Baseball drops wild final series with Kansas State

Baylor redshirt junior Alex Phillips pitches in a Feb. 28 game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Baylor Ballpark. The Bears won 17-3. Photo credit: Liesje Powers

By Nathan Keil | Sports Editor

Baylor baseball (34-19, 12-12) saw its seven game winning streak come to an end on Friday when it dropped the final two games of its last conference series with Kansas State, 10-8 and 6-5 after taking the series opener 21-13 on Thursday night at Baylor Ballpark.

After a jam packed few weeks of baseball and finals for student-athletes, Baylor head coach Steve Rodriguez said he is extremely pleased with where the team is and how it is playing heading into the postseason.

“When you look at the past five weeks, these guys have endured being on the road and traveling, the emotional ups and downs that being a student athlete has, while going through finals,” Rodriguez said. “Being where we are after a 4.5-hour game yesterday and the two long games today, I am very proud of these guys in the way they fought up until the last pitch. I’m very happy with where we are going into postseason play.”

In Thursday’s series opener, the Bears overcame a 12-3 deficit in the third inning and stormed back to outlast Kansas State 21-13 in the longest nine-inning game in Baylor history at four hours and 16 minutes.

The previous longest game took place onApril 15, 2012 against Kansas State, where the game lasted four hours and twelve minutes.

The Bears seemed to be in good shape after two innings, following an RBI double by freshman catcher Shea Langeliers in the first and a two-run single by shortstop Tucker Cascadden.

However, the Wildcats’ offense exploded in the third inning, giving Baylor senior pitcher Nick Lewis an outing he wouldn’t soon forget. Kansas State sent 15 men to the plate with the first 11 reaching safely. The result was a short outing in Lewis’ final appearance at Baylor Ballpark. He lasted 2+ innings, allowing nine runs on 10 hits with no strikeouts.

The Bears slowly chipped away, adding four back in the third, one in the fourth and seven more to take the lead in fifth.

Sophomore outfielder Richard Cunningham started the rally with a home run to right. Freshman third baseman Davis Wendzel added a home run to left center in the fourth as well. Junior outfielder Kameron Esthay added an RBI single in the fourth to cut the lead to 12-8.

In the seven run seventh inning, senior first baseman Aaron Dodson started and stopped the scoring. Leading off the inning, he hit his 10th home run of the season and he concluded the scoring with an RBI single to right.

Dodson said it was important for the team to continue to chip away at the lead and that it couldn’t afford to come out flat following Kansas State’s 11 run third inning.

“That game would have been completely different if we would have put up a zero after they put up 11 on us,” Dodson said. “We just needed to get things moving. If we would have come out flat after they put up those numbers and put up a zero something, I don’t think we get the ball moving. But, we put four up there and Davis hit a two-run homer, and the rest is history.”

Although Dodson was the catalyst for the rally, it was Langeliers’ two-run double that put Baylor back out in front and this time for good.

Langeliers said that the team never stopped believing that the deficit was insurmountable but instead that a comeback was possible.

“That game was really crazy, it was a fun game to be a part of,” Langeliers said. “When we were losing 12-3, we came back into the dugout to go hit and the morale was still up. We just felt like we were going to get the job done.”

In Saturday’s 10-8 game one loss, Baylor battled back from an early 3-0 deficit to hold leads at 7-4 and 8-7 but the Wildcats got the last laugh, scoring two runs in the top of the ninth to get the win.

Senior relief pitcher Drew Robertson (2-1) took the loss, which was his first of the year. He allowed two runs on one hit with one walk and recorded just one out in the ninth after recording the final out in the eighth.

The winning hit for the Wildcats came of Serratore, who delivered a two-run single to right field.

Trailing 3-0, Baylor used a five run fourth inning to climb back in the game and take the lead.

Langeliers got the scoring started with a solo shot to left field. Following a walk and a double by Esthay and senior designated hitter Matt Menard, Dodson brought in a run on a sacrifice fly and Wenzel brought in another run on a single to center. Sophomore outfielder T.J. Raguse closed the inning with a two-run single to left center, giving Baylor a 5-3 lead.

Langeliers added his second home run of the game in the fifth while Raguse added another RBI single in the sixth to extend the lead to 7-4.

However, the Wildcats refused to go away, striking for three and tying the game at 7 in the seventh on two singles and a sacrifice fly off the Baylor bullpen. Sophomore second baseman Josh Bissonette put the Bears back up in the seventh with an RBI double, but the lead was short lived as the Wildcats responded with one run in the eighth and two in the ninth to claim the victory.

Baylor baseball (34-19) had its seven game winning streak come to an end on Friday as it dropped the final two games of its last conference series with Kansas State, 10-8 and 6-5.

In the second game of the doubleheader, Kansas State jumped out to a 6-2 lead after six. Baylor put together a three-run rally in the seventh inning but was unable to complete the comeback.

Wendzel put the Bears on the scoreboard in the second with a home run, cutting the Kansas State lead in half, 2-1. After the Wildcats added three more in the fifth, Baylor got another run back when Dodson was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

In the seventh, Baylor got a two-run home run by Esthay and an RBI single from Bissonette to cut the deficit to 6-5 but after Dodson doubled in the ninth, Kansas State struck out Menard to end the game.

Baylor will travel to Oklahoma City for the first round of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship. The Bears will play their first game on Wednesday with the time and opponent still to be determined.