ICYMI: Griner returns to Waco, baseball opens 2024 season

Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Andrew Petrowski (18, right) celebrates with junior catcher Cortlan Castle (19, left) during Baylor baseball's nonconference game against Oregon on Saturday at Globe Life Field in Arlington. Kassidy Tsikitas | Photo Editor

By Michael Haag | Sports Editor

It’s that time of the year when Baylor Athletics is so stretched out that it feels impossible to keep up with it all. There were 14 events over the weekend, so here’s a brief rundown on anything you may have missed:

Baylor equestrian falls to UC Davis 10-9

A day after dropping a road contest to Fresno State, Baylor equestrian came up short, as the Bears fell to UC Davis 10-9 on Saturday at the UC Davis Equestrian Center in Davis, Calif.

Baylor (2-9) moved to 2-1 against UC Davis all-time, and the Bears have now lost three-straight meets since upsetting then-No. 5 Georgia on Jan. 27 in Waco.

Baylor has some time off before it hosts No. 1 TCU for the final meet of the regular season on March 1 at the Willis Family Equestrian Center.

No. 11 Baylor men’s basketball stays hot, tops West Virginia 94-81

Six players scored in double figures as No. 11 Baylor men’s basketball cruised past West Virginia 94-81 Saturday evening in the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, W.Va.

“It takes a team to win,” head coach Scott Drew said. “If you’re going into a game and relying on one person, if they have an off night, you’re done. If the defense takes them away, you’re done. So it’s great when you have balance, so when it’s not your night, you have people to pick you up.”

The Bears (19-6, 8-4 Big 12) flew straight from Morgantown to Provo, Utah, which is where they’ll face No. 19 BYU at 8 p.m. CT on Tuesday in the Marriott Center.

Baylor women’s tennis takes down Mississippi State 4-1

Baylor women’s tennis responded to a loss on Friday by defeating Mississippi State 4-1 on Sunday in Starkville, Miss.

The Bears (3-4) handed the Bulldogs their second loss of the year and first at home.

Baylor will have its spring home opener against Denver at noon on Friday at the Hurd Tennis Center. The Bears are taking part in a doubleheader, as they’ll face Incarnate Word at approximately 4 p.m.

No. 22 Baylor softball wins two versus No. 23 Louisiana for series win

No. 22 Baylor softball handled No. 23 Louisiana twice on Sunday in Lafayette, La. The Bears won the first game 6-0 and held on for a 3-2 win in game two. The Ragin’ Cajuns won the series opener on Friday, and they played a doubleheader on Sunday because of weather on Saturday.

“We are getting better,” head coach Glenn Moore said. “I think our defensive play this weekend was suffocating to a great offense. Offensively, we were much better. It’s difficult to stay confident even when you are having good appearances if you’re not producing runs, so I was glad to see the ball bounce our way. Good road wins today.”

The Bears (3-3) will stay on the road for a tournament, as they’ll square off with five opponents in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. The event will start on Thursday and run through Saturday in Palm Springs, Calif.

No. 21 Baylor women’s basketball stomps Texas Tech 61-32 in Brittney Griner’s return

The Bears recorded 13 steals, six blocks and forced 29 turnovers en route to a 61-32 beatdown of Texas Tech on Sunday evening in the Foster Pavilion. The Lady Raiders’ 32 points equaled their lowest-scoring output in program history.

“Our key to the game was energy [and] effort,” Baylor head coach Nicki Collen said. “I started the group of players that analytically has been our best defensive lineup all season long. … I told them that there’s a reason BG was National Defensive Player of the Year — among many awards, I know — but the best way to honor her was to compete at the defensive end with a high level of energy.”

Baylor (19-6, 8-6 Big 12) will aim to build on this win when it hosts Kansas at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in the Foster Pavilion. The Jayhawks (15-10, 8-6 Big 12) handed the Bears their first loss of the season — an 87-66 beatdown — on Jan. 10 in Lawrence, Kan., and they’re currently on a five-game winning streak.

Baylor men’s tennis picks up pair of wins in doubleheader with McMurry, ACU

Baylor men’s tennis secured two wins on Sunday, the first coming against McMurry and the second against ACU in the Teague Special Events Center and Eager Tennis Pavilion in Abilene.

The Bears moved to 10-1 on the year — the second-best start of the last 10 seasons.

“The goal for today was to get a lot of competition in,” head coach Michael Woodson said. “We have 12 guys itching and ready to compete, and that’s why we came out here to Abilene. We really got exactly what we were looking for. Our guys focused really well on the first match, and McMurry fought and played hard throughout. We did a really good job of playing our game all the way through from start to finish.

“Moving to the afternoon, I was really impressed with how he came out in doubles with great energy, physicality and aggression to kind of run away with it. It was impressive, given a good crowd that was loud. It was just a great college tennis environment, which was a lot of fun.”

Baylor returns home to host a doubleheader against SMU (1 p.m.) and UTRGV (6 p.m.) on Sunday at the Hurd Tennis Center.

Baylor baseball drops third contest, falls to Tennessee 11-5

After losing contests on Friday and Saturday, Baylor baseball dropped its final contest to Tennessee 11-5 on Sunday in the last game of the 2024 Shriners Children’s College Showdown at Globe Life Field in Arlington.

“We did compete, there’s no question, but we do have room to improve,” head coach Mitch Thompson said. “The disappointing thing about tonight is we were playing such a good opponent with such great physical skills and talent. Their athletes are big-time dudes, and you can’t help them.

“You can’t make silly mistakes defensively, and we gave them too many opportunities that ended up costing us. We did compete, and that’s to be expected. We just have to get over the hump. We’re playing good teams, and we’re learning a lot about where we have to go and how much better we have to get. Work is ahead of us, and we have to try to get better every day.”

The Bears (0-3) are back in Waco for their home opener, which is set against Lamar at 4 p.m. on Tuesday at Baylor Ballpark. It’ll be the first of a nine-game homestand for Baylor.

Michael Haag is a third year Journalism student from Floresville, a small town about 30 miles south of San Antonio. Haag is entering his third year at the Lariat and is hoping to continue developing his sports reporting skill set. After graduation, he plans to work on a Master’s degree in Journalism in order to one day teach at the college level. He does, however, plan on becoming a sports reporter for a publication after grad school.