By Daniel Hill
Baylor earned a dramatic 5-4 walk-off win over Pepperdine on Tuesday at Baylor Ballpark. The win improves Baylor’s record to 3-5.
The game was scoreless through three innings with Baylor starting freshman left-handed pitcher Sterling Wynn. Then the Pepperdine offense gained momentum in the top of the fourth inning.
Pepperdine sparked the four-run inning with power hitting and speed around the bases. Baylor head coach Steve Smith was forced to go to the mound for a pitching change. Senior left-hander Max Garner walked the first batter he faced, and Pepperdine added another run to take a 4-0 lead.
“I thought after the fourth inning, I thought our whole team just picked it up and everybody as a whole just played more aggressive and played more to win and not to lose,” Baylor sophomore right-handed pitcher Ryan Smith said. “There was a lot more hard work and a lot more hustle.”
Baylor mustered up a run in the bottom of the sixth inning when senior right fielder Nathan Orf hit a casual ground ball to the shortstop and outran the throw to reach first safely. Senior third baseman Cal Towey followed up with a fly ball to deep center field, and Orf was able to advance to second.
In a wildly interesting sequence of events, the sprinklers came on in the middle of the game and starting making it rain all over the field just as Pepperdine threw a pitch to junior designated hitter Brett Doe. Doe hit the ball to centerfield. With the water spraying all over the outfield, the Pepperdine center fielder was able to focus and make the catch as Orf sped safely to third base. There was a temporary stoppage of play for the sprinklers to be turned off.
Sophomore left fielder Adam Toth singled to score Orf. Baylor tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Junior infielder Grayson Porter reached base after the catcher dropped the third strike. Junior second basemen Lawton Langford worked a walk, and Orf was hit by a pitch.
With the bases loaded, Towey roped a single to right field and drove in Porter and Langford to cut Pepperdine’s lead to one, 4-3.
Baylor tied the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the eighth. Toth singled to right-center to start off the inning. Freshman catcher Matt Menard blasted a single to the center fielder, and Toth came in to score.
The bottom of the ninth started as the Pepperdine pitcher hit Langford and Orf to put them on base.
With runners on first and third, Toth belted the ball deep to right center and freshman pinch runner West Tunnell scored to give Baylor a 5-4 win.
“It was a lot of fun,” Toth said. “Everything was just going right for us today. We got a lot of hits and got a lot of people on base and just had a lot of fun. It showed that we were competing at the plate and our pitchers were competing after that rough inning that they had.”
Baylor next plays in the Astros in Action College Classic in Houston at Minute Maid Park this weekend.