By Jeffrey Swindoll
Baylor baseball takes on conference rival No. 20 Oklahoma State in a three-game series at Baylor Ballpark during the Bears’ special weekend honoring the armed forces with camouflage-themed uniforms.
Oklahoma State (15-6, 0-0) was projected to finish second in the Big 12 preseason, but this series against Baylor will be the Cowboys’ Big 12 season opener.
Baylor (11-9, 2-1) won its first Big 12 series last weekend against Texas Tech.
The Bears have three conference games already under their belt, so Baylor will have that slight experience advantage over OSU for this weekend. Senior second baseman Lawton Langford said the Cowboys will be ready to play regardless of how early it is in the conference season.
“[OSU] is always a good club, but really that’s just the whole Big 12,” Langford said. “Every weekend you’re going to be facing goods and good teams. So you’ve just got to come prepared every weekend. I’m sure they will be fired up, but I don’t think we’ll have any problem getting up for that series either.”
Senior pitcher Dillon Newman (2-1, 3.08 ERA) starts on the mound for the Bears today. Newman and reliever Josh Michalec combined to shut out Texas Tech in a 1-0 win last Friday.
“We saw Texas Tech, and they obviously pitched it well,” sophomore infielder West Tunnell said. “We only scored four runs in three games. You see that quality Big 12 pitching, that kind of gets you in a groove and we kept the bats alive on Tuesday against Houston Baptist. I think that will spring us forward into a good weekend against Oklahoma State.”
Weather has been a significant factor in the past four games for the Bears, including a series win over Texas Tech and a midweek one-off win against Houston Baptist.
“Some guys put some real good swings on the ball, but then you look up and they were just not going anywhere. Offensively, [strong wind is] frustrating,” Langford said.
When the Bears played OSU in Stillwater last year in a three-game series, game three was called off because of snow. Those same frustrations from the Texas Tech series’ weather most likely will not be repeated as the forecast looks great for the weekend. Snow is certainly not in the cards when the Bears face the Cowboys.
“I think it’s very important to try and get the first win and get off to a good start,” junior outfielder Adam Toth said. “It’ll set the tone for the rest of the weekend.”
The Bears hold a 10-2 record at Baylor Ballpark, and 2-1 against the Big 12 this season. Both records will be put to the test by Oklahoma State, and the Bears prioritize protecting their home turf.
“We’re blessed to play at a place like this, at Baylor Ballpark,” Tunnell said. “We take advantage of the home, the nice weather hopefully that we have weekend, and hopefully that can translate to a couple road wins as well. I’m excited to play here this weekend.”
First pitch is at 6:35 p.m. today, 3:35 p.m. Saturday and 1:05 p.m. Sunday. Game one and two will be on Fox College Sports and game three will be on Fox Sports Plus.