By Greg DeVries
Amid all of the excitement surrounding Baylor’s success on the basketball court, you may not have realized the Bears have been winning on the baseball diamond.
In fact, the Bears have rattled off 11 wins in a row to move to 22-7, are first place in Big 12 play and have moved up to No. 8 in Collegiate Baseball Top 30.
“It’s definitely exciting in our dugout for sure. We’re looking forward to playing every day and getting after it,” sophomore left-handed pitcher Brad Kuntz said.
Baylor’s most recent sweep was of the Oklahoma State Cowboys. The first game was a 7-4 win on Friday night. The Bears came back from an early 4-1 deficit to tie the game in the sixth inning. Kuntz earned the win in relief after the Bears added three more runs in the subsequent innings.
“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,” head coach Steve Smith said.
A crowd of nearly 3,500 showed up to Baylor Ballpark Saturday to watch the Bears earn their second win over the Cowboys. Senior right-handed pitcher Trent Blank earned the win and moved to 7-0 on the season. Blank now leads the nation in wins.
“Trent was maybe as good as I’ve seen him this year,” Smith said. “Coming off of the last one, that’s really good to see. He bounced back from last weekend really really well.”
Baylor struck first blood in the bottom of the second inning when senior designated hitter Dan Evatt hit a solo home run to right-center field. The home run was Evatt’s second of the year and No. 20 of his career.
Junior third baseman Cal Towey also hit a solo home run to right-center field, about the same spot where Evatt hit his home run. This was Towey’s first home run of the season, and the Bears coasted to a 3-2 win.
Blank was very appreciative of the high number of fans in attendance.
“I came here because I heard this was a baseball school. People love baseball here and it’s great to see them out here and supporting us,” Blank said. “I hope they keep coming out.”
The final game of the series was a nail-biter that lasted 13 innings.
Baylor was down 3-0 and had not recorded a hit going into the seventh inning. Junior center fielder Logan Vick ended the drought with a single that was hit right back to the pitcher. Evatt followed with another single before Towey tied the game with a three-run homer over the right-field fence.
“I felt like I hit him pretty well my second at bat, [I] just lined out to center,” Towey said. “I was just trying to get the ball in the air, get the guy in, and start a rally.”
The score remained tied until the top of the 13-inning. Oklahoma State added a run to take a 4-3 lead going into the bottom half of the inning.
To start the bottom of the 13th, junior left fielder Nathan Orf reached on a single. Junior first baseman Max Muncy followed with a double down the right field line. Senior catcher Josh Ludy followed with an RBI single that advanced Muncy to third.
The score was 4-4. After Vick walked, Josh Turley stepped to the plate with no outs and the winning run on third. Turley singled up the middle to score the winning run for the Bears. The dugout emptied as the Bears celebrated their 11th win in a row.
“I was just looking for a fastball in that situation. That’s what I got,” Turley said. “All around, we’re happy with the result. We fought as a team and this is a big win for us.”
Baylor will take on Texas State at 3:05 p.m. today at Baylor Ballpark.