By Daniel Hill
The Baylor Bears defeated UT Arlington 6-4 Tuesday night at Clay Gould Ballpark to move to a season-high five games over .500 with a 25-20 overall record.
Freshman left-handed pitcher Sterling Wynn started on the mound for the Baylor Bears. Wynn has a 5.84 ERA this season and has a 0-1 record. This was only Wynn’s ninth appearance of the season and his eighth start of the season. Wynn has been battling a blister on his pitching hand that has kept him off the mound.
Wynn showed a little bit of rust by walking UT Arlington’s leadoff batter Ryan Walker. He then threw a wild pitch to the next batter to allow Walker to advance to second base.
Then Wynn struck out the next batter, but UT Arlington’s cleanup hitter, Matt Shortall, hit a two-run homer to right field to give the Mavericks an early 2-0 lead. Despite giving up the two-run home run, Wynn struck out the next three batters to end the frame.
With one out in the bottom of the second inning and with two runners on board, the Bears went to the bullpen early, and sophomore right-handed pitcher Sean Spicer took the mound. He would go on to earn the win for the Bears.
In the top of the third, the Baylor offense broke through with two runs to tie the game 2-2. Senior first baseman Steve DalPorto singled to left field, and then junior catcher Brett Doe singled to right field to put runners on both first and second. Junior second baseman Lawton Langford grounded out to third, but DalPorto advanced to third and Doe moved to second base.
Senior third baseman Cal Towey hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score DalPorto. Then senior right fielder Nathan Orf laced a double down the left field line to bring in Doe.
In the top of the fourth, Baylor scored one more run to take a 3-2 lead. Sophomore center fielder Adam Toth doubled to left field and then moved to third base on a wild pitch. Sophomore designated hitter Duncan Wendel grounded out to shortstop for a RBI, and Toth scored. Toth finished the day 3-4 with two runs and an RBI.
Toth sparked the offense once again in the top of the sixth inning with a single to the left side. Toth ran the bases with aggression to eventually score Baylor’s fourth run of the game. Toth stole second base and then advanced to third base on a throwing error by the catcher. Wendel then reached base on a ground ball to short and was safe after a throwing error by the shortstop. Toth was able to score on the play.
In the top of the eighth, Baylor added on two more insurance that would prove to be vital down the stretch. Orf singled through to the left side, and then junior left fielder Grayson Porter singled to left. Toth continued his solid day at the plate by singling to right to score Orf. DalPorto followed up with a single to right center field and Porter scored to give Baylor a 6-2 lead.
In the bottom of the ninth, Baylor got into trouble and those two insurance runs in the top of the eighth proved to be crucial. Junior right-handed pitcher Josh Michalec allowed a single and then earned an out on a groundout to third. Then Michalec walked a batter.
UT Arlington put another runner on base after a fielder’s choice when senior shortstop Jake Miller got the second out of the inning at second base. After an RBI single, Michalec walked two more batters to bring in another UT Arlington run and to make the score 6-4. With the bases loaded, Baylor head coach Steve Smith went to the bullpen and brought in senior left-handed pitcher Crayton Bare to preserve the win and seal the victory.
Bare struck out the first batter he faced for the final out of the game and to give Baylor the 6-4 win despite the late drama.
The Bears are now 2-0 on the season against UT Arlington and continue Big 12 play this weekend with a three-game road series against the Kansas Jayhawks. The Bears are battling to defend their Big 12 Championship with an 11-6 conference record and are just behind Oklahoma for the conference lead.