Baylor baseball powers past HCU 13-4

Baylor baseball outscored HCU 13-2 after the Bears dug an early 3-0 deficit on Tuesday. Mesha Mittanasala | Photographer

By Foster Nicholas | Sports Writer

Headlined by a six-run eighth inning, Baylor baseball rallied back to extend its winning streak to three and knock off HCU by a score of 13-4 on Tuesday at Baylor Ballpark.

After walking the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning, senior second baseman Daniel Altman cleared the bases with a triple to give the Bears (11-17, 5-7 Big 12) their first lead of the game at 6-4. Altman’s timely hit provided the spark as Baylor plated another run in the inning on an error before blowing the game open in the eighth inning.

“[I just want to do] anything to help my team win,” Altman said. “I see those guys work to get on base and they put me in the position to come up in those spots. It’s really nice feeling to come out here on a Tuesday night and get a W.”

Redshirt junior right fielder Enzo Apodaca led the Bears offensively with a hit and three walks, marking the fifth time he has reached base four or more times this year. Apodaca jump-started the eighth with a walk, and junior center fielder Ty Johnson followed it with a single. Junior third baseman Hunter Teplanszky singled in a run later while another scored on a groundout. Senior first baseman Mason Greer singled in another before three unearned runs marked the final score of 13-4 later in the inning.

“It’s just good to keep going and keep winning,” head coach Mitch Thompson said. “We really pitched the ball well out of the bullpen. … [We] did just enough offensively. I didn’t think it was a great day, but it wasn’t really a great day to hit either.”

Five bullpen arms combine for 7.0 innings of two-run ball to go with 10 strikeouts. Thompson leaned on sophomore left-handed pitcher Ethan Calder (3-1), who recorded the win after hurling 2.0 scoreless innings, his eighth outing without allowing an earned run this year.

“I was proud of our bullpen,” Thompson said. “I felt like after the first inning we kind of settled in there and really pitched the ball well. We made a lot of plays on defense and then got enough going offensively and had some big hits.”

Freshman left-handed pitcher RJ Ruais struggled in his second start, going 2.0 innings and allowing the Huskies (9-19, 2-4 SLC) three runs on five hits. The bats had his back as in the bottom of the second with the bases loaded, junior catcher Cortlan Castle rattled off an RBI single. Apodaca drove in a run with a fielders choice, and Johnson capped off the inning with a two-out RBI single to even the game.

Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Andrew Petrowski allowed one run in the third inning, and the Bears trailed 4-3 heading into the fourth. Freshman right-handed pitcher Stephen Sepulveda entered the game for the Bears and struck out six consecutive batters. The six-up, six-down sequence marked the first time a Baylor team had shut down six in a row on strikes since March 24, 2007.

“I felt good out of the ‘pen,” Sepulveda said. “I had to go out there with confidence, get ahead of hitters, just do my job and get outs.”

Sepulveda entered the sixth inning but hit a batter and walked another before recording a strikeout and being replaced. The righty closed the day with 2 1/3 scoreless innings and a career-high seven strikeouts. Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Patrick Hail relieved the freshman with two runners on and one out. Hail allowed a single but stranded the bases loaded in the top of the sixth to keep the deficit to one.

Calder fired scoreless frames in the seventh and eighth while the bats came alive, and redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Drew Leach capped off the solid relief outing by allowing one run in the ninth inning.

Baylor will now open a nonconference three-game series with Incarnate Word (15-12, 2-4 SLC) at 6:30 p.m. on Friday at Baylor Ballpark.