Baseball drops Big 12 opener

No. 16 senior outfielder Logan Brown swings at a pitch from the University of Houston's pitcher Tuesday evening at Baylor Ballpark. Photo credit: Lariat File Photo

The Baylor baseball team had an eventful weekend in a three-game series and Big 12 opener against Texas Tech. Although the Bears came away with a victory on Saturday, they fell short in the other two games to make the series 1-2 in favor of the Red Raiders.

The action began at Baylor Ballpark on Friday night. After three scoreless innings, the Red Raiders began the scoring in the fourth inning with a leadoff double turning into a run.

In the fifth inning, the Red Raiders scored yet again off of another leadoff double and scored one run in the eighth inning and two in the ninth to put the game out of reach.

Although the Bears did find a way to put a few men on base, the Texas Tech defense was stout, with their pitching staff allowing only six hits and three walks.

“We competed,” said head coach Steve Rodriguez. “We hit some balls hard and put guys in scoring position. We just weren’t fortunate to get hits.”

However, on Saturday, the Bears found a way to get those hits and come away with a victory.

The Red Raiders jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the fourth inning off of a two-run home run. Texas Tech eventually scored again in the top of the seventh inning to make it a late 3-0 lead.

Despite being down 3-0 entering the bottom of the seventh, the Bears stepped up with confidence. Redshirt freshman outfielder Richard Cunningham started the comeback with a leadoff double. Freshman pinch-hitter T.J. Raguse sent in a two-run single to begin the scoring. Then, junior catcher Aaron Dodson sent Raguse home to tie the game at 3-3.

In the eighth inning, the Bears finally secured the lead with a score by sophomore outfielder Kameron Esthay. The Bears held the Red Raiders scoreless for the final two innings and secured the victory.

Rodriguez said he was pleased with the effort he saw and thought his players executed well.

“Being able to be aggressive even when we are down a few runs is a key for us,” Rodriguez said. “Execution is a huge part of the game for us throughout the season. We’ve been really harping on that all season, and the guys were able to be aggressive and execute today.”

On Sunday, the Bears dropped the final game of the series to the Red Raiders in a 6-5 loss.

The Red Raiders took over in the second inning when a line-drive hit turned into a three-run triple, giving them a 3-0 lead over the Bears. Then, after one more single, the Red Raiders took a 4-0 lead to enter the bottom of the second.

However, the Bears kept their composure and began to come back in the third inning. After a leadoff double and a player hit by a pitch, Kameron Esthay singled in a run and junior outfielder Darryn Sheppard hit a sacrifice fly. After Aaron Dodson got on base, T.J. Raguse hit a fielder’s choice RBI and shortened the lead to 4-3.

Texas Tech responded quickly in the fifth inning, scoring off a solo homer and a single RBI. Although the Bears scored in the eighth to make the lead 6-5, they could not complete the comeback and fell short to make the series 1-2 games.

Coach Rodriguez was pleased with his team’s overall effort for the weekend but knows there are improvements to be made.

“I thought we did a good job this weekend,” Rodriguez said. “The problem was that we just keep digging these four-run holes or three-run holes, and then we’re forced to kind of keep coming back. But I have to tip it to our offense – they did a great job competing, getting guys on base, scratching out hits and finding a way to be one swing away from tying it up there at the end, and then possibly even taking the lead.”