Big 12 Notebook: Barrera finds power stroke, wins conference honors

Daniel Clay

Texas third baseman Tres Barrera’s strong showing at the plate earned the junior his first career Conference Player of the Week honors. Barrera hit at a .400 clip over four games and crushed three home runs along with seven RBIs and five runs scored. 

Barrera also shined at third base on Friday. With a man on in the third, Barrera dove to his right to snare a hot grounder down the line. Just two games into his new position, the former catcher fired a dart to first. Barrera’s athleticism saved a double in the Longhorns’ 2-0 win over the Horned Frogs. 

Barrera’s position switch has been a key element in the rejuvenated Texas defense. 

“Something had to change a little bit, but our mindsets have stayed the same,” Barrera said. “A little bit of defensive changes, and we’re clicking right now.”

Texas Tech Surging

The Texas Tech Red Raiders got off to a nice start in 2016 outside of the conference spotlight. That luxury could be gone after last weekend’s series against Oklahoma. The Raiders — who have already knocked off then-No. 9 Houston and No. 6 Louisiana-Lafayette — capped off last weekend by sweeping the visiting Sooners.

Texas Tech cruised to two five-run victories on Thursday and Friday before falling into a five-run deficit after two innings in the series finale. But the Red Raiders responded in a big way, proceeding to rip off 12 unanswered runs to bury the Sooners and complete the three game sweep. 

Oklahoma State sweeps conference opener

Late-inning drama propelled No. 21 Oklahoma State into the top spot in the conference. The Cowboys opened their Big 12 title campaign with a three-game road sweep of Kansas State Wildcats last weekend. 

Oklahoma State took the first two games of the series by one-run margins, and in the eighth inning of the series finale, it looked like the Cowboys would come away with an easy sweep. But with the crowd behind them, the Wildcats evened the score at four with two runs in the frame. The Cowboys were able to rebound, however, and load the bases in the tenth before pushing across the game-winning run with a sacrifice fly. 

The Cowboys 3–0 conference record places them at first in the Big 12 ahead of second place Texas Tech (5–1). 

Bissonette named Newcomer of the Week

Baylor freshman Josh Bissonette’s .462 hitting line and 1.000 slugging percentage earned him infielder Newcomer of the Week honors. Bissonette’s contributions, including a two home run performance on Saturday, helped the Bears take two out of three in a road series against Dallas Baptist.  

The freshman is the second Baylor player to earn conference honors this season and the first to be named conference Newcomer of the Week.