It seems as if the 2011-12 year is the year of the Bear, because in the world of sports, Baylor cannot be stopped.
Baylor’s football team won 10 games while Robert Griffin III brought the school its first Heisman trophy. Its men’s basketball team made the elite eight and the women’s basketball team was a perfect 40-0 en route to a national title. Now their baseball team is ranked in the top 10 in the country and is undefeated in conference play.
The No. 6 Bears (30-7, 15-0 Big 12) are currently riding a 20-game win streak, which is the longest streak in the country and also ties their school record for consecutive wins.
Baylor is led by a potent offense that sports a team batting average of .317, which leads the Big 12, and its everyday lineup features seven players that bat over .300.
The team is paced by senior catcher Josh Ludy, who is hitting .370 with a .457 on base percentage. He also garnered National Player of the Week honors on Monday by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, after a week in which he hit .647 with four home runs and 12 RBIs over five games.
Baylor’s streak will be put to the test this weekend when they will square off with No. 2 Texas A&M, in what will be a battle to determine the Big 12’s best team.
Aggies ride starters to hot start
As hot as Baylor is, the Aggies (28-8, 8-3 Big 12) could still be the better squad, thanks in part to an outstanding weekend rotation.
Texas A&M’s Friday, Saturday and Sunday starters: Rafael Pineda, Michael Wacha and Ross Stripling all have ERA’s under three and have a combined 16-2 record. The three man rotation is a formidable obstacle for opponents in a three game set, as it forces the hitters to run the gauntlet against talented pitchers every day of the series.
With a starting rotation full of future MLB draft picks, it comes as little surprise that the Aggies have only lost two series all season and have yet to be swept.
However, it’s not just the starters that are getting it done on the staff — the bullpen has been outstanding as well. The Aggies feature six relief pitchers with ERA’s below 3.19, and there are three regulars in the bullpen that have not even allowed an earned run this season.
The combination of a killer starting rotation and a shutdown bullpen makes Texas A&M one of the most dangerous squads in the country, and it will look to its staff to carry it to Omaha for the second straight year.
Big 12 is top heavy this season
With the loss of Colorado to the Pac-12 and powerhouse Nebraska to the Big 10, the Big 12 is lacking depth as a conference this season.
Sure, the Big 12 has two teams in the top 10 in the country and three ranked squads overall, but the bottom of the conference is especially weak this year.
Of the 10 schools, only five (Baylor, Texas A&M, Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech) have records better than one game over .500, and only three schools have winning conference records — Baylor, Texas A&M and Texas at a combined 33-6. The other seven teams are a combined 24-51 in Big 12 play.
Printed on Thursday, April 19, 2012 as: No. 6 Bears sit atop conference standings