By Jordan Smith | Sports Editor
The No. 15-ranked Baylor Bears baseball team looks to keep their 12-1 start to the season as they take on the No. 23-ranked University of Houston Cougars starting at 6:35 p.m. tonight at Baylor Ballpark in Waco.
This is the first time that Baylor has been ranked since Feb. 14, 2015, and is also the first time ever that the Bears have been ranked by D1Baseball since they started. This is also the first time since the end of 2012 that Baseball America has ranked Baylor and the first time since 2013 that USA Today has ranked Baylor in the Top 25.
Baylor baseball head coach Steve Rodriguez said that the win this past Sunday against the Texas A&M Aggies is a win that can carry a team throughout the season.
“I think any coach can tell you there’s certain wins that happen throughout the year that you really look at, and you know that was what catapulted us into a lot of success or a lot of confidence, and we are hoping that is going to be the case with that one,” Rodriguez said.
Baylor’s 12-1 start to the season is the second best start in program history, only behind the 1984 season when Baylor started out 13-0 on the year. One player that has helped contribute to those efforts is senior right-handed pitcher Drew Robertson.
Robertson on the year so far has a win-loss record of 1-0 with an earned run average of zero. Robertson has appeared in six games this season, has thrown seven innings, only allowed three hits, walked four and struck out 11 on the year, only allowing a batting average of .130. He also has one save to his name this season.
Robertson said he really feels this team can do some things this year that they weren’t able to do last season.
“Just getting into the program last year, everybody was new and getting used to the coaches,” Robertson said. “I tell you what, this recruiting class we got this year, everybody just mixes so well. Completely different environment, we kind of have a chip on our shoulder this year. Last year, it was a good year, but we know we are a lot better than that, and we have a high standard this year.”
The University of Houston Cougars come into this weekend series with a record of 8-3, which is good enough for the No. 23 ranking in the country, according to the D1Baseball rankings. Baylor has the overall advantage against the Cougars, leading the all-time series at a record of 88-67. Baylor also leads the all-time matchups in Waco with a win-loss record of 35-29.
Junior infielder Tucker Cascadden has had his fair share of damage as well to add to this season, hitting .293 with six doubles and his first and only homerun to his collegiate career coming Sunday night against the Aggies.
Cascadden said that from a lifetime of being around the Cougars, he knows what challenge University of Houston brings to the diamond.
“U of H is no slack. Growing up in Houston, those guys are the real deal. I’ve got friends over there that play. Coach Whitting’s got a good team; they’ve got a good staff. But, like I said before last weekend, we’ve just got to play our game. That’s what we need to focus on. We aren’t going to worry about what they’ve got. If we play our game, then I think we are going to walk away from this weekend pretty successful.”
Baylor starts play against the Cougars at 6:35 p.m. tonight. Fans can tune in to Baylor Lariat Radio all weekend long for Baylor vs. U of H for live play-by-play commentary by clicking here.