Baseball falls to Kansas in home series

Freshman infielder Nick Loftin is congratulated after hitting a home run in the first inning of Baylor's 8-5 loss to Kansas on Sunday. Jessica Hubble | Multimedia Editor

By Ben Everett | Sports Writer

After falling in the series opener on Friday, Baylor baseball went 1-1 against Kansas on Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday, the Bears (12-9, 3-3) picked up a convincing 17-6 win to tie the series at 1-1.

In the bottom of the second, senior centerfielder Levi Gilcrease roped an RBI triple and senior shortstop Tucker Cascadden scored Gilcrease on a double to give Baylor a 2-0 lead.

In the bottom of the third inning, sophomore third baseman Davis Wendzel and sophomore first baseman Andy Thomas each recorded RBIs to to bring Baylor’s lead to 4-0.

The runs kept on coming for the Bears with sophomore catcher Shea Langeliers blasting a three-run homer to make it 7-0 in the bottom of the fourth.

After two walks and a single, junior designated hitter Richard Cunningham launched a grand slam to right-center to give Baylor an 11-0 lead in the fifth inning.

Sophomore starting pitcher Hayden Kettler allowed four hits and three runs in the top of the sixth inning before he was replaced by senior receiver Joe Heineman, who gave up one more run as the Jayhawks cut the lead to 11-4.

The Bears tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the sixth and Kansas hit a homer in the eighth to make it 14-5.

In the bottom of the eighth, Cascadden notched a two-run triple to seal the win.

Baylor head coach Steve Rodriguez said the offense was clicking on Saturday.

“Offensively, it was really fun to have guys out there maximizing what their pitching staff was giving us,” Rodriguez said. “They did a good job of looking for certain pitches, and I was really proud of what they did.”

On Sunday, the Bears dropped an 8-5 decision.

Kansas got off to a hot start, scoring two runs in the first inning to take a 2-0 lead.

Baylor responded with a leadoff homer by freshman left fielder Nick Loftin to cut the lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the first.

Freshman starting pitcher Tyler Thomas continued to struggle in the top of the second, giving up two hits and two runs as the Jayhawks extended their lead to 4-1.

Sophomore reliever Jacob Ashkinos pitched two scoreless innings before giving up a two-run homer in the fifth as the Bears fell behind 6-1.

The Bears scored on a wild pitch in the fifth inning to cut the lead to 6-2, but two more runs for Kansas in the eighth made it 8-2.

In the bottom of the ninth, Baylor rallied for three runs, but came up three runs short.

Rodriguez said he is proud of his team for not giving up late in the game, despite a large deficit.

“One of the things I’m really happy about,” Rodriguez said. “Regardless of what happened throughout the whole game, our guys came out against one of the best closers in the conference and started putting some damage on him. You could look over at their dugout and see they were beginning to panic.”

Baylor looks to bounce back as they face Prairie View A&M at 6:35 p.m. Monday at Baylor Ballpark.