Harrison Caley’s career night fuels Baylor baseball’s 17-4 beatdown of SFA

Senior catcher Harrison Caley (right) became the first Baylor baseball player to drive in at least seven runs in a game since Shea Langeliers had 11 versus Omaha on June 1, 2019. Camie Jobe | Photographer

By Foster Nicholas | Sports Writer

When redshirt junior first baseman Will Pendergrass mashed a 405-foot home run in the bottom of the fifth inning during the Bears’ 17-4 win over Stephen F. Austin on Tuesday night, he wasn’t just strutting in front of Baylor baseball fans.

Pendergrass was rounding the bases right in front of his father, Rusty, who’s in his first year as the pitching coach for the Lumberjacks. The father-son duo met at home plate ahead of the midweek bout at Baylor Ballpark, where they shared a laugh and took a picture to commemorate the moment.

“That’s probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever done,” said Pendergrass, who finished 2-for-4 with a walk, three runs scored and two RBIs. “I mean, he’s done so much for me and the game. I grew up around the park watching him scout since I was really little, so that was definitely a gratifying moment.

“Now I have bragging rights in the house. It was a good one. He was happy for me.”

Baylor (5-11, 0-3 Big 12) was firing on all cylinders as it tallied a season-high in runs and hits with 17 apiece. For the second time this year, all nine starters notched at least one hit, and five Bears recorded multi-hit games. The bats were led by senior catcher Harrison Caley, who swatted a career-high in hits, going 4-for-4, including two home runs. Caley became the first Baylor batter since 2019 to chalk up seven RBIs.

“Harrison Caley with four hits and two bombs was a big lift,” Bears head coach Mitch Thompson said. “Tonight was a really good night, and the challenge will be, let’s do it again, and let’s do it again, and let’s keep showing that.”

Alongside Caley and Pendergrass, junior designated hitter Wesley Jordan also tallied a career-high three hits, including a double, two runs and two RBIs. Junior shortstop Tyriq Kemp recorded his second multi-hit game after a 2-for-3 day, including a walk and two runs scored, while redshirt junior outfielder Enzo Apodaca extended the team lead with his seventh multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with two walks, a double, two runs and three RBIs.

Junior outfielder Wesley Jordan (33) extended his on-base streak to eight games on Tuesday. Camie Jobe | Photographer
Junior outfielder Wesley Jordan (33) extended his on-base streak to eight games on Tuesday. Camie Jobe | Photographer

“I was just seeing the ball well,” Caley said of his night. “I was just trying to get good pitches to hit, and it worked out for me. We have a ballclub here where we can trust one another, and I think if we keep it moving, then good things will happen.”

The Lumberjacks (3-16, 0-3 WAC) were on track to snap their 15-game losing streak after plopping a four spot on the board in the top of the second inning and taking a 4-0 lead, but between six different Baylor arms, the Bears threw seven scoreless frames afterward.

“You see freshman arm after arm come out of the bullpen and do good, and that’s how you build a program, so it’s good to see,” Pendergrass said.

Redshirt freshman right-handed pitcher Tanner Duke and freshmen left-handed pitchers Jackson Elizondo and RJ Ruais combined for 3 2/3 scoreless innings while allowing just one hit and striking out seven. Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Drew Leach (2-0) earned the win as the only Baylor arm to go multiple innings. Leach worked 2.0 frames and allowed just one hit and two walks.

Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Drew Leach earned his second win and posted his fifth scoreless outing of 2024. Camie Jobe | Photographer
Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Drew Leach earned his second win and posted his fifth scoreless outing of 2024. Camie Jobe | Photographer

The Bears found the board in the bottom of the second inning after plating six runs with two outs. On the day, Baylor recorded 10 two-out hits, the first of which was a 416-foot two-run moonshot off the bat of Caley. The Bears rallied together a walk and four more hits in the inning as 10 batters came to the plate.

Baylor scored two runs in the third and fourth innings, including freshman infielder Chase Womack’s first collegiate hit, to take a 10-4 lead before slamming another crooked number on the board an inning later. Jordan started the fifth-inning rally by knocking in Apodaca with an RBI double. A couple batters later, Pendergrass demolished his two-run home run.

The following two batters reached base, and Caley — awaiting a payoff pitch — was sitting on a fastball and cranked his second swamp donkey of the game, one that plated three runs after landing 399 feet from home plate. Junior centerfielder Ty Johnson then ripped his only hit of the game to the warning track and was plated by the inning’s leadoff hitter, Apodaca, on a single to finish the seven-run frame and mark the final score at 17-4.

“We’re just trying to continue to mix and match so we can put the right lineup out there that’s going to give us the best opportunity to win,” Thompson said. “I’m proud of the guys’ response tonight. We needed tonight. We needed this. Hopefully this is something that we can carry over.”

The Bears will open a three-game series with No. 23 Texas Tech (12-4, 1-2 Big 12) at 6:30 p.m. on Friday at Baylor Ballpark.