By Greg DeVries
The Baylor baseball team won their ninth straight game by beating the Oklahoma State Cowboys 7-4. Junior left-hander Josh Turley got the start, and sophomore left-hander Brad Kuntz got the win.
“It’s definitely exciting in our dugout for sure. We’re looking forward to playing every day and getting after it,” Kuntz said.
The Bears opened the scoring early. In the first inning, junior first baseman Max Muncy doubled down the left field line. The next batter, senior catcher Josh Ludy, doubled to the warning track in left center field, driving Muncy home and giving the Bears a 1-0 lead.
Muncy’s double extended his hitting streak to eight games and extended his Big 12 on-base streak to 16 games dating back to last season.
Oklahoma State tied countered in the top of the forth inning. A throwing error on junior shortstop Jake Miller allowed the run to score, but the error was caused by the runner reaching out to disrupt the throw to first on an attempt at a double play. The next Cowboy batter hit an RBI double to right center field, but advanced to third on the throw. He was driven home by the next Oklahoma State batter, and the Cowboys took a 3-1 lead.
“The throw hit the runner. And my question was, ‘Did the runner go in with his hands up and try to deflect the throw?’” head coach Steve Smith said. “But the throw hit him in the head.”
Oklahoma State extended their lead to 4-1 in the fifth inning on back-to-back doubles.
Consecutive singles by Ludy and junior center fielder Logan Vick allowed designated hitter Dan Evatt to bring the game within one run with a double to right center field. A sacrifice bunt by junior third baseman Cal Towey advanced Evatt to third.
This prompted a pitching change for Oklahoma State. They took their ace, Andrew Heaney, out after he threw five and one-third innings and allowed three earned runs.
Miller singled to score Evatt from third on the next at-bat. This tied the game at four.
Going into the top of the seventh inning, the Bears brought in Kuntz. Turley allowed four earned runs in six innings.
Towey began the eighth inning with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. He stole third before senior pinch hitter Joey Hainsfurther walked. Freshman Logan Brown came in to pinch run for Hainsfurther.
Junior left fielder Nathan Orf came to the plate to try and give the Bears the lead. Brown stole second before Orf was hit by the pitch. Orf has been hit by 16 pitches this season. That is the second most in a single season by a Baylor player.
With the bases loaded, sophomore second baseman Lawton Langford singled to left field to give the Bears the 5-4 lead with the bases loaded. Muncy and Ludy drew back to back walks to extend the lead to 7-4.
Kuntz ended the game by recording striking out three batters in the ninth inning.
“That’s the nature of baseball. You get lots of opportunities to respond, and [Kuntz] was big tonight. And that’s why we put him out there, we know what he’s capable of,” Smith said.
The Bears move to 20-7 overall and 7-0 in Big 12 play. They will take on Oklahoma State again Saturday at 3:05 p.m.
“It’s a huge test for us to gauge where we stand in the Big 12,” Kuntz said. “We’re just trying to win as much as we can right now. It was a huge test and we rose to the occasion.”