WACO, Texas — Riding a four-game winning streak, the Baylor Bears baseball team seems to finally be putting the pieces together, heading into a crucial three-game series with No. 7 Texas at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
The Bears (20-17, 4-8) won each of their last three games, despite not having a starting pitcher throw more than three innings. In those games, the Baylor bullpen combined to allow just 11 runs.
Head Coach Steve Rodriguez admitted the Baylor bullpen has been a source of concern this season, citing a lack of consistency from just about every pitcher. However, after a successful week from that group, he says his confidence in them is as high as it has been all season.
"They're taking advantage of the time that they have on the field," reliever Jake Jackson said. "And they want to help us win. I think that's what its come down to."
Jackson has been effective since moving to the bullpen earlier this season. He started the year as the Bears' Saturday starter. In his last two appearances, Jackson has thrown 4.2 innings, allowing just one run.
Now, the Bears will see if the bullpen can hold up against a potent Texas offense. The Longhorns have also had issues with their bullpen in recent weeks. Just Wednesday night, they blew an 8-1 lead against Air Force, needing a walk-off two-run home run in the ninth to salvage a win.
Still, this weekend is a major test for the Bears.
"Our backs are against the wall," Jackson said. "We know we have to make pitches. We have to execute on the field. We have to play defense. So, we are doing whatever we can to grind out wins and put ourselves in position to play for a regional."
Friday, 6:30 p.m.: Will Rigney (2-1, 4.42 ERA) vs. Pete Hansen (6-1, 2.78 ERA)
Saturday, 1:00 p.m.: Kobe Andrade (3-1, 3.20 ERA) vs. Tristan Stevens (4-4, 4.37 ERA)
Sunday, 1:00 p.m.: Tyler Thomas (4-3, 1.97 ERA) vs. Lucas Gordon (3-1 2.74 ERA)