The final third of March has rolled around, and with that the start of Big 12 play is right around the corner for the BatCats. With that in mind, we crack open the books to take a look at how the other Big 12 teams have started off the 2014 season.
K-State (13-7/0-0) got off to a dreadful start following the first run to the Super Regionals in school history by losing five straight to open the season and seven of their first eight games. Of course, all those games came in California. Since the calamity out west, the BatCats are undefeated, winning 13 straight games by an average of seven runs per game. KSU heads to Oklahoma this weekend to officially begin their defense of the 2013 Big 12 title.
Kansas (14-7/2-1) began its season on fire, winning its first nine games and 12 of its first 13, the lone loss coming to Houston Baptist in a 4-2 game. Stanford threw water onto that fire by handing Kansas two straight losses before KU dropped its third consecutive game, this one against Oral Roberts in the Jayhawks' home opener. Kansas recovered quickly, taking two of three from the Longhorns to begin conference play, before losing back to back games against New Mexico. The Jayhawks return home this weekend to face Dartmouth before swinging back into Big 12 play.
If Kansas began their season on fire, Texas Tech (17-6/1-2) opened their season scorching hot winning 15 of their first 18 games including three of four against #3 Indiana and a victory over #10 Rice. The Red Raiders cooled off quickly once Big 12 play began though, losing two straight games against the Baylor Bears before salvaging the final game of the series. Texas Tech split a two-game midweek series with Stephen F. Austin, and they return to Big 12 play this weekend, carrying the conference's best overall record, against TCU.
West Virginia’s (11-6/0-0) roller coaster of a season started with the Mountaineers dropping four of their first six games. West Virginia recovered from the opening plummet by rattling of six straight wins, then levelled off winning three of their last five games. A three game series against UNC Wilmington and a single game against Pitt remain before WVU begins Big 12 play against Baylor.
Baylor (11-9/2-1) decided it would rather play in the rain forest than in America as five of their first 13 games were postponed. In the eight games they did play the Bears went 5-3, including a four game winning streak. After returning to civilization, Baylor was decidedly mediocre in going 5-6; however they did take two of three against Tech during that stretch, as well as the midweek contest against Houston Baptist. Baylor continues Big 12 play this weekend as Oklahoma State comes to town.
Oklahoma (16-6/0-0) started slow under first year head coach Pete Hughes, losing its home opener 7-5 to Seton Hall. The Sooners quickly recovered, however, winning 15 of their next 19 games by an average of five runs per game. The Sooners dropped their midweek tune-up against Arkansas-Little Rock 11-2. Kansas State visits Norman this weekend to open Big 12 play.
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Augie Garrido’s squad started hot, winning 11 of 15 to begin the season. Inconsistency has plagued the Longhorns of late, however, with Texas (16-6/1-2) going 3-3 over their last 6 games including dropping two of three against Kansas, the pre-season pick to finish last in the conference. Texas began a week off from Big 12 play with a victory against Dallas Baptist prior to opening a three game series against Columbia.
Overall TCU (12-8/0-0) has had a rather up and down season for a team picked to finish tied for second in the Big 12. After beginning the season by winning six of their first seven games, the Horned Frogs dropped six of their next nine. The Frogs were able to rebound this past weekend by sweeping Dartmouth, outscoring the Green 17-1. TCU dropped their strangely-scheduled non-conference tilt against Oklahoma and will start their Big 12 season at home against Texas Tech this weekend.
Josh Holliday’s second year squad started off fantastically, winning 10 out of 11 games to open the 2014 campaign for the Cowboys (15-6/0-0). However, after two rain-outs sandwiched around a loss OSU went 4-4 over its next eight games, losing some of the huge momentum they had created to begin the season. The Cowboys defeated Missouri State in their tune-up game before traveling to Baylor to start Big 12 play.
Stats via the Big 12 Conference thru March 20th. * indicates conference leader. Batting Average leaders qualified based on 3 at-bats per team game; ERA leaders qualified based on 1 inning pitched per team game.