By Nathan Keil | Sports Editor
In just his second season at Baylor head coach Steve Rodriguez led the Bears back to the NCAA Tournament for the first since 2012. After finishing 24-29 and 10-14 in Big 12 play in his first year, the Bears finished 34-23 overall with a 12-12 record in conference before bowing out in the Houston Regional following an 8-5 loss to No. 3 Texas A&M and a 17-3 loss to No. 1 Houston.
Rodriguez and the Bears look to build off their 2017 success and now, following the official announcement Monday afternoon, know the path they must travel to make it back to the tournament.
The Bears 52 game slate will feature 27 home games, four neutral site games and 21 road contests. Baylor successfully defended its home field last year, finishing 20-11 at Baylor Ballpark in 2017 and hope to do so in 2018 as well.
Baylor finished 18-16 against teams in the 2017 NCAA Tournament field and its schedule will pin it against 11 different teams from that field in 2018, including 11 games at Baylor Ballpark against Dallas Baptist, Texas Tech, TCU, Oklahoma State and Sam Houston State.
The Bears will open with a three game home set against Purdue Feb. 16-18 and host Dallas Baptist on Feb. 20 before heading out to Los Angeles, Calif. for a three game set with UCLA, a team that finished 30-27 and advanced to the Long Beach regional.
After a home game with Texas State on Feb. 28, Baylor will participate in the 2018 Frisco College Baseball Classic on March 2-4 where it will meet California, Texas A&M and Louisiana Tech. The Bears will finish the Spring Break road trip with a game against UT-Arlington on March 6 at Globe Life Park.
Baylor will enjoy a season long seven game home stand spanning the course of nine days where the Bears will have a three game set against George Washington University, a midweek matchup with Sam Houston State and open Big 12 play against Texas Tech, the latter two of which participated in the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
Baylor’s non-conference schedule will have it travel for matchups against Dallas Baptist on March 20, Sam Houston State on April 10, Memphis on April 13-15 and Texas State on April 24.
The Bears, will host Prairie View A&M on March 27 and then again on May 8-9, Lamar on April 3, Texas Southern on April 17 and Arkansas-Pine Bluff on April 18.
In the Big 12, alongside Texas Tech, Baylor will host Kansas March 23-25, TCU April 20-22 and Oklahoma State May 11-13. The Bears will hit the road for conference foes Oklahoma March 29-31, Texas April 6-8, Kansas State April 27-29 and West Virginia May 17-19.
Baylor is led at the plate by All-American catcher Shea Langeliers, who hit .313 with 10 home runs and 38, runs driven in in 2017.
The Bears return their Sunday man in the weekend rotation in sophomore Cody Bradford, but will have to replace Friday starter Nick Lewis, who graduated and Saturday starter Montana Parsons, who signed to play professionally and therefore, forfeited his remaining eligibility. Bradford was 5-5 with a 5.52 ERA while striking out 43 in 73 1/3 innings on the mound.