By Jeffrey Swindoll
In their first midweek game away from Baylor Ballpark, the No. 29 Baylor Bears could not overcome UT-Arlington’s hitting onslaught in a 14-3 shellacking Tuesday night. The Arlington Mavericks decimated Baylor’s pitching staff and broke the Bears’ five-game win streak against.
For the first time in eight games, the Bears did not score a run in the first inning. Hits and runs have been hard to come by recently, but the lack of offense has been made up for with shutdown pitching by the Bears’ staff. Against Texas Tech, the Bears scored only 4 runs in 3 games and still won the series. This time, Baylor’s pitching broke down and imploded.
Tuesday was the Bears’ second meeting with the Mavericks. Baylor won the first game 5-2 at Baylor Ballpark. In that game, UTA’s hitting came nowhere close to the total reached on Tuesday, and the pitching gave the Bears 8 hits and plenty of walks in that first meeting. It was a complete different story this time around.
UTA hammered the Bears early with four runs in the first inning. In the next three innings, the Mavericks scored four more. It was 8-1 by the fourth inning, and the Mavericks were still not finished. UTA scored six more runs to bring the score to 14-1. It was only in the eighth inning that the Bears finally got more runs on the board, but it was too late.
Senior pitcher Ryan Smith started on the mound for Baylor. Smith gave up four hits and six runs against 18 batters before he was taken out of the game. His replacement, junior Sean Spicer, was brought on for damage control, but ended up causing as much problems as his Smith. Facing 10 batters in one inning, Spicer gave up five hits and four runs. Spicer was taken out immediately after his shift. Senior pitcher Doug Ashby took the reins from Spicer.
Once Ashby got on the mound, the game slowed down for both teams. UT-Arlington led 8-1 at that point, and reserve players were on the field for the Mavericks. Ashby pitched two innings, only giving up one hit and zero runs. After Ashby had his turn, freshman pitcher Nick Lewis looked to close out the game quietly with no more runs. His expectations were promptly thrown out the window as the Mavericks scored four runs off Lewis.
Arlington was the start of a four game road trip for the Bears. The Bears travel to Charleston, W. Va. to face the West Virginia Mountaineers (13-8) in a Big 12 weekend series. It will be the Mountaineers’ first Big 12 series this season, but the Bears took two series wins against Texas Tech and Oklahoma State to start the season. West Virginia will be the Bears’ first conference series away from Baylor Ballpark.
The Bears played solid conference baseball the past two weekends at Baylor Ballpark, but this weekend against West Virginia will test the Bears’ ability to bounce back after getting crushed Tuesday.