I'm just going to throw this out there. The 2011 Baylor Bears were a pretty good team. They got to the NCAA Tournament. They came within one game of making the Regionals but lost to California. The team lost it's two best pitchers over the off-season, and to be honest, I didn't talk to many people who thought the 2012 Bears would be better than their 2011 counterparts.
2011 Regular Season Record: 29-26 (13-14 Big 12)
2012 Regular Season Record (22 Games Left): 25-7 (12-0 Big 12)
If anyone predicted this, they are some kind of magical prognosticator, and they should buy lottery tickets. No one did. Even at the start of conference play, when I decided that this Bears team was really something special, I would have NEVER imagined that they would go 12-0 in conference and sweep Mizzou on the road. ON THE ROAD, PEOPLE! That does not happen. Missouri is a good team. They have a very legitimate chance to make the Tournament and end up in the top four in conference. I detailed this in my last Conference Primer (Check it out here). Missouri is the class of the middle-class in the Big 12.
Mark wondered in his post if these 2012 Bears were really this good, or if this was just a ridiculous hot streak. And if they are this good, were they incredibly underrated coming into the season? Here are my answers: Yes, they really are this good, and even when the streak ends at some point, they will still be this good. Also, YES, this team was incredibly underrated when the season began. People failed to take into account what the resurgence of players like Logan Vick and Cal Towey, who both struggled last year, would add to the lineup. They also failed to see the potential of young players like Lawton Langford, Michael Howard, Adam Toth, and Ryan Smith, and the leadership of Baylor's veteran players like Max Muncy, Josh Turley, Josh Ludy, and Dan Evatt.
A few fun notes from the series:
- DAN. EVATT. The guy is on fire. He was almost a forgotten man for me at the beginning of the season, but his bat has carried the team at times during this streak. His resurgence means the Baylor lineup is incredibly deep. One-through-nine can all hurt opposing pitchers.
- Adam Toth saw his first game action this weekend since injuring his wrist early in the season. He started back up where he left off... tearing the cover off the ball.
- Dillon Newman has logged a lot of innings in relief this year and thrown really well. I definitely look for him to compete for a Starter position next year when Blank, Hainsfurther, and (possibly) Turley are gone.
I'll post much more this week about the Bears, but for now, just enjoy the awesome.