Bears fall to Jayhawks in series opener

Freshman infielder Nick Loftin is congratulated at home plate after hitting a grand slam. However, the Bears fell to the Jayhawks 6-5 in the series opener. Josh Aguirre | Multimedia Journalist

By Ben Everett | Sports Writer

Baylor baseball dropped the series opener against Kansas 6-5 Friday night at Baylor Ballpark.

The Bears (11-8, 2-2) countered the Jayhawks’ (14-8, 1-3) offensive outburst early, but could not muster up offense the rest of the way.

The Jayhawks attacked sophomore starting pitcher Cody Bradford early, scoring four runs on five hits in the top of the first to take a 4-0 lead.

In the bottom of the first, freshman left fielder Nick Loftin notched his first career home run with a grand slam to tie the game at 4-4.

Bradford retired three batters in order in the second inning, but gave up a run on two singles and a fielder’s choice in the top of the third inning as Kansas took a 5-4 lead.

The Jayhawks extended their lead with a home run in the top of the fourth inning to make it a 6-4 game.

Freshman right fielder Davion Downey cut into the lead with an RBI groundout in the bottom of the fourth that scored Loftin and made it a 6-5 game.

Junior pitcher Kyle Hill came up clutch in the top of the seventh, leaving two on base after relieving Bradford.

Despite two straight scoreless innings for Hill, the Baylor offense only managed one hit as they trailed Kansas 6-5 heading into the ninth inning.

Hill retired the Jayhawks in order in the top of the ninth, but the Bears offense remained cold with the game on the line, losing 6-5.

Baylor head coach Steve Rodriguez said he was proud of his team for battling back after being down early.

“It was really nice to see our offense come out,” Rodriguez said. “You know, we gave up four and you’re just like, ‘Oh man,’ because we know the wind is blowing out about 30 miles per hour, and you just don’t know what you’re going to get. Then all of a sudden we come back and score four and it’s a new ball game. Very proud of how our guys responded in the first inning.”

The Bears look to even the series as they face the Jayhawks at 2:05 p.m. Saturday at Baylor Ballpark.