By DJ Ramirez | Sports Writer
Baylor baseball faced the Texas Longhorns in their third week of conference play, splitting the series to come out with 6-2 record in the Big 12.
The Bears took the opener in dramatic walk-off fashion 6-5 for the fourth time this year. The win marked their 14th come from behind victory. Texas took game two 8-6 with a comeback win as well.
The excitement started right away when Texas center fielder Duke Ellis doubled down the left field in the top of the first but then got caught in a run down between second and third when freshman outfielder Eric Kennedy hit into a double play and was also tagged out in a run down when he overran the bag. Junior outfielder Austin Todd struck out to bring Baylor to the plate.
Bears sophomore shortstop Nick Loftin grounded out to begin the home half of the inning, but senior center fielder Richard Cunningham walked and then advanced to second when junior third baseman Davis Wendzel was hit by a pitch. Wendzel was put out on a fielder’s choice hit by junior designated hitter Andy Thomas, leaving runners on the corners, but junior catcher Shea Langeliers struck out to end the first.
The Longhorns came in swinging with a four run second inning. With redshirt senior Tate Shaw on first base after a two out single, Longhorns’ shortstop Masen Hibbeler bashed a homer right down the left line just inside the foul pole. A single by freshman second baseman Lance Ford and two defensive errors by the Bears added another run for Texas. Texas backstop Michael McCann scored run number four on a double by Kennedy. Ellis, who had walked, was once again caught in a rundown between third and home for the last out, but the Longhorns had done their damage.
Baylor retaliated in the bottom of the third, tying the game at four. Loftin and freshman first baseman Chase Wehsener hit back to back singles to lead off and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Cunningham. Wendzel drove in Wehsener to put the Bears on the board. Langeliers walked to load the bases and sophomore right fielder Davion Downey’s12th hit by pitch scored Loftin to cut Texas’ lead in half. Senior left fielder Cole Haring worked his magic with a two-RBI single up the middle to score Wendzel and Langeliers and tie the game.
Back-to-back singles by Thomas, Langeliers and Downey gave Baylor a one run lead in the bottom of the fifth while the pitching staff kept the Longhorns scoreless for four innings.
Ellis led off the seventh with another double, advanced to third on a sac bunt by Kennedy and scored on a fielder’s choice, tying the game. Junior third baseman Ryan Reynolds grounded into a double play.
Unable to cash in any runs in the following two innings, the Bears found themselves in the bottom of the ninth with the opportunity to walk it off once again. The Longhorns implemented a five-man infield defense and shifted to the right side with lefty Cunningham leading off the inning. The Austin native bunted one down the left field line, which had been left defenseless by the shift. Wendzel and Thomas walked bringing Langeliers to the plate, but the backstop popped up to right field. Downey then came up, and in Baylor baseball fashion, singled to right field bringing in Cunningham for the winning run.
Texas came back to split the series, taking game two on a stormy Saturday afternoon.
The Bears, fueled by their walk-off the night before, struck first with three runs in the bottom of the first inning.
Junior lefty Paul Dickens kept Texas off the board for the first five frames while Baylor added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth on back-to-back doubles by Wendzel and Thomas.
The Longhorns were set on a comeback though, finally putting some runs up in the sixth starting with a two-run homer by Todd. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases and then a two-RBI single by Ford put Texas within one of the Bears.
Texas took the lead with three more runs in in the seventh and added one more in the ninth to ice their win. The Bears attempted to rally, scoring one in the ninth, but couldn’t do much more.
The rain didn’t let up on Sunday when the two teams went in for a rubber match and had to be canceled.
Baylor will face UT Arlington on Tuesday night before returning to Baylor Ballpark for a conference matchup against the Oklahoma Sooners this weekend.