By Chris Derrett
Editor in chief
Like many of Texas’ opponents this year, Baylor baseball struggled against Longhorn pitching, and a big inning early in Thursday’s game eventually eliminated the Bears from the Big 12 tournament in an 6-1 loss.
Sophomore Josh Turley took the loss as the Bears now wait for the NCAA to determine their fate in the upcoming NCAA tournament. At 29-26 overall and 13-14 in conference play, the Bears look to receive an at-large bid but leave Oklahoma City frustrated by sloppy defensive play and a lack of offensive execution.
“When two good teams play, one good team always loses, so there’s frustration,” Smith said. “This team has obviously dealt with it pretty well because we’ve had a lot of practice at doing it.”
This year marks the first time since 2002 that the Bears have gone the whole Big 12 tournament without winning a game.
Baylor hoped to give Jungmann, the Longhorns’ ace pitcher, his first loss of the season and tagged him for a run in the bottom of the first via Max Muncy’s RBI single. It was the only hit the Bears was get, though, for the rest of the game as Jungmann tossed a complete game and improved to 13-0 on the season.
“[Jungmann]’s so slow in his delivery and smooth. When he throws the ball you think he’s only throwing it about 84, but he gets on you around mid-90’s,” Muncy said.
The Longhorns plated four runs in the fourth inning, which began with Jonathan Walsh’s single and Paul Montalbano’s sacrifice bunt attempt. Turley tried to throw out Weiss at second, but umpire Jeff Henrichs ruled shortstop Jake Miller was off the bag, leaving both Weiss and Montalbano safe.
Smith left the dugout to discuss the call with Henrichs but said he did not argue with him. As it stood, the play went down as Baylor’s second error of the game, one of six committed in its two losses at the tournament.
Jonathan Walsh then safely bunted himself to first to load the bases for Cohl Walla. Walla answered with a single to left field that pushed the Longhorns ahead, 2-1, and two batters later, Brandon Loy drove in another two runs on a double roped down the left field line.
Turley exited in the next inning. His final line included 5.2 innings, one earned run on six hits and four strikeouts, and he suffered the loss to fall to 3-5. Turley has yet to concede more than four earned runs in a loss this season and has only allowed four earned runs once (Feb. 22, TCU).
“I feel like I’m pitching better now than I was at the beginning of the season,” Turley said. “I feel like that’s the case for all of our starting pitching. We were hoping to carry momentum with us at the Big 12 tournament, but just a couple of bad innings is what cost us.”
Texas scored once more in the seventh on an RBI-single. One final Baylor mistake marred its defensive effort of the weekend in the ninth, when junior catcher Josh Ludy overthrew third base on Loy’s steal attempt and Loy trotted home.
From here, Baylor looks to wipe the tournament from its memory and get back to playing the baseball that won the team each of its last three regular-season Big 12 series this year.
The NCAA will release its bracket on Monday, and tournament play will begin later next week.