By Jeffrey Swindoll
While most of the student body enjoyed the one-day vacation of Diadeloso, Baylor baseball had work to do. The Bears (14-22) outlasted Incarnate Word (11-24), 2-1 on Tuesday at Baylor Ballpark.
After the Bears suffered a three-game series sweep loss for the second-consecutive week last weekend to No. 23 Texas Tech, Baylor had a quick, mid-week turnaround to get back in the swing of things ahead of the last stretch of Big 12 conference play.
It was a 12th-inning home run that lost the series for the Bears over the weekend. The Red Raiders carried the momentum of a thrilling series-winning play to complete the sweep on Sunday. The Bears have found themselves out of gas in road games this season.
“We’re young,” head coach Steve Smith said. “Sometimes they’ll show you glimpses of why they’re out there and then you’ll see something that maybe you’ve never seen before. There’s just some stuff that’s happened to this club that almost defies logic. Most of it is age and immaturity in terms of baseball.”
Last time the Bears got swept, they responded with a big win over UT-Arlington, scoring 10 runs off 12 hits in a mid-week clash. Against Incarnate Word, the Bears scored all their runs in the first inning.
Senior outfielder Logan Brown opened the game with a double down the left field line. Brown advanced to third base on junior infielder West Tunnell’s ground-out and came home on senior outfielder Adam Toth’s single to right field. Sophomore first baseman Mitch Price hit what turned out to be the game-winning RBI, bringing Toth home just a few plays after Brown scored the first run from Toth’s hit.
Just five hits for the Bears in the entire game ended up being enough for a win. The Bears rarely challenged Incarnate Word’s defense and vice versa. The Cardinals earned just six hits in the whole game
Neither team really had an exceptional night of pitching. Baylor rotated five pitchers while Incarnate Word kept the same pitcher on the mound for the entire game. Junior right-hander Kody Hessemer started for the Bears, pitching five innings until freshman pitcher Theron Kay took over.
From then on, Baylor had a different pitcher pitching each inning. All but one of the Baylor pitcher’s threw more than 10 pitches. Hessemer earned the win, his third of the season and senior closer Brad Kuntz got his first save of the year.
The Bears carry what they can from this week’s win to their weekend series against Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla. The Cowboys (24-11, 8-4), who have been a top-10 team for much of the season, have lost just three of 18 home games this season.
The Bears have yet to win a conference series on the road this season. Away games have been a distinct struggle for the Bears. Game times at Oklahoma State are at 7 p.m. on Friday, 3 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.