By Chris Derrett
Baylor swept an Aggie team for the second straight weekend, this time stealing home and blasting three home runs to defeat New Mexico State, 15-5, in eight innings on Saturday. Baylor completed the two-game sweep of New Mexico State after beating the Aggies 7-5 on Friday night.
Freshman Ryan Smith, son of head coach Steve Smith, held New Mexico State (30-11) scoreless over the final 3.1 innings and improved to 4-0 on the season.
Smith sported a No. 47 jersey on Saturday after his usual No. 6 uniform went missing.
“I guess the beaver took it. We couldn’t find it,” Ryan Smith joked after the game.
Smith was of course referring to the beaver living in the Brazos River beyond the outfield fence, the beaver that has become the rallying cry for Baylor (38-8, 18-0) as they’ve now won 27 of their last 28 games, 20 consecutive at home and 18 straight conference matchups.
Senior Dan Evatt, junior Logan Vick and freshman Adam Toth all homered to “feed the beaver” on Saturday. Toth also used his speed to steal home in the fourth and spark a five-run inning in which the Bears took the lead for good.
“I think what’s different about this team, for me, is that I don’t see any difference in them when we’re ahead, behind, early in the game, late in the game,” Steve Smith said. “I think they’re pretty much the same all the time.”
After reaching on a fielder’s choice earlier in the fourth inning, Toth stole second, nabbed third and reached home on freshman Nathan Orf’s perfectly executed delayed steal of second base. Toth’s steal cut the Aggies’ lead to 4-3.
“That’s my favorite part about playing, stealing those bases,” Toth said. “Coach [Steve] Johnigan called [the delayed steal], then as soon as the catcher let go of the ball, I took off.”
Junior Max Muncy later added an RBI-single, and senior Josh Ludy followed with a one-run double to push Baylor ahead 5-4 and chase New Mexico State starter Adam Mott. Mott picked up the loss, giving up seven runs, six earned and walking four batters in 3.1 innings.
Relievers Robert Kraft and Evan Mott didn’t fare much better. Kraft allowed both runners inherited from Adam Mott to score and loaded the bases in the fifth without retiring a batter.
With Baylor ahead 9-5 in the fifth, Vick sent Evan Mott’s 0-2 pitch over the right field wall, Vick’s second long ball of the year. Evatt piled on another run two pitches into his at-bat with a bomb over the left field fence, and Baylor led 13-5.
“The hitters are in the biggest groove right now that I’ve seen in a while,” Ryan Smith said.
The Bears notched one final run on junior Jake Miller’s RBI-single in the seventh.
Baylor called upon Ryan Smith earlier than expected. The Bears’ starter, Trent Blank, went just 4.1 innings and allowed three earned runs on a season-high 10 hits.
Baylor supplied Blank with a run in the first on Mott’s wild pitch, and Toth’s solo home run in the second brought the Bears a 2-0 advantage.
New Mexico State countered and pulled ahead 3-2 in the top of the third on Tanner Waite’s two-run double. Waite doubled again in the fourth to plate another run, and Zach Voight’s solo home run in the fifth inning brought the score to cut Baylor’s lead to 7-5.
The Bears have a 10-day break before heading to Texas State on May 9. From there, Baylor travels to Oklahoma for a three-game series starting May 11 and welcomes UTSA, the only team to beat Baylor in its last 28 games, to Baylor Ballpark on May 15. Baylor’s regular season ends with a three-game series against Texas starting May 17.
Baylor holds a seven-game lead over second-place Texas in the Big 12 standings.