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Big 12 Baseball

Oklahoman Published: August 18, 1996
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BIOG: NAME: UPD: 19 -TEXT-

Baylor

Head Coach: Steve Smith (Baylor, '86). Career record is 61-55 in two seasons, both at Baylor.

Assistant Coaches: Steve Johnigan, Tommy Pharr, Mitch Thompson

Playing Facility: Ferrell Field (1,700 capacity).

1996 Record: 32-27 (11-13, fifth in Southwest Conference).

Southwest Conference Tournament Championships: 3 (1977, 1978, 1993)

National Championships: 0

College World Series Appearances: 2 (last appearance in 1978)

1997 Outlook: Baylor is no slouch when it comes to baseball - after all, the Bears have won three Southwestern Conference championships and has been to the College World Series twice. Baylor may not be a pushover next spring with outfielder Jon Topolski (.319, 22 SB) back for his sophomore season and left-hander Brett Bergman (4-5, 4.68 ERA, 3 saves) returning as a junior.

Iowa State

Head Coach: Lyle Smith (Wayne State, '78). Career record is 111-78 overall; 23-31 in one season at ISU.

Assistant Coaches: Jerry McNertney, Ed Servais, Matt Criss.

Playing Facility: Cap Timm Field (3,000 capacity).

1996 Record: 23-31 (12-14, fourth in Big Eight).

Big Eight Tournament Championships: 0

National Championships: 0

College World Series Appearances: 2 (last appearance in 1970)

1997 Outlook: Iowa State has been a Big Eight pest the past few seasons. A Big Eight Tournament runner-up the past two seasons, the Cyclones will likely find the going a lot rougher with league expansion. Top hitters Darrin DeReu (.335, 4 HR) and Sammy Cox (.316, 7 HR) were seniors. Junior-to-be Ryan Seifert (2-4, 6.44 ERA) is one of the top hurlers expected to return. Steve Larkin (4.10 ERA) had a team-best four saves as a sophomore.

Kansas

Head Coach: Bobby Randall (Kansas State, '69). Career record is 335-341-1 overall; 26-30 in 1 season at KU

Assistant Coaches: Wilson Kramer, Rick Sabath

Playing Facility: Hoglund-Maupin Stadum (1,320 capacity)

1996 Record: 26-30 (11-17, sixth in Big Eight)

Big Eight Tournament Championships: 0

National Championships: 0

College World Series Appearances: 1 (last appearance in 1993)

1997 Outlook: Kansas could struggle to make the Big 12 Tournament next spring. Outfielder Isaac Byrd (.393, 5 HR) was a junior; Nick Frank (.348) was a part-time third baseman as a freshman; and right-hander Casey Barrett (4.85 ERA) led the Jayhawks with eight saves as a sophomore. Okmulgee native Mike Dean (.291, 6 HR) could take over the full-time catching duties as a sophomore.

Kansas State

Head Coach: Mike Clark (Missouri Western, '75). Career record is 609-436 overall; 268-282 in 10 seasons at KSU.

Assistant Coaches: Rocky Ward, Mike Hensley, Kenny Gajewski.

Playing Facility: Frank Myers Field (5,000 capacity).

1996 Record: 28-26 (11-16, fifth in Big Eight).

Big Eight Tournament Championships: 0

National Championships: 0

College World Series Appearances: 0

1997 Outlook: Utility infielder Todd Fereday will be a senior, giving the Wildcats one of the best hitters from the Big Eight's final season. The Putnam North High School product hit .362 with nine homers and 56 RBIs. Infielders Heath Schesser (.344, 6 HR) and Scott Poepard (.329, 9 HR) are also back, giving K-State the potential for one of the better hitting teams in the Big 12.

Missouri

Head Coach: Tim Jamieson (New Orleans, '81). Career record is 58-53 after 2 seasons at Missouri

Assistant Coaches: John Cohen, Chopper Littrell, Chris Robertson, Don Sommer

Playing Facility: Simmons Field (2,000 capacity).

1996 Record: 39-19 (20-8, first in Big Eight).

Big Eight Tournament Championships: 2 (1976, 1980)

National Championships: 1 (1954)

College World Series Appearances: 6 (last appearance in 1964)

1997 Outlook: Missouri returned as a baseball power under Jamieson, who saw the Tigers finish with a horrendous 19-34 record in his rookie season. Behind sophomore first baseman Aaron Jaworowski (.329, 14 HR, 101 RBI), the Tigers had one of the best run-producing teams in the nation. The Tigers may contend for the first Big 12 championship with leading hitter Ryan Fry (.387, 21 doubles) back as a junior. Aaron Akin (8-2, 5.76 ERA) was a freshman, and Jeremy Callier (9-3, 6.20 ERA) was a sophomore.

Nebraska

Head Coach: John Sanders (Northern Colorado, '69). Career record is 787-448, all 19 seasons at Nebraska.

Assistant Coaches: Mike Anderson, Phil Harrison, David Crain

Playing Facility: Buck Beltzer Stadium (1,500 capacity).

1996 Record: 27-27 (8-17, seventh in the Big Eight

Big Eight Conference Championships: 0

National Championships: 0

College World Series Appearances: 0

1997 Outlook: Nebraska took a mighty fall last season, failing to qualify for the final Big Eight Tournament. Granted, the Cornhuskers did lose a lot of material from the year before, including California Angels rookie Darin Erstad. Junior outfielder Francis Collins (.424, 26 SB) was the Big Eight's second-leading hitter last spring. First baseman Todd Sears (.380, 6 HR) will only be a sophomore. Junior right-handers Steve Fish (70 strikeouts) and Jonas Armenta (61 strikeouts) try and shore up a shaky pitching staff.

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