By Michael Haag | Sports Writer
Injuries paired with inexperience proved to be too much for Baylor baseball, as they were decimated by No. 10 University of Texas all weekend at UFCU Disch-Falk Field in Austin. Beaten and banged up, the Bears were never able to hang out with the high-powered Longhorns, proven by a 20-1 loss Friday night and a pair of 13-4 losses Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
Baylor (20-20, 4-11 Big 12) did not get full outings from sophomore right-handed pitcher Will Rigney on Friday or fifth-year senior lefty Tyler Thomas on Sunday due to discomfort, and UT (30-13, 9 -6 Big 12) made sure to cash in.
On Sunday the Bears also lost services from redshirt junior first baseman Chase Wehsener, as he was hit on the hand by a pitch and did not return. Losing two weekend starters and one of the most reliable veterans was not ideal, as it posed problems for the group.
“Our guys did a pretty good job. “It’s unfortunate right now because we’ve lost two starters in the first inning this weekend and it puts a pretty high stress level on the bullpen,” head coach Steve Rodriguez said. “We’re asking guys that can go one or two innings to go two or three innings and sometimes we’re just asking a bit too much of them.”
Thomas (4-4) was given the loss Sunday following three earned runs across one inning before being forced to exit. Texas’ Sunday-ace and left-handed hurler sophomore Lucas Gordon (4-1) prowled all afternoon as he launched five punchouts across 5.1 innings of work, only allowing three earned runs and three walks.
Baylor put pressure early on, getting a run from junior infielder Jack Pineda off a passed ball to take a 1-0 lead. The Horns responded with back-to-back home runs to hoist a 3-1 lead through the first.
The Bears regained some life off a third inning solo shot from sophomore outfielder Kyle Nevin, his team-leading eighth of the season, but were handled the rest of the way. UT left the yard three more times to the tune of 14 homers on the weekend, their most in a series this season.
Baylor heads back north and will look to put that series behind them, as they welcome the University of Incarnate Word for a midweek matchup, first pitch set for 6:30 pm on Tuesday at Baylor Ballpark.
Rodriguez is trusting the process and chalking the weekend up to a learning experience. He said even some of his most trusted pitchers over the years had rough starts to their Baylor careers.
“We’re asking a lot of young guys to behave like veterans and they’re going to get it [eventually], ”Rodriguez said. “There’s a great learning experience [to it]. We had Cody Bradford [and] those guys in their freshman year, their sophomore [year and] they did not have the greatest of years. Luke Boyd, same thing. “As long as they can take something away from this and just keep getting that experience – as long as they continue to do that we should be okay.”