Bears hand Longhorns first loss of series

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Freshman shortstop David Hamilton didn’t have much time to become familiar with the grass field in Waco before he was tested by Baylor’s leadoff batter T.J. Raguse during the first inning of Thursday night’s match.

Raguse sent a ground ball towards Hamilton’s direction on the first pitch of his at-bat. Hamilton — who normally plays on a bouncier turf surface at home in Austin — expected Raguse’s grounder to ricochet off the natural grass at a much higher height than it did. The ball flew past him into center field as a result and Raguse was rewarded with the first hit in Baylor’s 6-2 win over the Longhorns.

However, Hamilton quickly found redemption during the next play, when he was able to turn a double play that sent Raguse back to the dugout. Sophomore pitcher Nolan Kingham and the Longhorn defense eventually turned the leadoff hit into a quick five-pitch inning to get out of early trouble.

But the Bears got the best of Kingham in the second inning. Baylor’s Tucker Cascadden crushed a clutch double while the bases were loaded to boost his team to a two-run lead. The green and gold cashed in two more runs in the inning to hold an early 4-0 advantage over the Longhorns.

Texas finally got on board during the top of the fifth inning when sophomore designated hitter Kody Clemens blasted a double to lessen Baylor’s lead to 4-1. But Baylor’s Shea Langeliers entered the bottom of the inning with plans to bring the momentum back to his team’s side.

And that’s just what he did. Langeliers blasted a two-run homer over the left field fence and busted the game wide open for Baylor, 6-1.

Kingham entered the night with a team-best 1.23 ERA and hadn’t given up more than two runs in a game all season. But after Langeliers’ two-run homer, Kingham was charged with six earned runs during his five-inning outing.

The Longhorns had opportunities to get back in the game, but failed to take advantage of most of them. Junior outfielder Patrick Mathis stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded in the sixth, but hit a flyout that ended the inning and stranded all three baserunners. 

Texas stranded two more runners in scoring position during the next inning. The Longhorns were able to score a run in the ninth, but their inability to convert earlier chances into runs cost them a 6-2 loss to the Bears. 

The burnt orange will look to bounce back in the second game of the series against Baylor at 6:35 p.m. tonight.