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Bears open Big 12 play

Feb. 23, 2001

Baylor baseball plays host to Texas A&M tonight, plays away this weekend

By AMETHYST HENSLEY

Sports writer

The No. 22-ranked Baylor baseball team (9-3) kicks off the Big 12 Conference season today against Texas A&M University (3-5). The first game of the series will be at Baylor Ballpark at 7 tonight in the Baylor Ballpark. The rest of the series will be held in College Station. Saturday's game will start at 7 p.m and Sunday's game starts at 2 p.m.

'I feel really good about going into conference this year,' first baseman Ron Zboril said. 'I think we've got a good shot at winning conference again. There are a lot of good teams out there, but ... we're up there with everybody.'

The last time the two teams met, the Bears swept the series at home 3-2, 10-4 and 6-4, respectively. Baylor beat A&M again 12-3 in the Big 12 tournament.

The Aggies record on the road is a gloomy constant at 0-4 and their home record is at a steady 2-1.

A&M lost a pitching duel against Sam Houston University on Tuesday. Aggie pitcher Matt Farnum (0-1) kept it scoreless for seven innings, striking out nine batters. Sam Houston put two runs on the board in the eighth inning, but the Aggies only got one run in the ninth to give up the game 2-1.

The loss extended the Aggies losing streak to four games after a weekend sweep by the University of Arizona.

Baylor seems to be prepared for conference play after taking a game against the University of Texas at San Antonio 13-2 on Tuesday night to bump their winning streak up to five games in a row.

The Bears are holding a strong team hitting percentage at .308, with catcher Kelly Shoppach holding the top notch at .476.

Shoppach picked up his fourth home run this season against UT-San Antonio in the fifth inning.

Baylor got another boost this week when first baseman Mike Huggins was named Phillips 66/Big 12 Player of the Week. His performances against Southwest Texas University and Nicholls State University gave him a .615 hitting percentage and a 1.000 fielding percentage. Huggins is the second Baylor player to earn this recognition in the 2001 season. Pitcher Steven White was named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week on February 12.

The starters for the weekend series are yet to be determined; however, Baylor should be in good hands as the five pitchers who have started games are a combined 8-2 and have 60 strikeouts in 80 innings pitched, allowing just 14 runs, 11 of those earned.

'I'll probably go with White at home this weekend and not subject him to College Station,' head Coach Steve Smith said. 'Josh Scott has pitched there before and he's pitched well there. I don't know who'll pitch on Sunday.'