Longhorns rake in 13 hits and get some help from seven Baylor errors to take game 1 of the three game set.
The Longhorns didn’t wait long to get things started on the offensive end Friday night. They must have been itching to get going considering the late 8 o’clock start time.
Travis Tucker reached base on an infield single to third base for the Longhorns first base runner of the night. Brandon Belt followed with a walk, setting up Kevin Lusson, who delivered with an RBI single into right. Kevin Keyes struck out and Brandon Loy walked to load the bases. With Cameron Rupp at the plate, a wild pitch brought Belt home, but a base running error that resulted in two men standing on second base ended the inning for the Longhorns.
The Horns struck again in the second, though, with a big fly from sophomore center fielder Connor Rowe. With one out and Cameron Rupp on first, Rowe launched one just beneath scoreboard in left center to give the Horns a decisive 4-0 lead.
“I was feeling really good during batting practice and Morgan Mickan actually told me I would hit one off the scoreboard tonight,” said Rowe. “And I almost did.”
They added another in the third, this time with a little help from the Baylor Bears D. Belt led off with a high fly ball that was misplayed by the center fielder for an error, putting Belt on second. Lusson followed with a walk and Keyes sacrificed the runners into scoring position. Rupp came to the plate and hit a routine ground ball to the third baseman, but a poor throw allowed Rupp to reach and Belt to score from third, making the score 5-1 Longhorns.
“They made errors and we capitalized on them,” said Texas head coach Augie Garrido. “I thought their pitcher did well but when you give a team extra opportunities they’re going to take advantage, and we did that tonight”.
The Bears would battle back though, scoring four runs of their own over the next four innings. They got on the board with an Aaron Miller solo shot in the third and put two more across in the fifth. Dustin Dickerson led off with a single and moved to second on a balk from Ruffin. Consecutive doubles from Miller and Evatt plated two runs for the Bears, making the score 5-3.
The Bears manufactured another run in the sixth and tried to make a game of it, shaving the deficit down to one. But the Baylor D just wouldn’t have it and made sure the outcome of the game would be decided by their gloves.
“We had trouble playing catch out there tonight,” said Baylor head coach Steve Smith. “I’m sure we’ve had some bad ones like this in the past but I can’t remember any.”
After a Keyes lead off single into left, an attempted sacrifice from Loy resulted in a fielding error for the pitcher and runners on first and second. Cameron Rupp delivered with a single into left field to score Keyes. Tim Maitland followed with a bunt single and another error, this time an overthrow by third baseman Raynor Campbell, put Loy across for the run. With runners on second and third, Rowe lashed an RBI single to the second baseman who wasn’t able to make the diving play. The next batter, Torres, grounded into a fielder’s choice and collected the RBI to make the score 9-4 Longhorns.
The Longhorns added three more runs in the eight and the Bears added two more errors.
Chance Ruffin pitched well on the night and was in a lot of jams but found his way out of them. He finished with six innings pitched, three earned runs and five strikeouts.
“That’s when you know you have a good pitcher,” said Garrido. “When he doesn’t have his best stuff and he still presents the team with an opportunity to win.”
Ruffin earned the victory moving his record to 7-2 on the season. Austin Wood earned the three-inning save, allowing only two hits in his appearance
The Bears and Longhorns will meet up again tomorrow in Waco where they’ll finish out the series. Game times are set at 6:30 pm and 1:30 pm for Saturday and Sunday, respectively.