Baseball run-rules Arkansas Pine-Bluff

Sophomore catcher Kyle Harper rounds third base to come in for a run during Baylor's 10-0 run-rule shutout of Arkansas Pine Bluff Tuesday night at Baylor Ballpark. Harper also hit his first home run of the season in the first inning. DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor

By Braden Simmons | Reporter

Baylor Baseball defeated Arkansas Pine Bluff 10-0 Tuesday at Baylor Ballpark. The Bears improve to a 3-1 record early in the season.

The Bears got on the board early and often in the first inning. After a walk, error and a hit by pitch loaded the bases, senior outfielder Hunter Seay hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score the first run. Sophomore second baseman Ricky Martinez then singled in the Bears’ second run. The Bears weren’t done scoring in the inning as junior third baseman Esteban Cardoza-Oquendo rocketed a two-run double.

Head coach Steve Rodriguez said the discipline of Baylor’s hitters helped contribute to the early run production.

“I think the biggest thing was being able to swing at good pitches,” Rodriguez said. “When you have pitchers that don’t have great command it makes it difficult to have quality at-bats. I thought our guys did a great job of taking walks when we needed them or the hit-by-pitches, but when they got a good pitch to hit, they put a really nice swing on the ball.”

Freshmen first baseman Kyle Nevin recorded his first collegiate hit driving in the fifth run of the first inning, which was followed by a 372 foot two-run home run by sophomore Kyle Harper, putting an exclamation point on the seven-run first inning.

Nevin said to get his first collegiate feels good and gives him confidence going forward.

“It feels good to help the team in any way I can,” Nevin said. “That’s the main goal every game. This game helps us get ready for the weekend and is a big boost.”

Freshmen pitcher Hambleton Oliver started his first collegiate game and made his second appearance of the season. Oliver pitched two scoreless innings recording three strikeouts and only allowed a single hit.

Rodriguez said the depth of his team early in the season is enormous

“I tell the players all the time as soon as they step on the field their year is irrelevant,” Rodriguez said. “The fact our freshmen are coming out and doing a great job is awesome and regardless of class, I just want them to go out and play good baseball.”

In the second inning, Martinez doubled in two runs to extend the Bears lead to 9-0. Then freshmen center fielder Jared Mackenzie singled in Harper to give the bears a double-digit lead in the third inning.

The Bears’ pitching was strong all game with multiple pitchers getting action against the Lions. Junior lefty Tyler Thomas entered the game for Oliver in the third and delivered two scoreless innings with five strikeouts and only allowed one hit. Senior righty Logan Freeman followed the next two innings and gave up no runs with a pair of strikeouts.

Baylor ended the night with two freshmen earning multiple-hit games. Mackenzie went 2-for-3 at the plate and Nevin hit 3-for-4 with an RBI each.

Nevin said this game was a good game for the Bears so they can focus on their play and recreate it for the upcoming series this weekend.

“Any win is always good, but this was a big boost for this weekend,” Nevin said.

Baylor closed the game in the game with a 1-2-3 seventh inning from junior transfer Jonathan Pierce in his first appearance of the season. Pierce struck out the side to end the night in run-rule fashion.

Baylor stays at home this weekend with a three-game series against Oral Roberts at Baylor Ballpark. The first pitch for Friday’s game will be at 6:30 p.m. Oral Roberts is 2-2 in early play this season.