By Daniel Hill
GAME ONE: Loss, Baylor 4, UC Irvine 6
Baylor baseball started the season in California to take on UC Irvine in a three-game weekend series. For the first time since 2007, Baylor started the season on the road.
On Friday night, the Bears opened the regular season with sophomore right-handed pitcher Ryan Smith on the mound. Smith pitched 2.2 innings and gave up five runs.
The Bears started off the scoring with senior third basemen Cal Towey’s RBI single to score junior infielder Lawton Langford.
Senior outfielder Nathan Orf blasted a home run to right field to give the Bears three more runs.
UC Irvine spoiled the Bears opening game on the road by defeating Baylor 6-4.
“Both teams played well, played hard,” 19th-year head coach Steve Smith said. “Obviously the difference in this game was base on balls. We had a couple really big at-bats late in the ball game that kept us in it. We played the thing like we ended last year playing. We had a lot of energy in the dugout and played it well on the field.”
GAME TWO: Loss, Baylor 0, UC Irvine 5
In the second game of the series on Saturday, the Bears were held scoreless in a 5-0 loss to the UC Irvine Anteaters.
The Bears struggled offensively due to the strong pitching by UC Irvine. At the plate, the Bears mustered three hits in the contest with one each from sophomore infielder Duncan Wendel, senior infielder Jake Miller and sophomore outfielder Logan Brown.
The day was dominated by the Anteaters pitching staff as they struck out 10 Baylor batters combined and only conceded three hits and zero runs.
“They played well, pitched it well,” Smith said. “Both of their guys pitched well. I thought we competed well. It’s early in the year – not ready to push the panic button. You never know exactly what you’ve got until you start playing someone else and see how your guys respond. This year is no different than any other year. When you come on the road and play people that are playing the game as well as they are, particularly on the mound, you learn some things about yourself.”
GAME THREE: Loss, Baylor 3, UC Irvine 15
In the final game of the series, the Baylor Bears were hoping to come home to Texas with at least one win under their belt. UC Irvine had other plans as they defeated Baylor 15-3.
The score was tied 3-3 going into the fifth inning. UC Irvine caught fire and exploded for 10 runs off of eight hits to take a commanding 13-3 lead.
“The whole weekend was about scoring runs with two outs,” Smith said. “That’s baseball. Some of it was good hitting, some poor defense, but once you get the ball rolling like that sometimes it’s hard to stop it. We ran a number of different guys out there and we weren’t able to stop it. It got away from us.”
“We are learning some things, and clearly, we weren’t as ready to pitch coming into this weekend as Irvine was,” Smith said. “We are going to take our lumps here early and we may take them for a few more games, but I think we’ll get it.”
Junior right-handed pitcher Dillon Newman gave up three runs on five hits in 4.2 innings of work.
“[Newman] was pretty good,” Smith said. “He actually went deeper than I thought he’d go on the pitch count he was on. He got some swing and misses. They made some adjustments on him as the order came up again but I thought he was effective enough to keep us in the game.”
Baylor has its first home game of the season in Baylor Ballpark tonight at 6:35 p.m. against the Texas State Bobcats. Baylor is 0-3 overall after being swept by UC Irvine.
Texas State started their season off over the weekend as well in the CenturyLink Bobcat Invitational against Missouri State, Tulane and Sam Houston.
Texas State is 1-2 overall. Texas State started their season on Friday with a loss to Missouri State. The Bobcats earned their first win of the season on Saturday with a 2-0 victory over Tulane. On Saturday, the Bobcats lost to Sam Houston, 10-9.