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Baylor Baseball

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

May 1, 2023
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The A&T dynasty continues, and the NFL Draft makes one big Bears' dream come true and creates opportunities for several other gridiron alums. Meanwhile, as regular seasons started winding down, it was a rough weekend at the office for the diamond sports. 

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


THE GOOD 

Natty Them x8: Felecia Mulkey and the Bears won their eighth straight NCATA National Championship, defeating the familiar Oregon Ducks in the team competition, along with wins in five individual events. The program once again provided its yearly dose of dominance and championship pride. There's no debate about dynasties here. 

Abram Smith: Baylor's former star running back has been a standout in the XFL, leading the league in rushing and aiding the D.C. Defenders in their 9-1 record as they won the North Division Championship game on Sunday. Smith had a touchdown on an otherwise workmanlike day. Smith and the Defenders will now face the South Division champ, the Arlington Renegades, in the XFL Championship game, on May 13 at the Alamodome. 

Siaki Ika: It's always cool to see people's dreams come true, and Ika was undoubtedly an influential person and player during his two seasons in Waco. Here's hoping he finds success and security on the next level. The brighter star Apu becomes, the better the story and the more profound the impact, potentially, on the program. 

New Commit: Dave Aranda, Matt Powledge, and the Bears picked up another boost on defense with the portal addition of Oregon DE Treven Ma'ae before the window closed. The roster turnover continues this offseason, but it's been a fascinating process. As late additions, the former Duck and Byron Vaughns look great on paper and hopefully answer lingering questions about the pass rush and formidability up front. 

Officially Official: MBB announced the signing of transfer PG Jayden Nunn. Roster construction is fascinating this offseason, and Nunn is a significant puzzle piece. 

Men's Tennis Accolades: For Men's Tennis, the team of Tadeas Paroulek and Zsombor Velcz earned 1st team doubles honors. Individually Paroulek was first-team singles and Velcz second-team. The team will find out their regional destination on Monday. 

Women's Tennis Accolades: Alina Shcherbinina earned an All-Big 12 first-team spot in singles action. 

Big 12 Picks: Whether looking at the current or future version of the conference layout, the league held up well as the third-highest in another category, players selected. I'm not going to champion 

Track Medalists: The Bears earned three golds at the LSU Invitational in Baton Rouge. Nathaniel Ezekiel won the men's 400-meter hurdles, Ryan Day won the men's 1500m, and Hayden Gold took gold in the women's 3000 steeplechase. Meanwhile, Annamaria Kostarellis took silver in the women's 1500 meters. Imaobong Uko won a pair of bronzes in the women's 400m and 200m races. Finally, Chinecherem Prosper Nnamdi struck silver in the javelin. 

WBB Attrition: Junior forward Erika Porter entered the transfer portal, only a year removed from transferring in from Illinois. Sometimes I'm unsure where to place these moves because you can only celebrate so much attrition. However, this is not a shock given how the numbers, minutes, and her place or lack thereof on next year's roster. Hopefully, Collen can find some more impact with the newly opened spot. The WBB portal remains open until May 11. 


THE BAD 

One Draft Pick: I was hoping Connor Galvin might hear his name called, perhaps even Christian Morgan. Just one more pro dream fulfilled. Instead, the draft consisted of one massively long wait on night two until Siaki Ika finally received the phone call from Cleveland, narrowly avoiding falling to day three. Then, the hours-long marathon on Saturday produced no other choices. Last year set a record, and we all expected a downswing, but you hate it for certain players. Fortunately, a handful of those names are getting tryouts or initial undrafted deals, so that's certainly better than nothing. Hopefully, they all maximize the invite. 

Softball: The #20 Bears dropped their road series at last-place Iowa State, thanks to a narrow 6-5 loss on Sunday. The Cyclones have seemed like a real thorn in the side this sports year. The Bears will end the regular season this week with a three-game split series against Top 5 Texas. Friday's game will occur in Austin, and Saturday and Sunday's contests will be at Getterman Stadium. So, a big weekend for softball is coming up. 

Men's Golf: Finished sixth place at the Big 12 Championships in Hutchinson, KS. Drew Wrightson earned a spot on the All-Big 12 Tournament team after a tie for sixth. Mike McGraw and the Bears now await their regional announcements on Wednesday. 

NBA Playoff Hopefuls: Scott Drew and the staff's ability to recruit and spawn NBA talent has created some extra interest during this postseason. Unfortunately, two Bears won't be hoisting the Finals trophy this year, a surprise to no one. The Nuggets eliminated Taurean Prince and the T-Wolves early in the week. Then, on Sunday, Davion Mitchell and the Kings were eliminated in Game 7 by the Warriors, as Steph Curry showed why he's one of the all-time greats, past and present. There's still hope for Ish Wainwright, though, as he and the Suns face an early 1-0 deficit vs. Denver in the West semis. 


THE UGLY 

Baseball Swept: The Mountaineers climbed to the top of the Big 12 standings thanks to their weekend sweep of the Bears in Waco, as the home team dropped to 15-29 on the year. Don't get it twisted, WVU is a good baseball team, but they outscored the Bears 33-8 over the three contests. The season calendar is slowing down, and only one weekend conference series remains. But before then, Mitch Thompson and the gang get a breather from Big 12 play this week. Breaking the cycle, they'll travel to Abilene for a Tuesday night game and then host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi the following night before getting a rare weekend off and a much-needed breather, one would imagine. 

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The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

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