Weekend loss to TCU and a struggle of a win against UTSA left me a little disappointed as the Bears started conference play at home.
Friday the Bears lost to TCU 4-0 and were two-hit by the Frogs. Tyler Thomas turned in another great outing, 6 innings with 2 earned runs. The offense has struggled putting pressure on Friday night starting pitchers this year, and has been the most puzzling part of this team this year. The top offense in the Big 12 the last two years is now at the bottom of the conference in 2022. Jared McKenzie seems to be waking up, which is good news, but we have to rely on more than just him, Tre Richardson, and Jack Pineda to produce consistently.
Saturday saw the offense wake up, on an untimely day where the pitchers really struggled. Jackson gave up 5 in 3.2 innings, and late in the game we saw struggles from Mason Marriott, Brett Garcia, and Matt Voelker. The Bears lost a heartbreaker in extra-innings that the offense couldn’t quite bail out the pitching staff. The bright spot on the mound was Kobe Andrade throwing 4 shutout innings. He has looked very good on the mound this year and is moving into the weekend rotation against OU. This game saw multi-hit games from McKenzie, Chase Wehsener, Jack Pineda, and Tre Richardson, who has been the Bears best hitter all year. With McKenzie starting 3 for 3 with a HR. There was a lot of positives on the offensive side of the year on Saturday, and maybe this weekend can at least serve as a turning point for the offense.
Sunday the Bears were in control for the whole game. The bright spot for the season has been Will Rigney taking over the Sunday starting position. He gave us 5.1 innings of scoreless baseball. The bullpen was solid behind him, and Hambleton Oliver recorded his first save of the year. The offense again shined with 7 runs on 14 hits, again led by Wehsner, Pineda and Richardson. Jack Pineda’s circus slide was the highlight of the day and weekend for the Bears, with a lot of good edits coming from it.
The Bears walked off with a win in Waco on Tuesday against UTSA, without even a hit in the 9th inning walk off. The pitching from Grant Golomb, Adam Muirhead, Brett Garcia, and Jake Jackson was the bright spot, after Marriott struggled in his first career start.
We were gifted this game at the end, the offense didn’t apply much pressure until unforced errors from UTSA late. Its a W, so its fine.
The offense seemed to wake up on Saturday and Sunday against TCU, but the disappearance again on Tuesday against UTSA is worrisome. The Bears go to Norman for three this weekend, and it is a very important weekend for two teams in similar situations. OU is 15-7 and this is their Big 12 conference opening weekend. They have struggled some against top-tier opponents, but are up to 15 wins already. The Bears need to bounce back and play good team baseball. We have now lost 2 series in Waco one in the Big 12, and need to make up those wins on the road in winnable road series against OU this week and West Virginia in 2 weeks.
The weekend starting rotation will be Tyler Thomas Friday, Kobe Andrade(!!) Saturday, and Rigney on Sunday. I’m excited to see how the shake up works in the pitching staff, this is proving time early in the conference schedule for the Bears.