Ninth inning comeback proves too late as Bears fall to Texas A&M

Sophomore Cody Bradford winds up and fires a pitch against Houston Baptist. Bradford allowed just one hit in eight innings. Jessica Hubble | Multimedia Editor

By Max Calderone | Sports Writer

Baylor (3-5) was unable to cash in on countless opportunities Saturday night in a 5-4 defeat to No. 9 Texas A&M (10-1) in Frisco.

The Bears stranded a total of 17 runners on base and left the bases loaded three separate times.

Baylor head coach Steve Rodriguez said he felt like his team had the Aggies on their heels throughout the entire ballgame.

“I’m very proud of how our guys competed throughout,” Rodriguez said. “A&M’s a good team and they got the win. They were able to get two-out hits when they needed it and that’s kind of the story of the whole thing.”

Sophomore right-handed pitcher Hayden Kettler (1-2) turned in a good start for the Bears, going 6 1/3 innings, scattering seven hits and allowing five runs, only four of which were earned.

Rodriguez praised Kettler for his effort in the ballgame, especially going up against a tough offense in Texas A&M.

“He did a phenomenal job for us,” Rodriguez said. “I thought he did a great job holding [Texas A&M] down as long as he did. If I’m going to that kind of start from him throughout the year, I’m going to be pretty happy.”

Aggies junior catcher Cole Bedford got the scoring going in the bottom of the third with a solo home run to left field. Kettler settled back in to retire the side and pick up one of his five strikeouts on the night.

Baylor answered in the top of the fifth inning when junior outfielder Cole Haring came around to score on a Davis Wendzel RBI double. After back-to-back walks to sophomore Andy Thomas and freshman Nick Loftin, junior second baseman Josh Bissonette struck out swinging to leave the bases juiced.

The Aggies responded with two runs in their half of the fifth as junior utility man Allonte Wingate drove home sophomore utility man Hunter Coleman on a fly ball that dropped right in front of Bears’ freshman outfielder Davion Downey. Later in the inning, Texas A&M freshman infielder Will Frizzell scored on a passed ball that put his team up 3-1.

Kettler struck out the side in the sixth and Baylor got one back in the top of the seventh when Bissonette grounded into a double play that allowed Wendzel to score.

Kettler made one of his few mistakes to start the bottom of the seventh when Frizzell got ahold of a hanging breaking ball and drove it over the wall to put the Aggies ahead 4-2.

Texas A&M tacked on one more in the inning thanks to an RBI single by junior infielder Michael Helman and took a 5-2 lead into the ninth.

After a lead-off single by Loftin, Bissonette put a charge into one and brought Baylor back within one run on his first home run of the 2018 season.

But the rally proved to come too late, as the Bears stranded runners on first and second to end the ballgame when sophomore catcher Shea Langeliers grounded out to second base.

Baylor will square off against Louisiana Tech (7-4) tomorrow at 3 p.m. in the final game of the 2018 Frisco College Classic.