By Jeffrey Swindoll
When the No. 20 University of Houston Cougars came to Baylor Ballpark Tuesday night to deal the Bears an 11-0 shellacking, head coach Steve Smith made no bones about it. In his own words, his team is “either too young or not good enough” at this point in the season.
The Bears (12-16) can get back on track this weekend in their series against Texas State this week, starting tonight in San Marcos. Baylor leads the all-time series over Texas State 49-20, 36-14 in Waco and 12-6 in San Marcos. Texas State is coming off a 5-4 loss to UTSA earlier this week.
Smith will be glad the Bears are playing just one game in San Marcos rather than the full three mostly due to Baylor’s generally solid record at Baylor Ballpark this season. Smith playfully added Texas State has “the worst-designed dugouts in the history of dugouts.”
Jokes aside, Smith admitted to his team’s issues in depth after the Bears’ loss to Houston on Tuesday. Specifically at the pitching position, the Bears are struggling. Smith, a former pitcher who takes pride in his focus on strong pitching staffs, cycled through six pitchers on Tuesday.
Apart from senior closer Sean Spicer, the Bears’ pitching staff midweek gave up 11 runs on 11 hits on Tuesday. It’s too much, too fast, too soon for Baylor’s inexperienced players, Smith said.
This weekend Baylor is led by a group of veteran pitchers for the Bears’ series against Texas State. Sophomore left-hander Daniel Castano (2-3, 1.82 ERA) faces off against Texas State right-hander Lucas Humpal (4-2, 5.55 ERA) tonight. Sophomore Drew Tolson (1-5, 4.44 ERA) will be on the mound on Friday.
“[Harrington]’s got good staff, good guys around him,” Smith said. “I saw them in the fall, busting it while in recruiting and I’ve told him that. I know they will play inspired.”
First pitches are at 6 p.m. on Thursday in San Marcos. Game two starts at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and 3 p.m. on Saturday in Waco