Baseball claims first Big 12 series win

Freshman Kyle Hill pitches against Kansas during Sunday's game where the Bears clinched the weekend series. Photo credit: Penelope Shirey

Baylor baseball won their first Big 12 series this season, taking two of three games against Kansas over the weekend at Baylor Ballpark.

The Bears (13-14, 3-3) lost the series opener on Friday before topping the Jayhawks (10-15, 1-4) in two straight games.

“It’s always big getting the series win,” said freshman outfielder T.J. Raguse. “We would have liked to get the sweep, but we’ll just come out next week, play well and hopefully take it to OU and keep it going.”

In the series opener, Baylor starter Daniel Castano stuggled against the Kansas bats, allowing six runs on 10 hits, including a four-run sixth inning that put the game away for the Jayhawks.

The Bears came out the next day looking to even the series, and starting pitcher Drew Tolson set the tone early.

“Drew did a great job today,” head coach Steve Rodriguez said. “He commanded the zone really well and moved the ball in and out. To be honest, I expect that out of him. He’s a veteran guy for us, and he’s a very mature pitcher.”

Tolson earned his third win of the season, pitching 7.2 innings while garnering six strikeouts and allowing just one run.

Baylor third-baseman Steven McLean chalked up a career-high four hits while first-baseman Aaron Dodson recorded his third multi-RBI game of the season.

After tying up the series on Saturday, Baylor turned to freshman pitcher Kyle Hill for the rubber match on Sunday.

Hill delivered for the Bears, pitching seven innings and striking out four while giving up just one run.

“Every baseball person will tell you, if you can get a strong pitching performance, it eliminates a lot of the pressure off your offense,” Rodriguez said. “He just did a great job for us, being able to keep hitters off-balance, throwing strikes, being able to get the first out of the inning. Those were huge.”

Hill, however, credits the team’s defense for giving him a boost and helping the Bears win the game.

“I definitely had runners on; they were a very aggressive team,” Hill said. “Props to them for coming to our ballpark and playing the way they did. They definitely showed up ready to. I definitely couldn’t have done it without my defense.”

Raguse hit a two-run single in the second inning to give the Bears a 2-1 lead, giving him 12 RBIs in just 17 games played.

“He just finds a way to do it,” Rodriguez said. “He’s one of the quirkiest guys we have, but quirky still works for me when they’re able to execute and they play hard.

Bears outfielder Kameron Esthay put the game away with an eighth inning RBI that put Baylor up 5-2.

The Bears have two home midweek games against Wofford this week before hitting the road to take on Oklahoma in a three-game series in Norman, Okla., this weekend.