By Harper Mayfield | Sports Writer
Baylor baseball’s winning streak now stands at six after a 7-6 come-from-behind win Tuesday over UT Arlington.
The Bears were strong at the plate throughout the game, especially the top of the lineup, with freshmen Tre Richardson, Jared McKenzie, senior catcher Andy Thomas and redshirt sophomore Chase Wehsener each getting a pair of hits.
“Any time you’re hitting in the top of the order, your main guys are always going to play a role in what you’re doing,” head coach Steve Rodriguez said. “That’s why they’re out there, because you want them to get the most at-bats. Having them up there, and them being able to come up, especially Tre with the eighth inning hit… Those are the big things, when your main guys play like main guys.”
On the mound, freshman pitcher Zach Childers saw the most work of any of Baylor’s arms, pitching two innings with just one hit, a strikeout and no earned runs. Getting the start for Baylor was Luke Thompson, while senior lefty Ryan Leckich led the team in strikeouts in the set-up role. Senior closer Luke Boyd tallied his fifth save of the year, closing out the ninth for the Bears. The Baylor bullpen has a lot of experience under their collective belts, and Rodriguez knows how valuable it can be down the stretch.
“Being able to have your bullpen with a majority of older guys coming in, you know they’re not going to be rattled by anything, they’re not going to get shaken up by anybody,” Rodriguez said. “Watching them come in and do what they do really gives us a huge bonus.”
The scoring started early, with UTA getting on the board first. With the bases loaded, Dylan Paul secured the RBI to put the Mustangs up 1-0. Baylor would respond quickly with a home run from junior shortstop Jack Pineda to even the score. Pineda came into the game second on the team in homers and tied himself for the lead with McKenzie.
UTA got hot in a hurry, putting together a five spot to blow the game wide open and out the Mavericks up 6-1. No matter the deficit, the Bears never let the game get away from them.
“I was really happy with our offense,” Rodriguez said. “Obviously, Pineda comes out, gets a leadoff home run for us, which is always good. They put up six, which is kind of frustrating, but we were able to continue to build. We hit a couple more home runs and watching our guys continue to fight the way they did throughout that game, it was pretty impressive.”
Later in the game, Baylor began to get hot. McKenzie connected on his seventh moonshot of the season, putting himself back in the lead over Pineda.
After three scores in a strong fifth inning, Baylor followed up with two more scores in the sixth. Outfielders junior Davion Downey and freshman Kyle Nevin each brought in runs to knot the game at six. The teams battled until late in the eighth, until Richardson slashed a double, allowing Wehsener to give Baylor the lead for good.
The Bears will be on the field again on Friday, as they kick off a three game series with in-conference opponent West Virginia. Baylor has struggled in conference play to this point, going just 1-5, but their home stint against the Mountaineers will offer a chance to turn things around. Friday’s game is set for 7:30 p.m. at Baylor Ballpark.