By Daniel Hill
The Baylor Bears defeated Louisiana Tech in walk-off fashion 5-4 on Wednesday night. In the bottom of the ninth, the Bears were trailing Louisiana Tech 3-4 and scored two runs in the frame to come away with the 5-4 victory.
The Bears scored one run in the bottom of the first inning. Senior third baseman Cal Towey and sophomore first baseman Duncan Wendel got on base by drawing walks. Sophomore left fielder Adam Toth singled to right, and Towey was able to score from second to give Baylor an early lead.
In the bottom of the second, Baylor tacked on two more runs to gain a 3-0 advantage. Sophomore center fielder Logan Brown bunted for a base hit down the third base line. Towey drove in Brown by roping a single to center field that almost hit the Louisiana Tech pitcher. Wendel followed up Towey’s RBI single with an RBI single of his own. Wendel singled to center to score junior second baseman Lawton Langford.
In the top of the third, Louisiana Tech’s offense started to gain some momentum. Junior left fielder Sam Alvis powered a deep solo home run to left field to give Tech its first run of the game. The next batter, junior right fielder Taylor Burch, doubled to right field. Senior center fielder Corey White hit an innocent grounder to Baylor freshman left-handed pitcher Sterling Wynn. Burch, who was on second, ran for third base and Wynn misfired on his throw to third and the ball went into field foul territory. This throwing error allowed Burch to score and cut Baylor’s lead to 3-2.
In the top of the fourth, Louisiana Tech tied up the game at 3. Sophomore catcher Jacob Derouen doubled deep to the right center field gap. Tech’s next batter, senior second baseman Austin Hedges, singled to center, which moved Derouen to third base. With runners on the corners, Louisiana Tech hit a grounder to second base and was thrown out at first. Derouen was able to score on the play.
Louisiana Tech took a 4-3 lead in the top of the fifth inning. Sophomore outfielder Colby Johnson hit a grounder to short, and Baylor senior shortstop Jake Miller fielded the ball cleanly but made a throwing error to first base. The error allowed Johnson to advance to second base. Johnson scored later in the inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, down 4-3, Baylor rallied to claim the victory. Langford worked his way to first with a walk. Towey blasted a liner to first base and the first baseman got his glove on the ball, but it deflected into right field. On the hit, Langford was able to go from first to third. With Wendel up at the plate, Langford scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at 4. Then Wendel roped the ball to center field for a single and Towey scored the game-winning run to give Baylor the 5-4 walk-off win.
“I was really looking for a fastball because he’s been throwing me sliders all game and luckily I got a fastball and was able to do something with it,” Wendel said.
On the mound for the Bears, Wynn gave up only earned runs. Senior right-handed pitcher Kolt Browder went for three innings and conceded only one run. Junior left-handed pitcher Doug Ashby pitched the remaining two and two-thirds innings.
“You know both Ashby and Colt had been struggling and Doug hadn’t pitched in about two weeks so you don’t know what you’re going to get when you do something like that, but both of them were pretty sharp today,” head coach Steve Smith said.
Ashby held Louisiana Tech to zero hits.
“It was an earlier game and I actually had class until about 3:20 so I got out here and the game was about to start so I went behind the field to warm up in the first,” Ashby said. “But it’s just something that you prepare for every night and before every game. Just get your mind ready for it. Today I felt really good.”
Baylor’s three, four and five hitters (Towey, Wendel and Toth) each had two hits on the day. Towey scored two runs, and he and Toth each had one RBI. Wendel had two RBIs.
The win gives Baylor a 7-6 record. The Bears play this weekend against Illinois for a three-game series at Baylor Ballpark.