Story by Ben Everett | Sports Editor, Video by Elisabeth Tharp | Broadcast Reporter
Baylor baseball picked up a series win over Houston Baptist in a Sunday rubber match after dropping the second game Saturday at Baylor Ballpark.
The Bears (2-1) fell to the Huskies (1-2) by a score of 5-2 on Saturday when a late rally fell short.
Sophomore first baseman Andy Thomas got the Bears off to a good start with a leadoff homer in the second inning to put Baylor up 1-0.
In the top of the fourth, Baylor junior starting pitcher Kyle Hill gave up a hit, walk and sacrifice bunt as the Huskies loaded the bases. The Huskies got on the board with a groundout RBI to tie the game at 1-1.
Freshman reliever Tyler Thomas came in for Hill in the sixth inning, and allowed no hits in two innings pitched to keep it at 1-1 heading into the eighth inning.
The following inning, the Huskies tacked on two more runs to make it 5-1 heading into the final frame.
In the bottom of the ninth, junior left fielder T.J. Raguse batted in a run on a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 5-2, but the Bears couldn’t muster any more offense.
Rodriguez said it was good to see some of the freshman get experience despite the loss.
“We really wanted to be able to get some young guys in there just to kind of play, so they understand and get that nervous energy out,” Rodriguez said. “So having some of those young guys, even Tyler Thomas coming out on the mound and just kind of breaking the ice for him to, that was really good to see.”
On Sunday, Baylor took the 6-3 win behind an offensive outburst in the bottom of the third.
Sophomore catcher Shea Langeliers launched a 2-run homer in the first inning to put the Bears on top 2-0.
Sophomore pitcher Hayden Kettler pitched two scoreless innings to start the game, but gave up two hits and two runs in the third inning as the Huskies took a 3-2 lead.
With runners on second and third, Raguse launched a 2-run singIe to give Baylor a 4-3 lead. Then, freshman left fielder Davion Downey picked up his first career RBI to extend Baylor’s lead to 5-3 heading into the fourth inning.
A solo homer by sophomore third baseman Davis Wendzel in the fourth gave the Bears a commanding 6-3 lead.
Kettler exited after five innings pitched, having given up three hits, three runs and striking out five.
Kettler said he had a bit of an up-and-down game in his first start of the season, but it was nice to get the win.
“I did some good things and I did some bad things,” Kettler said. “I think it was just good to come out and get a win in the first series of the year and we can build on that.”
The Bears take on Dallas Baptist at 4:35 p.m. Tuesday at Baylor Ballpark.