By Daniel Hill
The Baylor Bears took advantage of four errors from the Texas Longhorns to walk away with a 6-2 victory in the first of the three-game weekend series Friday night.
Senior right-handed starting pitcher Max Garner made his last ever start at Baylor Ballpark and delivered by only allowing two runs in seven and one-third innings of work.
“It’s my last time pitching here and so it makes it that much sweeter,” Garner said. “The offense did a great job scrapping a couple of runs across, and they made a lot of errors and we did a good job of taking advantage of it. That’s what you look for.”
Garner struck out six and didn’t walk a single batter in his pitching performance.
“I thought the pace Max used in the game was noticeably different to me,” head coach Steve Smith said. “He was very methodical and very much within himself. I thought he changed speeds. I hadn’t noticed the change of speeds in his breaking ball like I did tonight, but he was just very senior-like tonight. He was very composed and just very methodical.”
In the bottom of the second inning, the Bears got on the scoreboard with two runs to take a 2-0 lead. Junior left fielder Grayson Porter hit a hard single off that deflected off of the third baseman’s glove for a hit, and then senior first baseman Steve DalPorto earned a base on balls to put runners on first and second. Sophomore center fielder Adam Toth then put down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners to second and third. With runners in scoring position, junior second baseman Lawton Langford singled to left field to score Porter and DalPorto.
“It’s a very big win,” Langford said. “It’s always great to beat Texas and especially to get that first win no matter who you’re playing. Just to get the first one gives us momentum heading into tomorrow and Sunday.”
In the top of the fourth, Texas scored its first run of the game when it led off the inning with three consecutive hits to load the bases. Then left fielder Collin Shaw hit a liner to second base to drive in a run for the Longhorns.
Baylor tacked on one more run in the bottom of the fourth when Toth led off the inning with a single to right field, and then once again, Langford singled to right field to give Baylor its third run of the night and gave Langford his third RBI of the game.
“It felt good,” Langford said. “I was actually seeing the ball well tonight and on a couple of at bats I fell behind in the count and I knew I had two strikes in the first two at bats and I didn’t try to do too much. I was just trying to get a good pitch to hit and got a good one in the zone and was just able to put the barrel on it. The guys in front of me did a good job of getting on and it felt like three or four times that I was up there. We had guys in scoring position so that’s just a great job by the guys in front of me.”
In the bottom of the sixth, the Bears rallied to take a 6-1 lead over Texas. Senior right fielder Nathan Orf hit a routine grounder to short but beat out the throw to first to get on board. Senior third baseman Cal Towey hit a grounder to second base and hustled to outrun the play thanks to an error from Texas. Then a Texas wild pitch advanced Orf to third and Towey to second. Senior shortstop Jake Miller his a sacrifice fly to center to score Orf, and then sophomore designated hitter Duncan Wendel reached base with a hit and Towey scored. Porter followed up Wendel with a deep double off the wall to left field and Wendel scored to give Baylor a comfortable 6-1 lead.
The Longhorns tacked on one more run in the top of the eighth with a sacrifice fly to center field. Garner earned one out in the top of the eighth before senior left-handed pitcher Crayton Bare came on to finish the top of the eighth inning and the rest of the game in the top of the ninth.
“The difference in the ball game was their inability to make some plays on defense,” Smith said. “That’s just the way the game is. I thought our guys played a rather mundane, non-eventful boring game.”