Mason Green deals as Baylor baseball earns series win over No. 23 Texas Tech

The Bears held the Red Raiders to just five runs on the weekend, which marked the lowest output in a series so far this year by No. 23 Texas Tech. Kassidy Tsikitas | Photo Editor

By Foster Nicholas | Sports Writer, Braden Murray | LTVN Sports Director

Despite St. Patrick’s Day baseball dealing with weather delays, Baylor mustered a storm of its own.

LTVN’s Braden Murray brings you details from each game of the series

The Bears secured their first series victory over a ranked opponent under head coach Mitch Thompson after taking the series finale over No. 23 Texas Tech 7-2 on Sunday at Baylor Ballpark.

On a day known for its color, Baylor (7-12, 2-5 Big 12) freshman left-handed pitcher Mason Green rocked his last name after delivering 6.0 scoreless innings before the game went into a weather delay for 1 hour and 26 minutes in the top of the seventh inning. Green struck out three Red Raider (14-6, 2-5 Big 12 ) batters and allowed only two hits and one walk.

“I’m sitting over there in the corner, just upset that I have to pull my starting pitching when we’re ahead,” Thompson said of the rain delay. “Fifteen innings in a day — with a rain delay in between — not a good feel, so I’m glad we got through it.”

Green (1-1) dealt with unrivaled efficiency, throwing just 66 pitches to work his way through the outing en route to his first collegiate win. The southpaw faced no more than four batters in each of his six innings, including two 1-2-3 frames.

“He was fantastic. To be six innings into the game and have a pitch count in the 60s, that’s pretty good,” Thompson said. “That’s a kind of guy that can go finish one for you. It’s not very often you see complete games in college baseball anymore, but when you’re in the sixth inning with 60-some pitches, you have a shot.”

Baylor led 3-0 when play resumed in the top of the seventh inning after plating a run in the second, third and fifth. After allowing a run in the top of the inning, the Bears blew the game open, plating four in the bottom of the inning. Junior center fielder Ty Johnson, who finished the day 3-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored, led off the frame with a single while the next four batters all reached on two more singles and two hit by pitches. After a pair of situational RBI groundouts, Baylor held a 7-1 lead.

“Probably the biggest runs we put on the board were in response to them in the seventh inning when they cut the lead to 3-1, and then [expanding] it back to 7-1 was a really good feeling for all of us,” Thompson said.

Freshman right-handed pitcher Stephen Sepulveda and senior left-handed pitcher Kobe Andrade relieved Green to close out the game. Sepulveda went one and one-third innings and allowed the only two Texas Tech runs, although just one was earned, and struck out two batters. Andrade picked up where the freshman left off and shut down five of the six batters he faced, going one and two-thirds scoreless innings to clinch the series victory 7-2.

“Our pitchers are here, and they had a great weekend,” junior designated hitter Wesley Jordan said. “It was really fun to see. I know if we pitch like that and hit how we’ve hit, we can compete with anybody. So we’re going to build on it for sure.”

With thick air and wind blowing out of center field toward home plate, Baylor Ballpark prevented the series finale from being a slugfest. The two teams combined for six warning track flyouts that died before clearing the fence.

The trend was seen in the bottom of the third inning. The Bears had already plated their second run of the game after an RBI sac fly from redshirt junior right fielder Enzo Apodaca set the scene for Jordan with runners on the corners and two outs. Jordan took a big swing, and the ball jumped off his bat as the metal echoed throughout the ballpark. Johnson, who was standing at third, instantly put his arms in the air and trotted home as if there was no doubt Jordan went yard.

“It goes both ways,” Jordan said. “I wanted that one, but they had some that they would have got too if the wind was different today. So at the end of day, we won, so I’ll take it.”

Instead, the ball was caught by the left fielder, who had his back hard-pressed against the wall that reads 375 feet.

Alongside Johnson, senior first baseman Mason Greer was the only other Bear with a multi-hit game. Greer went 2-for-3 with a double and two walks in the finale. Senior left fielder Daniel Altman reached base three times, going 1-2 with a single, two walks and two runs batted in.

“It’s huge to win a series in conference play against an opponent of their caliber that’s ranked,” said freshman pitcher RJ Ruais, who threw three and one-third innings without allowing a run in game two of the series. “Yeah, it’s huge for us. It’s been really good to win a couple games this week, and we need to be looking forward to next week and keep it going for sure.”

The Bears will take on Sam Houston (13-7) at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Don Sanders Stadium in Huntsville.