Howdy folks. I know it's been basically a month of Sundays since I posted on here last, but school and life and attempting to stay out of any coachig rumors happened. I apologize for leaving this post hanging for so long, but hey! It's finally here!
This season was incredibly frustrating.
We started out pretty strong, with a sweep of Cal Poly and several series wins, but it seemed everything fell to pieces after the Cal State Fullerton series. We got swept there (don't get me wrong, CSF is a really strong baseball team and have represented remarkably well in the NCAA tourney and are headed to Omaha), and the team seemed to take a month or two to get back into the swing of things. The rash of losses in early March furthered this setback and a number of folks began calling for Smith's head. I can't even begin to tell y'all how often I was asked my thoughts on him and his coaching job during the season.
A key series win over WVU helped us gain momentum, but the fire seemed to be all but extinguished until the Kansas series. Between WVU and KU, it seemed to be really hit or miss, and the inconsistency drove fans absolutely mad. For every win that helped propel us forward, we'd be served two or three losses. That stings. A lot. Then KU happened and we finally won a series again. The fire was finally back, and suddenly many more of the pieces began clicking into place. Homers were hit, triple plays were turned, and a memorable trip to the Big 12 Tournament happened, beginning with a close game with TCU. It was a roller coaster of a season.
The final numbers for the season were a 23-32 record, going 9-15 in conference play. The team average was .255 during 1826 at bats, with 17 homers and a total of 226 runs scored off 466 hits. Kameron Esthay ended the season at the top of the averages, with .323 over 155 at bats. Logan Brown and Esthay led the charts at bat, combining for 59 runs scored, 113 hits, and 55 RBI. Not too shabby. Brown tallied 21 successful stolen bases this season, which landed him a spot at the top of the Big 12 stats as well. On the pitching staff, Brad Kuntz, Drew Tolson, and Daniel Castano all ended the season with ERAs of less than 4 (2.22, 3.56, 3.61, respectively). Jonathan Ducoff had 17 errors, the most of any other Baylor player.
TL;DR: We won some and we lost some, but we lost more than we won.
Thoughts Going Forward...
So, as I'm sure y'all have all heard, we have a new baseball coach. Paul (paul.richmond) has done a really fantastic job covering the coaching search over the past month, so I'll just throw all my thoughts about the future into this space.
I'm excited. This was a really young team, all things considered. A lot of underclassmen got loads of playing time, and there was substantial growth by the time the season was over. Freshman Kameron Esthay had the highest Baylor batting average, as well as leading with 5 homers. Tolson and Castano showed they're both solid, dependable guys on the mound. Ducoff, although having 17 errors scored against him, noticeably gained confidence during his first collegiate season. All in all, the pieces for a great season are there. (That's not to mention other guys coming in from JUCO and the incoming high school guys.) I don't know a lot about Steve Rodriguez, to be perfectly honest (I know, I'm a contributor for college ball, I ought to know this stuff, right?), but I believe he's going to fit right in at Baylor. He's a new, fresh face, and sometimes new is good. It might take a couple seasons, but I have confidence that this team will thrive. I'm looking forward to the future of Baylor Baseball.
TL;DR: Sic 'em.
Just wanted to stop by and say thanks to all y'all for reading my thoughts this season! This was my first time covering a sport all the way through the season on here and boy was it something else. Seriously though, thanks for reading.
Be on the lookout for more assorted KimboSmash buzzfeed-style sports posts coming to ODB this summer! They're coming, I promise.
Sic 'em, and fling that green and gold from hither to yon!