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Baylor Baseball

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly from Baylor's Week of Sports

March 27, 2023

Spring football has sprung, Stillwater is a diamond house of horrors, and Big 12 basketball gets shut out as the spring calendar enters the Final Four phase. 

Here's a look at The Good, The Bad & The Ugly from the past week in Baylor Athletics. 

The Good

Football's Back — It was great being on campus to see the start of spring drills. Not only do we get our first glimpses into the building of next year's team, but Aranda talks regularly, assistant coaches get to speak, along with player reps for every group, and we also get viewing windows into practices over the next few weeks There was also the bonus of seeing the progress on football facilities. There's lots of change wherever you look, from the practice fields to the stripped-down indoor, to the initial stages of the football ops center. But most of all, to the team itself, on the coaching staff and roster. Lessons were learned and addressed, and hearing Dave Aranda speak about his errors was refreshing, serving as a perfect transition from 2022 to renewed optimism in 2023. Also, we only get to talk with assistants this time of year, so it was wonderful hearing from Shawn Bell about his new QB room, for example, and looking forward to more of all the above. 

QB Battle — Speaking of which, as the QB1 competition ramps up, we got some new insight thanks to interviews with Aranda and Bell, but also the competitors, Blake Shapen and Sawyer Robertson. Everyone involved appears on the same page; there's no urgency to rush through this process. Aranda and Bell highlighted plenty regarding both players and are impressed by Robertson already. Shapen was excellent at discussing his need for self-improvement and patiently handled his session. He's improved there, and it's clear he needed more time to fully take everything that comes with starting last season. As for Robertson, he also answered questions easily, and you definitely notice his height and confidence immediately. You also saw mutual respect. We have yet to hear from RJ Martinez, but I like the state of the QB room right now.

Big WBB Return — Aijha Blackwell officially announced she would return to Waco for a final season after missing most of 2022-23 due to injury reasons. The season may be over for Nicki Collen and the Bears, but the offseason is already generating excitement for next year's potential. 

Men's Tennis — In their lone contest, the Bears traveled to Dallas and defeated SMU 4-0. They'll return to the road for matches against Oral Roberts and Tulsa. Then, they'll host UTRGV and Texas Tech at the Hurd Tennis Center on Saturday. 

Track & Field — The Bears unofficially opened the outdoor season by hosting the Clyde Hart Classic on Friday and Saturday. Day one highlights included Gary Moore Jr earning gold and setting a program record in the hammer throw. Elsewhere, individual golds included Koi Johnson in the women's long jump, Imaobong Uko in the women's 200 meters, and Ryan Day in the men's 1500m. On day two, the Bears earned five wins in front of their home crowd. Those included the men's 4x100-meter relay, the women's 4x400-meter relay, the men's and women's quarter-mile thanks to Dillon Bedell and Mariah Ayers, and finally, Noah Monroy in the men's 3,000-meter contest. Up next, the Texas Relays in Austin are starting on Wednesday.  

Undefeated A&T — The dominant Bears moved to 6-0 with a win over Quinnipiac at home on Sunday. They host Oregon on Saturday at the Ferrell Center. That should be great fun. 

Equestrian — The No. 8 Bears demolished No. 9 Fresno State, 16-4, in the consolation game to finish third at Stillwater's Big 12 Equestrian Championships. The team also earned several conference honors as Dominika Silvestri was named an Outstanding Performer in Fences at the event, but also won Big 12 Flat Rider of the Year. Silvestri was joined by Madison Mitchell, Annie Vorhies, and Maddie Vorhies as All-Big 12 Flat selections, while Madaline Callaway and Jenna Meimerstorf were All-Big 12 Reining. 

Women's Golf — The No. 14 Bears took home third place at the PING/ASU Intercollegiate in Tempe, AZ. Sophomore Sera Hasegawa led the squad, earning a share of the individual title at the event. No. 23 Northwestern and No. 11 Arizona State finished ahead in first and second. 

XFL — The season rolls along, and former linebacker Jordan Williams made a big play for the San Antonio Brahmas as they picked up a win over the Arlington Renegades. 

Women's Tennis — The Bears had a 2-1 week defeating Denver 5-2 on Tuesday and West Virginia 6-1 on Friday. Unfortunately, they couldn't finish the week in style against No. 6 Iowa State, dropping the contest 6-1 on Sunday. Sophomore Alina Shcherbinina notched the team's only point in the loss. They take on Texas Tech in Lubbock on Friday and TCU in Fort Worth on Sunday. 

The Bad 

Big 12 Shutout — Granted, this all depends on your viewpoint, but there will be no Big 12 National Champion in either men's or women's basketball after zero teams reach the Final Four. The women's side is not a huge surprise, given the lack of super-elite groups compared to years past. But the men's side is a bummer, given the recent Natty and Final Four appearances, wins, and streaks. Retaining those prideful but goofy bragging rights would have been nice, especially amidst recent PR wars. It would have been incredible to see Jerome Tang and the Wildcats win at least one more, and I thought Texas might win it all. But then again, that conference pride isn't worth the drawbacks. So, not such a bad thing after all? For now, Baylor Basketball gets to keep breathing that rare air of hoops success others don't fully understand. 

Baylor Athletics

The Ugly 

Slaughter in Stillwater, Part 1 — Despite a 7-0 lead, Baseball fell 11-9 in extras on Friday night and was swept, getting outscored 25-10 in the next two games, including a seven-inning run-rule loss on Sunday. They couldn't avoid giving up a couple of big innings in each contest, which doomed them all weekend. The Bears did earn a clutch 7-6 win over Sam Houston in the prior midweek contest, but the week ended on a sour note. Next, they'll host ACU on Wednesday and head to Lawrence for a weekend series with the Jayhawks. 

Slaughter in Stillwater, Part 2 — No. 20 Softball is Top 25 good this season, but the Sooner State has a couple of Big 12 juggernauts and is operating on a different level these days. Like their male counterparts, the No. 2 Pokes used extras to earn a Friday night win and won the next two less dramatically, 5-0 and 5-1. Hopefully, shaking it off, the Bears return home to host UTSA on Tuesday, travel to Texas State on Wednesday, and then welcome in Kansas for a weekend series at Getterman starting on Friday. 

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The Good, The Bad & The Ugly from Baylor's Week of Sports

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