Baylor launches into Top 25 with stellar weekend in Houston

WHAT A WAY TO END IT Baylor shortstop Tucker Cascadden, center, is mobbed by his teammates after hitting a walk-off three run home run to defeat Texas A&M in an NCAA college baseball game in Houston on Sunday, March 5, 2017. Photo credit: Associated Press

By Jordan Smith | Sports Editor

The Baylor Bears baseball squad took two out of three games over the weekend in Houston as it competed in the Shriners Hospital for Children College Classic.

Throughout the weekend series, the Bears took on Ole Miss, LSU and Texas A&M.

Baylor Bears baseball head coach Steve Rodriguez reflected on the weekend performance from the entire team, but said he knows the season is far from over.

“Well, we have 40 games left. When you think about it, that’s a lot of baseball,” Rodriguez said. “But I’ll tell you what, coming down here with an unbelievable cast of teams here in this tournament, being able to take two out of three is really something exciting for us. I know for our guys it’s going to make the trip a little easier.”

On offense, Baylor scored 10 runs on 22-for-96 hitting for an average of .229 and also got on base with five walks over the weekend.

Junior infielder Tucker Cascadden played the tournament with a bit of extra motivation since he was playing in his hometown of Houston where he attended Lamar High School.

Cascadden said it was an unreal experience to hit the grand slam at Minute Maid Park and a moment he will never forget.

“If you told me this was going to happen before the tournament, I would have thought you were crazy,” Cascadden said. “The way it fell in place with me going up in that situation, those are times that you dream about with the bases loaded. I’m so happy, and hopefully I can stay hot like that and keep it going for the rest of the season.”

Cascadden’s walk-off grand slam against Texas A&M was his first collegiate home run. He went three for eight on the weekend with five runs batted in and one walk as well.

The Bears’ pitching staff held up its end over the weekend, allowing only 11 runs on 25 hits, walking eight batters and striking out 27 over the series.

Rodriguez reflected on Cascadden’s role on the team and his walk-off grand slam to defeat Texas A&M by a score of 6-3 and close out the College Classic on Sunday night.

“I’ve hit ninth plenty of times in my career and people don’t realize that it is a spot in the line-up,” Rodriguez said. “Sometimes that spot in the line-up is going to come up big. I’ll tell you what, he’s been one of our most successful RBI [runs batted in] guys throughout this season. He’s a competitor, he’s a baseball player, he loves to play and this team loves him. That was a pretty impressive shot he had off of a really good pitcher and to see the excitement from him and his team brings me joy.”

Baylor goes at it once again as the team takes on the University of Houston Cougars at 6:35 p.m. on Friday to kick-off a three-game weekend series at Baylor Ballpark. Fans can tune in to Baylor Lariat Radio for the entire weekend of games. Check the Lariat Radio schedule for days and times.