Baylor baseball loses emerging outfielder Hunter Simmons to season-ending injury

Senior outfielder Hunter Simmons (9) suffered an ankle fracture in Baylor baseball's 8-4 loss to No. 22 Indiana on Friday at Baylor Ballpark. Kassidy Tsikitas | Photo Editor

By Foster Nicholas | Sports Writer

Baylor baseball senior outfielder Hunter Simmons suffered a season-ending right leg injury in Friday night’s series opener against No. 22 Indiana, head coach Mitch Thompson announced on Monday.

Simmons is the latest of four batters who will be sidelined for the entire 2024 season, as he had successful surgery on Saturday to repair an ankle fracture that he suffered after crashing into the left-field wall trying to chase down a deep fly ball. Redshirt sophomore outfielder Gavin Brzozowski, sophomore infielder Jack Little and freshman outfielder John Youens are the others who will miss the full season.

“Our team has been hit pretty hard by the injury bug here early in the season,” Thompson said in a press release. “While we were already dealing with the losses of Gavin Brzozowski, Jack Little and John Youens, we were very disappointed to lose Hunter Simmons for the season as well. Hunter is a beloved member of this team.

“His leadership, presence and experience will be missed in the middle of our lineup. While we understand that injuries are a part of the game, they are never something we want to see, especially when they are as major as what happened to Hunter on Friday night.”

Simmons was coming off a breakout 2023 season and was off to the races, hitting .353 across four games with six hits, including two doubles, a triple, a home run and six runs batted in. The senior played three games as the team’s designated hitter before getting his second start as the left fielder on Friday night.

“I am thankful for the great care that Gavin, Jack, John and Hunter have received from our athletic training staff and doctors, and want to give a special thanks to our athletic trainer Josh Barnhill, the game day personnel and the emergency medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Hospital who all helped Hunter this weekend,” Thompson said. “We have already started the process of rehabbing these injuries and getting all four of these guys back to full health. I know the Baylor and Waco community will show up big time in helping all of them get back to being fully healthy and on the field.”

With all the injuries for the Bears piling up on the diamond, Baylor is without three outfield pieces and has seen its highly anticipated preseason depth quickly deplete.

“Well, we’re going to have to figure it out,” Thompson said when asked about who will fill in from here on out after Baylor’s 8-4 loss on Friday. “There’s going to be several different options. We have several different guys that we can go with, and we’ll see. But yeah, we’re going to have to come up with an answer, and there’s opportunity for other guys to step up and get after it.”

It’s unknown whether Simmons will take a medical redshirt to maintain eligibility.

“All of our prayers to their left fielder, the Simmons kid,” Indiana head coach Jeff Mercer told The Lariat on Friday. “He’s a great player. His numbers were terrific. And I always say a prayer before every game that everybody on both teams comes out healthy, and it just stinks. That’s really sad and terrible. I wish the best for him.”

The Bears (1-6) will continue their seasonlong nine-game homestand against Abilene Christian on Wednesday, with first pitch scheduled for 4 p.m. They were swept by the Hoosiers over the weekend.

Foster Nicholas is a junior from Parker, Colorado, majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in film and digital media. In his fourth semester with the Lariat, he is excited to level up Baylor Lariat radio, do play-by-play for thrilling home games, and continue to feature some great Baylor athletes in print.