NCAA Regional play begins this afternoon for the Baylor baseball team as the Bears get set to take on old rival Texas A&M at 2:00 CT this afternoon at Schroeder Park in Houston. The game will be televised on ESPN2 as part of ESPN's NCAA Tournament coverage.
Baylor will send junior RHP Montana Parsons (5-3, 2.81 ERA) to the mound in the opener opposite A&M RHP Brigham Hill (7-3, 2.96 ERA). Parsons will look to get the Bears off to a strong start this weekend and is coming off a solid outing against Texas Tech last week in Baylor's 4-1 loss to the Red Raiders. This will be Parsons' first start on a Friday this season as Nick Lewis has struggled mightily in his last two outings.
Both teams are stumbling a bit coming into this weekend as the Bears (34-21) are riding a four game losing streak following a two and out appearance in the Big 12 Tournament in Oklahoma City last week. Meanwhile, the Aggies (36-21) have been in a funk since the calendar flipped to May as they lost their last three conference series and were winless in the SEC Tournament.
A&M was thought to be one of the last at large teams selected to the tournament this year, but they have plenty of talent on the mound and are certainly capable of getting hot this weekend. Baylor will also want to make sure to be careful with Aggie 2B Braden Shewmake, a freshman who is A&M's one consistent extra base threat.
Baylor and A&M have previously met 315 times on the diamond (A&M leads 181-130-4) but this will be the first ever meeting between the two programs in the NCAA Tournament. The Bears and Aggies have met twice since A&M left the Big 12 after the 2012 season, with one of those happening earlier this season at the Minute Maid Park College Classic in Houston. You might remember how that one ended...
Should the Bears win today, they will advance to the winner's bracket game Saturday night against the winner of the other game Friday between regional host Houston and Big Ten champion Iowa. A loss would send the Bears into an elimination game on Saturday afternoon.