The baseball season may still be a couple of months off for most fans of the sport, but if you are a fan of college baseball, the season has already started. Big 12 schools got the 2013 season under way this past weekend with a full schedule of games.
Preseason conference favorite Oklahoma opened the new season with a four-game sweep at home over Hofsta, and Texas Tech followed suit, steamrolling through three opponents in the fourth annual Brooks Wallace Memorial Classic hosted at Texas Tech. The Red Raiders’ offense pounded out 39 hits and scored 36 runs while allowing its four opponents just two runs total. Tech posted two shutouts over Northern Illinois, winning 10-0 and 13-0.
The two runs against the Red Raider pitching staff were the fewest against Texas Tech in its first four games of the season, dating all the way back to 1972.
In somewhat a surprise, TCU and Baylor, projected to finish second and fourth, respectively in the Big 12 race this season, both were swept in their season-opening series. TCU, ranked 13th in the Baseball America Preseason Top 25, lost three times at now eighth-ranked Mississippi by a total of seven runs. Oklahoma State suffered a similar fate playing on the road at the University of California-Irvine.
The road doesn’t get any easier for either TCU or Baylor this coming weekend. Both schools are at home: TCU to take on 20th-ranked Cal State Fullerton and Baylor hosting 12th-ranked UCLA.
Texas, Oklahoma State and Kansas State each won two of three games in their season-opening series. Kansas State joins TCU and Baylor iu having to go up against a nationally ranked opponent this week, as the Wildcats square off on Thursday against another group of Wildcats, 11th-ranked Kentucky, in the Caravelle’Resort’s Baseball at the Beach tournament at Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Overall, Big 12 schools went 17-13 on openinmg weekend. Oklahoma is the Big 12′s highest ranked team (18th in the Baseball America poll and 15th in the weekly poll conducted by the National College Baseball Writers Association). TCU dropped to 22nd and 24th in those two national polls after losing all three of its games this past weekend.
Three new head coaches won their first games in the Big 12 over the weekend (Josh Holiday at Oklahoma State, Tim Tadlock (Texas Tech and Randy Mazzey at West Virginia).
After the opening weekend of play, Kansas freshman infielder Jacob Boylan leads the league in batting average (.615), hits (8 for 13), slugging percentage (.923) and on-base percentage (.667).
Oklahoma designated hitter Max Oberste and his teammate, right-handed pitcher
Dillon Overton were named Big 12 Player and Pitcher of the Week, marking the first time OU has earned both honors in the same week. Oklahoma State junior transfer Tanner Kreitemeier was voted the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week. Kreitemeier had six hits in 11 plate appearances over the weekend in the Cowboys’ two wins over New Mexico.
Here is the projected order of finish for the 2013 Big 12 baseball season, as voted by the conference coaches:
1. Oklahoma (6 first-place votes)
2. TCU (3)
5. Oklahoma State
6. Texas Tech
7. Kansas State
9. West Virginia
*Iowa State does not participate in baseball.
Follow Big 12 baseball all season long at FanSided’s “Talking12″ website