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What Baylor Baseball needs to do to finish the season strong

What Baylor Baseball needs to do to finish the season strong

Going into this season, I had three major goals that I wanted to see head coach Mitch Thompson’s Bears achieve: make the Big 12 Tournament, play their best baseball in April and May, and have a strong core of returning talent for the coming year.

On paper, I think Baylor’s roster has the bones to be a potential NCAA Tournament team next spring. However, after a scorching April in which the Bears won 10 of 11 games, they have been on a downward spiral in recent weeks, losing eight straight conference games and putting themselves in serious danger of missing the Big 12 Tournament for a second straight year .

All hope isn’t lost on missing the conference tournament, but in order to make it late and grab the 10th and final bid, I’ve listed what Baylor (21-26, 9-15) will need during the final two weeks of the season.

LF Wesley Jordan returns to the lineup

Since going down with a concussion in the series opener against No. 21 West Virginia on April 26, left fielder Wesley Jordan (Jr.) has not returned to the starting lineup and has missed seven straight games – Baylor is 2-5 during that stretch .

Baylor Athletics

LF Wesley Jordan (Jr.) has missed seven straight games due to a concussion – Baylor is 2-5 during that stretch.

Jordan is BU’s biggest power threat and perhaps the Bears’ second-best hitter. He leads the team in on-base percentage (.461) and is second in extra-base hits (19). Jordan has reached base in 31 consecutive games and is the first player since Davis Wendzel (37) in 2018 to reach base safely in 30 consecutive games.

Without the star slugger at the heart of the order, Baylor’s already depleted lineup is still far from full strength. If Jordan can play against No. 18 Oklahoma this weekend, he will be a welcome addition and a nice morale boost for the Bears.

Limit free passes


In Friday’s loss to TCU, RHP Mason Marriott (Jr.) pitched a career-high eight innings and allowed just four hits and two earned runs.

During Baylor’s back-to-back losses to Kansas (27-17, 13-11) and No. 21 West Virginia (28-18, 15-9) in late April, the pitching staff combined to give up 48 earned runs and spend 56 free passes in a period of six matches. While participating in the TCU series last weekend, limiting walks and hit batters was a major topic of discussion.

“We concentrate too much on the free passes,” left-handed pitcher Ethan Calder (So.) said last Thursday. “We say, ‘Oh, it’s a 3-2 count, I can’t walk him.’ We have to switch our mentality to offensive hitters and be confident in our stuff.

While not a well-known success, Baylor’s pitching staff has taken some steps in the right direction in the last four games – allowing 30 earned runs and completing 22 free passes in 38 innings of work.

Sixteen of the Horned Frogs’ 26 runs came against Baylor’s Saturday and Sunday starters, Collin McKinney (RFr.) and Mason Green (Fr.) and veteran reliever Patrick Hail (RJr.).

Play Clean Defense

Another important and often overlooked aspect of the game is defense. After a rough start to the year, Baylor’s defense has improved significantly in recent weeks. The Bears have committed just three errors in their last seven games. Thompson’s team is 17-15 when they make one or fewer mistakes and 4-11 when they make two or more.

Jack Mackenzie – SicEm365

Baylor is 17-15 when making one or fewer mistakes and 4-11 when making two or more.

However, one crucial error occurred in the 11th inning of Saturday’s 9-7 loss to TCU. With a runner on first base and no outs, Calder was back on the mound, continuing a career-high seven innings, having surrendered just one earned run to that point.

The left-hander got TCU’s leadoff hitter, Anthony Silva (So.), to line out to the shortstop, but in a rushing attempt, Tyriq Kemp (Jr.) caught the ball and sailed the throw to first base in a attempt to complete the doubles match. .

The Horned Frogs runner promptly advanced to third base and scored in the next at bat. From that moment on, the floodgates opened and TCU hung a three-point position in the frame to ice the victory in overtime, 9-7.

“It’s a disciplined game that we have to learn from,” Thompson said after the game. “(Kemp’s) trying to make a game that probably shouldn’t be made. Because we pushed the issue, it turned into a runner on third base, and now we’re stressed. If there’s one out and there’s a runner on first base, that’s not a problem.”

3B Hunter Teplanszky is the best version of himself

After a successful second season, third baseman Hunter Teplanszky (Jr.) entered 2024 with high expectations and had a year with ups and downs. Teplanszky has been quite an enigma this spring; he leads the team in strikeouts (54), multi-hit games (16) and multi-RBI games (8).

Jack Mackenzie – SicEm365

3B Hunter Teplanszky (Jr.) drew a career-high three walks in Tuesday’s win over Tarleton.

When he is free, swings and misses are a big problem. From April 11 to May 5, Teplanszky went 11-for-54 at the plate with 23 Ks and six RBIs, despite hitting mostly in the four-of-five hole.

At his best, though, he’s a hitting machine. From March 16 to April 7, Teplanszky went 21-for-50 with 5 Ks and 15 RBIs.

On Tuesday 11-4 to win over Tarleton, Teplanszky appeared to take a step in the right direction, drawing three walks and crushing a two-run double off the wall in right-center field. For Baylor’s lineup to be dangerous these last two weeks, Thompson needs Teplanszky to be the best version of himself.

“You never know when the page will turn, so getting a win like this gives us all the confidence in the world going into the weekend,” Teplanszky said after beating Tarleton. “I was trying to slow the game down and get comfortable in the batter’s box again and seeing the ball deep.”

Win one game against No. 18 Oklahoma

For a full breakdown of the possible scenarios in which Baylor could make the Big 12 Tournament, click here. Regardless of what happens elsewhere in the conference, the Bears desperately need to find a way to break their conference losing streak and pick up a win in Norman against the No. 18 Oklahoma Sooners (29-17, 18-6). weekend.


Baylor ends the season with a series at home against UCF.

“We have to play a little bit better here and there and we have to win games,” Thompson said after Sunday’s loss to TCU. “If you get close, it’s not enough. Adding an extra innings won’t be enough. Winning is what’s going to make it. We have to go to OU and we have to win games. Then we have to come home and play Central Florida and win games, so that’s where the focus is.”

Although winning the series against Oklahoma is unlikely – if Thompson’s side can get one win this weekend they will be in a much better position standings-wise and will be able to control their own destiny when they face the final series of the year Entering UCF. (30-15, 11-12).