By Chris Derrett
Baylor baseball rebounded from a Friday night loss to beat Oral Roberts, 9-4, behind a late inning surge Saturday at Baylor Ballpark.
“Our pitching was better [than Friday],” head coach Steve Smith said. They’ve got a good offensive club. I thought our guys pitched today better.”
The Bears (1-1) pounded the Golden Eagles (1-1) for five seventh-inning runs, starting with junior Brooks Pinckard’s home run that gave Baylor the lead for good.
“I was looking for a first-pitch fastball, try to put a good swing on it. It got up in the air, and the wind took it out,” Pinckard said about his fourth career home run.
Senior Landis Ware added Baylor’s second seventh-inning run by drawing a bases-loaded walk, the fourth walk surrendered in the frame. Sophomore Jake Miller then kept the Baylor Ballpark crowd on its feet with a single to left that scored another two. The final run came across on sophomore Logan Vick’s high-bouncing, infield single.
Pinckard unexpectedly took the mound one batter into the eighth inning to seal the win for the Bears. Had his team not already taken such a large lead, he could have added a save to his game-winning homer.
Hard-throwing freshman Trae Davis notched his first career win despite throwing just 11 pitches. Davis relieved sophomore Crayton Bare in the seventh inning with the game tied at four and runners on first and second. Davis forced a double play ball to end the threat, and Smith intended for him to finish the game.
But after Davis walked the leadoff eighth-inning batter, Smith made his third visit to the mound, by rule requiring him to change pitchers.
“When I went out to see Trae, I didn’t realize I was out of trips,” Smith said. “So when I got out there, the home plate umpire asked me who I was bringing in. I didn’t want to bring anybody in, but I had to.”
Unlike Friday, where Baylor plated one run in the first four innings, the Bears leaped to an early four-run advantage Saturday. After sophomore Max Muncy’s two-out walk in the first inning, juniors Josh Ludy and Joey Hainsfurther delivered back-to-back doubles for a 2-0 lead.
Sophomore Steve DalPorto came home on a throwing error the next inning.
In the third, Ludy doubled off the left center wall, advanced to third on a failed pickoff attempt and scored on a Hainsfurther single.
While it was no surprise to Ludy that his low-trajectory drive didn’t clear the fence, he said he could feel a marked difference swinging the new NCAA mandated bat designed to act like wood.
“There are balls that you can definitely tell the difference [when hit]. But if you get every bit of a ball, it’s still going to go well,” Ludy said.
Oral Roberts responded in the fifth inning when Nick Baligod tripled past a diving Pinckard in center field to score two runs. A groundout allowed Baligod to tack on a third run.
The Golden Eagles tied the game at four in the seventh inning with a sacrifice bunt.
All four Oral Roberts’ runs were charged to freshman Dillon Newman, who tossed 3.1 innings in relief for the Bears and gave up eight hits.
Baylor starting pitcher Jon Ringenberg’s day lasted 3.0 innings, in which the senior held the Golden Eagles scoreless despite throwing 65 pitches.
The Bears play Oral Roberts one final time at 1 p.m. Sunday at Baylor Ballpark.