Baseball moves 14-14 with midweek win

Photo credit: Richard Hirst

Baylor baseball defeated Wofford 9-5 in game one of a midweek series Tuesday night at Baylor Ballpark.

The Bears (14-14) came out swinging, scoring four runs in the first inning and never looking back.

The Terriers (16-14) also showed aggressiveness offensively, but were unable to control Baylor’s bats.

Bears starting pitcher Nick Lewis started off strong, recording two strikeouts on the first two at bats of the game followed by a pickoff of McClain Bradley at first to end the inning.

Bears third basemen Steven McLean set the tone on offense, hitting a double to left field. Right fielder Richard Cunningham followed suit with a double of his own, driving in McLean to put the Bears up 1-0 early.

Darryn Sheppard continued the hit streak with a line drive to left, bringing in Cunningham to make it a 2-0 game. Kameron Esthay followed with a long double to centerfield that scored Sheppard to put the Bears up three.

Esthay then scored on a sacrifice fly by Matt Menard to put Baylor up 4-0 heading into the second inning.

“I think it sets a great tone offensively,” head coach Steve Rodriguez said of the first inning runs. “From a pitching standpoint, it made our guys relaxed a little bit more.”

Wofford catcher Carson Waln dropped a single up the middle and managed to steal second base on an error by Bears first basemen Aaron Dodson. Waln scored on a single by Mack Nathanson, putting the Terriers on the board in the second inning.

Lewis struggled to finish batters in the fourth, but a diving catch by centerfielder Levi Gilcrease helped the Bears end the inning holding on to a 4-1 lead.

An infield single by Wofford shortstop Derek Hirsch put Kody Ruedisili in scoring position in the top of the fifth, but Lewis picked him off at third to halt the Terrier’s offense.

After Cunningham was walked to start the fifth, Sheppard launched a double deep to left field to put Cunningham in scoring position. A single by Esthay brought in both Cunningham and Sheppard, putting the Bears up 6-1.

Second baseman Justin Arrington drove in two runs off a double to give Baylor a 8-1 advantage going into the sixth inning.

In the top of the sixth, Wofford designated hitter Dylan May drove a double to left field, scoring Bradley and Waln to cut the lead to 8-3.

Later in the inning, Ruedisili hit a double of his own to drive in May and make it a 8-4 game. Drew Robertson replaced Lewis on the mound following the run.

Lewis finished the game having pitched 5.2 innings and striking out five batters while allowing four runs.

“The biggest thing is that he’s making improvements,” Rodriguez said of Lewis, “he keeps working harder and that’s why he’s going to be successful.”

McLean hit a triple to deep right field and scored on a sacrifice fly from Sheppard in the bottom of the sixth to increase the lead to 9-4.

Wofford pinch hitter Brett Hash hit a home run off Baylor’s Joe Heineman in the ninth, but Heineman recovered to finish the inning and secure the win for Baylor.

The Bears have now won three straight games and five of their last six.

“We’re playing the game really well,” Rodriguez said. “What I like is that our guys are finding ways to come up big in situations when we need them.”

The Bears and Terriers face off again tomorrow afternoon at 4:05 at Baylor Ballpark.