By Jeffrey Swindoll
The Bears came close to claiming their first away Big 12 conference series after winning game two against Oklahoma State, but the No. 17 Cowboys crushed the Bears 7-1 in the series rubber match to claim a 2-1 series victory on Monday.
Inclement weather shuffled the series dates twice over the weekend. First, the series was rescheduled from Friday-Saturday-Sunday to a Saturday-Sunday-Monday schedule. Then on Sunday, game two was suspended in progress to be finished on Monday, making for a makeshift doubleheader on Monday.
In game one, Oklahoma State used 10 hits to score 10 runs against the Bears, setting up a 10-4 series opening win for the Cowboys. The Bears earned 11 hits on Saturday and got a 2-0 lead in the fourth. Baylor failed to hold on to its lead after OSU scored six runs in three innings, dooming the Bears to another game one loss on the road. Sophomore pitcher Daniel Castano (2-5) pitched five innings and allowed the bulk of OSU’s hits (eight) and runs (six) on the night.
Sophomore starting pitcher Drew Tolson (2-6) helped Baylor grind out an important 2-1 win in game two, pitching five innings and giving up just two hits and one run across two days. Senior pitcher Brad Kuntz relieved Tolson to earn his second save of the season, allowing just two hits in three innings.
OSU’s Gage Green started game three with a solo home run in the first inning. The Cowboys added two runs in the third inning to make it a 3-0 lead. Smith tried a multitude of pitchers, but the Cowboys had their way with the Bears. OSU smashed two more homers later on to add insult to injury.
Though they lost the series, the Bears fought their way to their first away conference game this season this weekend. It’s a step by step process, but head coach Steve Smith was realistic about his team’s situation after the Oklahoma State series on Monday.
“We’re in a tough spot. At least we got a win on the road this weekend in conference against a very good Oklahoma State club,” Smith said. “Now we get to go back home and see if we can get a few wins against teams that are fighting like we are to get into the conference tournament.”
Coming up this weekend, Baylor faces Kansas State, another team struggling in the Big 12 this year. Before the K-State series, Baylor has a mid-week test against Lamar University at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.