Story by DJ Ramirez | Sports Writer, Video by McKenzie Oviatt | Broadcast Reporter
Baylor baseball once again came back with some walk-off magic, defeating Texas Southern 3-2 in eleven innings on Wednesday night at Baylor Ballpark. The Bears are now 18-6 and have won five straight games after sweeping West Virginia this past weekend.
Head coach Steve Rodriguez said that TSU’s “unorthodox pitching” threw the Baylor lin up off a little bit but that he thought the team still managed to hit well.
“We had a bunch of hits. I thought our guys swung the bat well for the most part. We had a ton of guys on base in a lot of different situations. We just couldn’t get the execution done when we needed to, but we were able to do it in that last inning,” Rodriguez said.
Redshirt sophomore Ryan Bertelsman contributed his second extra-inning walk-off after starting off the season with a three-run bomb in the tenth inning to end game two against Holy Cross.
Sophomore lefty Tyler Thomas started for Baylor allowing only one hit but walking four. He loaded the bases in the second after which freshman righty Blake Helton took over to get the Bears out of the jam. Helton threw four scoreless and struck out three but after allowing two hits to start off the sixth, was relieved by redshirt sophomore Jacob Ashkinos who struck out four.
After three and a half scoreless innings junior backstop Shea Langeliers put the Bears on the board on an RBI single off the bat of senior left fielder Cole Haring. The catcher had singled on one out and proceeded to steal second during sophomore right fielder Davion Downey’s at bat.
TSU got things rolling in the sixth with two runs. Back to back singles placed shortstop Nic Garza and center fielder Ryan Diaz on base and a pop up by first baseman Christian Sanchez advanced Garza to third. Designated hitter Keanu Van Kuren grounded out to sophomore shortstop Nick Loftin, but a fielding error allowed him to reach and score Garza. A sacrifice bunt by left fielder Tyson Thompson brought in Diaz to take the lead.
Baylor threatened with back to back singles by junior third baseman Davis Wendzel and junior designated hitter Andy Thomas in the bottom of the inning, but a ground out and a double play ended the sixth.
Ashkinos delivered three straight strikeouts to shut down the Tigers in the top of the seventh and the Bears once again had a chance to tie.
Haring reached first on a throwing error to lead off the bottom of the seventh and then advanced to second on a bunted single by senior second baseman Josh Bissonette. Loftin drove one up the middle of the field to score Haring and tie the game.
Junior reliever Luke Boyd came out of the bullpen for Ashkinos in the eighth and put up another goose egg for the Bears. Wendzel led off with a single but was put out on a fielder’s choice bunt by Thomas. A pop up by Langeliers and a strike out by junior pinch hitter Mack Mueller ended the inning.
Senior closer Kyle Hill came into the game to finish the job for the Bears on the mound.
Van Kuren was walked to begin the ninth inning but was caught stealing second on a throw by Langeliers to Loftin. A strike out and a line out brought Baylor back to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, but they were unable to capitalize on a throwing error by the shortstop and walk.
It was time for free baseball on the banks of the Brazos.
The Bears found themselves in a bases loaded situation in the bottom of the tenth, the score still tied at two, but a pop up to the right fielder took the game to the eleventh.
Hill did a quick job to put the Tigers’ offense ways and bring Baylor back up to the plate. Loftin got on bases with a one-out single and advanced to second on a foul out to by Cunningham. TSU intentionally walked Wendzel to bring up Bertelsman who was pinch hitting for Thomas in the DH spot. The redshirt sophomore lined a single into right field, driving in Loftin from second to end the night.
The Bears will now hit the road for their first conference road trip to Kansas.
“We did a great job against West Virginia, we come back, and we take two in the middle of the week,” Rodriguez. “You know we utilized every pitcher we had, just about. So going into this weekend I think our guys are pretty excited and we’re getting to go on the road which is a good thing, and hopefully we get some good weather.”
First pitch against the Jayhawks is on Friday at 6 p.m. The Saturday match will begin at 2 p.m. and the series finale is Sunday at 1 p.m.