By Daniel Hill
The Baylor baseball team swept the Texas Longhorns over the weekend by winning all three games over the weekend.
“It’s always good to win and always good to win at home,” senior shortstop Jake Miller said. “We’ve got to take advantage of home field advantage. It’s huge and now that we’ve got a good winning streak going and with two road series, hopefully we can take advantage of that.”
On Friday, with senior right-handed pitcher Max Garner making his final home Big 12 start, the Bears handled Texas 6-2. Garner pitched seven and one-third innings and was in total command by only conceding two runs off of five hits.
On Saturday, sophomore right-handed pitcher Austin Stone had a gem of a start and propelled the Bears to a 1-0 victory. Stone pitched six scoreless innings
The Bears capped off the three-game series sweep on Sunday with a 5-2 victory. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Ryan Smith went six and two-thirds innings and only allowed two runs off of six hits.
“It’s always a big deal sweeping them, and it just keeps us in the race,” Ryan Smith said. “We’re in the race right now and we just have to keep playing tough and winning ball games. We’ve got to play tough and confident.”
The true star of the weekend was junior second baseman Lawton Langford. He was named Big 12 Player of the Week on Monday. It’s the first time Langford has ever won the award. Throughout the week, Baylor went 4-0 (by defeating Dallas Baptist on Tuesday and then sweeping Texas) and Langford played a key role in the Baylor offense for those four victories.
Langford hit .438 on the week by going 7-16 with six RBIs. He also scored three runs, had a double, three walks and two steals.
“It’s really just the guys in front of me getting on base and I just come up at the right times,” Langford said. “Every time I’m up there, someone’s on base, so the guys in front of me are doing a good job of getting on.”
Baylor’s core group of seniors has also been productive and central pieces to the team’s success so far this season.
The team has three senior starters who have been crucial to leading the team.
Senior right fielder Nathan Orf is batting .388 with 28 runs scored. Third baseman Cal Towey is hitting .311 with a team-leading 41 RBIs. Towey also leads the team with a .500 slugging percentage. Shortstop Jake Miller’s defense has been vital, and Miller has an on-base percentage of .347.
“We’ve just got to keep plugging away and this weekend kind of summed up our team,” Miller said. “We’re not going to give any at bats away. We’re going to keep grinding and we’re not going to look at the stat sheet but all we know is that if we keep winning, then our chances of advancing to the postseason are greater. If we win in the Big 12, then there is still a chance that we could get that title back.”
The Bears are 24-20 overall and are in second place in the Big 12 standings with a conference record of 11-6.
The Bears now hit the road for four consecutive games as they play against UT Arlington today and then travel to Lawrence for a three-game set against Kansas over the weekend.
“We’ve played some really good folks and right now we are just playing for Tuesday and playing for the league,” head coach Steve Smith said. “It’s an unusual season for the league.”