Texas owns a commanding lead over Baylor in the all-time baseball series between the two schools (231-105-4), but that has not been the case during the time the Longhorns and Bears have been part of the Big 12 Conference.
The Bears have won the regular-season series with Texas the past two years, including a three-game sweep last season, and have win nine of the 17 series between the two teams in the Big 12 era. And the in-state rivalry will be renewed this weekend as the Bears and Longhorns get after each other in a three-game grudge match in Austin.
The host Longhorns come into the series with a 3-3 conference record, while the Bears from Baylor stand at 3-3. On the season, Texas, ranked No. 8 in the country this week by Baseball America ,is 23-7, the best overall record in the Big 12. Baylor is 15-13 overall this season.
Since 2012, Baylor is 13-7 against teams ranked in Baseball America’s top 25 and has won 11 of its last 16 such games. The two teams have played on common conference opponent this season: Texas took two of three last weekend at Texas Tech, while the Bears also were on the winning end of a three-game series with the Red Raiders earlier in March in Waco, winning two of the three games.
A couple of great pitching matchups are set for the weekend series at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. On Friday, a couple of four-game winners will face each other: Baylor left-hander Brad Kuntz (4-0, 2.95 ERA) ) vs. Texas right-handed starter Parker French (4-2, 1.57). On Saturday, it is expected to be Austin Stone for Baylor and Dillon Peters for the Longhorns (both are 3-2 this season). And on Sunday, Texas will throw Nathan Thornhill (4-0, with an ERA of 0.88) against another pitcher named Dillon, Baylor’s Dillon Newman. Both of the scheduled Sunday starters are right-handers.
The Texas pitching staff leads the Big 12 and is fourth in the nation with a highly impressive staff ERA of 1.98. TCU, the team that ranks right behind the Longhorns in pitching this season is a full run worse than the Texas hurlers in staff ERA. Longhorn pitchers are giving up just over two runs per game through 30 games, which is going to win you a lot of games.
Backing up the Texas pitchers is one of the country’s best defensive teams. The Longhorns rank ninth nationally in fielding.
The Texas offense is led by senior outfielder Mark Payton, who won the conference batting title a year ago and currently ranks second in that category with a .397 average. He leads the Big 12 this season in on-base percentage (.511).
Texas-Baylor is the featured series this weekend, but there also are league games being hosted at Oklahoma State and Kansas State this weekend. Oklahoma State (20-9, 3-3) hosts Texas Tech (23-9, 4-5), while the defending conference champions, Kansas State (17-11, 1-2) take on Sunflower State rival Kansas (19-10, 3-3).
West Virginia, the current conference leader with a 2-0 record is at TCU (18-4, 2-4) to round out the Big 12 schedule for the weekend. Oklahoma (20-10, 4-2) has a home nonconference series against Bakersfield