ranked) 124 9
WL Pct (296 ranked) 137 9
Walks Allowed Per Nine Innings (296 ranked) 200 9

Baylor doesn't do any one thing particularly well, but they have shown they can win a series with solid pitching and just enough offense. Austin Stone has been Baylor's Saturday starter for much of the year and has been fairly dominant all season. He has seven starts and had a 0.97 ERA entering last Saturday in West Virginia (gave up 4 runs on 5 hits in 5.2 IP). The Bears also have two very solid relievers in Doug Ashby and Josh Michalec who have combined for a .97 ERA in 37 innings.

On paper this should be a good matchup for Texas. Two of the Baylor starters tend to walk a bunch of hitters and Texas should be able to eek out a few runs. If the pitching remains solid and Texas scores some of the army it puts on base then the Horns can walk away from the weekend with consecutive conference series victories.

The Horns will throw Parker French, Dillon Peters and Nathan Thornhill this weekend. I'm traveling all weekend and Abram has a thing that he may or may not have elaborated about but I wasn't really paying attention. What I'm trying to say is the weekend coverage may be a little sparse from us but hopefully we can get game threads up every day to capture the magic.

First pitch tonight is at 7 PM and the game is on LHN. This'll be your open thread. Hook 'em.