Baylor baseball’s late run falls short, ACU snags midweek duel 6-4

Despite Wednesday's loss, Baylor baseball still leads the all-time series over Abilene Christian 14-5. Camie Jobe | Photographer

By Foster Nicholas | Sports Writer

After clawing its way back into the game with four late runs, Baylor baseball gave up a two spot in the top of the ninth and fell to Abilene Christian 6-4 on Wednesday night at Baylor Ballpark.

Head coach Mitch Thompson saw his Bears (1-7) forfeit a pair of errors in the field and commit three wild pitches to advance runners, which resulted in a pair of unearned runs that went on to be the difference in the tight ballgame. In addition, Baylor walked eight batters and stranded 11 runners on the basepaths.

“There’s disappointing ways that end up coming back to beat you in a tight ballgame, and we had multiple opportunities in different ways,” Thompson said. “Defensively, we weren’t real sharp in certain places, offensively weren’t sharp in certain places and on the mound. We’re trying to overcome some stuff, and it’s disappointing we can’t get a win right now. We couldn’t get this win today.”

The Wildcats (7-3) roughed up the Bears early with a 4-0 lead after three innings of play. However, after allowing a couple of runs to open the third inning, four Baylor pitchers combined for six scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and four walks while striking out seven.

“It’s encouraging that we have many pieces to work with in the bullpen, … and we can stay in the game, so those are good things,” Thompson said.

Baylor’s bats struggled at the plate through five innings, notching just two hits. The Bears’ fate turned in the bottom of the sixth when senior first baseman Mason Greer slugged the first extra-base hit of the game with a double to the right-field wall, and he advanced to third on a fielding error. A couple of pitches later, Greer scored on a wild pitch for the Bears’ first run.

The inning stayed alive when freshman designated hitter Brayden Buchanan walked and later scored after junior catcher Cortlan Castle, who was the only Bear with multiple hits (3-for-4) on the night, ripped a two-out RBI single on the first pitch through the left side of the infield, cutting the deficit in half at 4-2.

The Bears mustered another threat in the seventh inning with runners on second and third with no outs. Junior third baseman Hunter Teplanszky struck out for the fourth time as the first out of the inning. Junior right fielder Enzo Apodaca followed up the golden sombrero with an RBI sacrifice fly to trim the ACU lead to 4-3 before the inning was quickly retired.

Baylor loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth inning after a pair of singles and a walk. With two outs, senior infielder Daniel Altman plated the tying run with a pinch-hit infield single. However, the Bears weren’t able to capitalize any further after Teplanszky saw the Olympic Rings, as he was shut down on strikes for the fifth time in as many at-bats.

ACU found its second breath in the top of the ninth inning as it swatted two hits and scored a pair of runs — one of which was unearned due to a passed ball — putting senior left-handed pitcher Kobe Andrade (0-2) in line for the loss. The Bears were in position to score for the fourth-straight inning with a run after Apodaca led off the frame with a single, but ACU quickly shut down the rest of the inning to cap off its 6-4 victory.

“The wild pitch passed ball ends up being a big deal,” Thompson said. “You look back to the ballgame like this, and the first inning counts just as much as the night that he counts. It’s disappointing to give up some errors and not make some plays, and it costs us runs as well.”

Baylor’s nine-game homestand continues this weekend with a three-game series against Oral Roberts (4-4). First pitch for game one is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Friday at Baylor Ballpark.

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.