By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Writer
Baylor baseball earned its fifth win of the season with a 2-0 victory over UT Rio Grande Valley Wednesday afternoon. The Bears pitched their second shutout of the season, with both coming on mid-week games.
Freshman righty Will Rigney made his first appearance for Baylor as he earned the start and pitched three innings of shutout ball with two strikeouts, one walk and one hit batter. He was relieved by redshirt junior righty Jimmy Winston who pitched his first scoreless outing of the year. He made it through 2.1 innings with four strikeouts and five baserunners.
Winston pitched into some trouble in the sixth inning with bases loaded and only one out on the board. Senior lefty Ryan Lekich was called in to quiet the bases and immediately forced a double play to end the inning. Lekich finished off the seventh as well and was pulled in the eighth after giving up a walk to open the inning.
Redshirt junior righty Daniel Caruso pitched the rest of the eighth with no issues and one strikeout, and senior righty Luke Boyd finished off the ninth after giving up a hit by striking out the following three batters. Boyd earned his second save of the season with his scoreless ninth inning. After the game, head coach Steve Rodriguez said it was nice to have the pitching up a notch.
“They did exactly what we want them to do,” Rodriguez said. “That really kind of pumps me up a bit … Watchin them go out there and pitch the way they can and look the way they did with the success that they had kind of really got me excited to know what we’re going to have going in the future.”
After two scoreless innings to start, the Bears opened it up in the third. Freshman outfielder Jared McKenzie reached on an error by the Vaqueros, and freshman shortstop Tre Richardson sac-bunted McKenzie into scoring position. Senior catcher Andy Thomas singled into right field for his sixth RBI of the season. Thomas said postgame that the mid-week win is helps the team heading into the weekend.
“The bus ride’s different,” Thomas said. “The energy going into Houston is different. That could have easily been a 2-0 loss for us in so many different ways, but it’s so big that we got that win there and take that momentum down to Houston.”
Baylor’s offense continued to produce in the fourth as freshman infielder Kyle Nevin tripled with two outs down. Senior outfielder Hunter Seay singled through the right side to score Nevin before the end of the inning. Nevin said it was great to contribute whenever called upon.
“It feels good to be out here and play and get momentum for the team,” Nevin said. “I like to help out the team in any way I can.”
Baylor will head down to Minute Maid Park for the Shiner’s Hospitals for Children College Classic. The Bears will play Missouri first at 11 a.m. Friday in Houston before facing LSU on Saturday and Arkansas on Sunday.