Texas avoids sweep with win over Baylor

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Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

Nothing went Texas’ way in its series with Baylor, but that all changed when Kacy Clemens stepped up to the plate in the 10th inning of the final game. 

The Longhorns went into their third game with Baylor knowing they already lost the series. Texas struggled in its 6-2 loss to the Bears on Thursday in Waco. However, the first loss wasn’t nearly as disappointing as the Longhorns’ late game collapse in game two. 

Redshirt junior pitcher Morgan Cooper got the start on the mound for the second game of the series Friday night. Cooper threw a five inning shutout as Texas jumped to an early 2-0 lead. Cooper finished with five strikeouts when he left the mound in the fifth inning after Texas extended its lead to 3-0.

Although Cooper left the mound, the dominant pitching continued. Freshman pitcher Blair Henley took the mound in relief of Cooper in the sixth. Henley threw two more shutout innings before things got interesting in the eighth. 

Henley’s night ended after the freshman put Baylor’s first three batters on base. Baylor plated a run to cut Texas’ lead to 3-1. Then, sophomore Beau Ridgeway went in and tried to halt the Bears’ momentum. He didn’t.

One single and an error later and the Bears completely erased Texas’ three-run lead going into the ninth. Baylor wasn’t done. 

Texas couldn’t get anything going at the plate as Ridgeway headed back to the mound. He walked the leadoff batter in the bottom of the ninth, who would advance to second after a sacrifice bunt. That’s when Baylor catcher Kameron Esthay sent a shot up the middle to plate the runner from second and seal the Bears’ 4-3 win. 

However, this wasn’t the only three-run lead Texas gave up over the weekend. 

The Longhorns had less than 24 hours to forget about Friday’s walk-off loss and prepare for the third and final game of the series. 

Texas jumped out to another early lead after junior catcher Michael Cantu hit a solo shot to give his team a 3-0 advantage.

Baylor had one more comeback in store for the Longhorns. The Bears plated runs in the fifth, seventh and ninth innings to erase Texas’ three-run lead for the second-consecutive game, sending the game to extra innings. 

But senior first baseman Clemens decided to take matters into his own hands. Clemens stepped up to the plate after junior outfielder Travis Jones, who went 4-of-4 on the day, and drew a two-out walk. 

Clemens smashed the first pitch he saw and sent the ball flying over the right-field fence to give Texas a 5-3 lead in the top of the 10th.

Ridgeway took over on the mound in the bottom of the 10th, but this time he threw a perfect inning to end the game, 5-3, and notch his seventh save this season. 

The Longhorns narrowly avoided dropping all three games to the Bears with Clemens’ late heroics. 

Texas returns to action Tuesday night when it hosts Texas State for a non-conference matchup at 6:30 p.m.