By Nathan Keil | Sports Editor
Baylor baseball completed a three-game series sweep over TCU by taking Saturday’s contest 6-2 and rallying for a 4-3 win on Sunday.
Baylor has now won six straight and eight of its last nine games as the Bears look to make late season run toward a postseason birth.
In Saturday’s 6-2 win, Baylor got a solid start from sophomore Hayden Kettler on the mound to follow up sophomore Cody Bradford’s masterpiece Friday night.
Kettler went the first six innings, keeping the Horned Frogs off the scoreboard, while allowing five hits, a pair of walks and two strikeouts.
Baylor head coach Steve Rodriguez said he was pleased with the defense and with Kettler for trusting in his offense.
“I thought we played really good defense,” Rodriguez said. “Hayden Kettler, with a phenomenal start for us, going six innings, giving up no runs. Really happy for him to continue to do that for our pitching staff, and he has just done a phenomenal job of allowing the offense to come through and get some runs for him.”
Unlike Friday, TCU had its opportunities against Kettler, getting men on base during every inning but the ninth. The Horned Frogs got a double from junior outfielder Johnny Rizer in the second and a double from junior outfielder Josh Watson, who finished with four hits, in the third, but were unable to bring them home.
TCU finally broke through in the seventh off junior reliever Kyle Hill. Sophomore third baseman Conner Shepherd and freshman second baseman Coby Boulware hit back-to-back doubles. Watson then singled to right, scoring Boulware, cutting the deficit to 6-2.
Baylor got a repeat performance from its offense Saturday afternoon. The Bears broke through in the third inning on a single by sophomore third baseman Davis Wendzel and a throwing error by the Horned Frogs.
The Bears then tacked on three more in the fourth, triggered by sophomore catcher Shea Langeliers’ ninth home run of the season, a solo shot to left field. Junior second baseman Josh Bissonette doubled down the left field line to score another and freshman outfielder Nik Loftin brought Bissonette in on a sacrifice fly for a 4-0 lead.
After TCU walked the bases loaded, the Bears scored another run on a wild pitch. Then in the sixth, Wendzel added a sacrifice fly to center field to cap off the scoring.
On Sunday, Baylor trailed 1-0 and 3-2 before getting a pair of runs in the sixth to take a 4-3 lead. The combination of Heineman, Robertson and senior Troy Montemayor closed the door on TCU, each tossing one scoreless inning with Montemayor collecting his ninth save of the season.
Freshman lefty Tyler Thomas got the start, going 3 1/3, allowing all three TCU runs on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts. Senior Alex Phillips came in to throw 2 2/3 innings to get the win before turning it over to Heineman in the seventh.
TCU, who was 15-2 this season when scoring first, went ahead 1-0 early on a single from senior designated hitter Michael Landestoy.
After Wendzel’s RBI single in the third tied the game at one, the Horned Frogs got two more off of Tyler for a 3-1 lead.
Shepherd high a sacrifice fly to right field and Rizer came around to score on a wild pitch.
But Baylor kept its cool, getting one in the fourth and two in the sixth to get the win.
Langeliers tripled to open the fourth inning and scored on freshman Davion Downey’s groundout. The Bears then tied in on a fielder’s choice from Bissonette and took the lead on a throwing error by Boulware on the same play.
Langeliers, after hitting home runs in each of the first two games of the series, went three for four at the plate, colleting a single, double and a triple.
Baylor (22-17, 6-9) will hit the road for its next four games beginning with a 6 p.m. Tuesday matchup at Texas State. The Bears will then venture to Manhattan, Kan. for a three-game series with the Wildcats (17-23, 3-12) beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friday.