Horns Illustrated

Baseball beats Baylor, 4-3, wins series

College World Series
Tristan Stevens gave up seven hits and a pair of earned runs, while striking out six, to pick up his second victory of the season and help the Texas baseball team knock off Baylor, 4-3 (photo courtesy of texassports.com).

WACO, Texas — The Texas baseball team defeated Baylor for the second straight day Saturday at Baylor Ballpark, 4-3, to clinch the first series of the season against an opponent from the Big 12.

With the victory, the Longhorns improved their record to 14-5 overall, and 2-0 in games against Big 12 teams, while Baylor fell to 13-6, and 0-2 in conference games.

The contest followed a similar pattern to Texas' 5-3 win Friday, as the two sides exchanged runs in the early innings before the bullpens took over.

Texas struck first, going up 1-0 in the first inning, as left fielder Eric Kennedy singled with one out before center fielder Mike Antico drove him in with a double. It did not take long for the Bears to respond, as center fielder and leadoff hitter Jared McKenzie opened the bottom of the first with a base hit off Texas starter Tristan Stevens, who picked up the win to improve his record to 2-1. McKenzie advanced to second on an error by Longhorn first baseman Zach Zubia before crossing the plate on a double to left field by catcher Andy Thomas that tied the score at one.

The bats for both teams were held quiet over the next two innings before third baseman Cam Williams put Texas back in front on a solo home run to deep center field with two outs in the top of the fourth. Williams leads the team in homers with four, and finished the game 2-for-4 at the plate in his second consecutive multi-hit performance.

Thomas answered Williams with a solo homer of his own on Stevens' first pitch of the fourth to knot the score at 2-2. It was the first home run the redshirt junior had given up in five starts this season.

The Horns' offense widened the margin to two in the sixth, pulling away as catcher Silas Ardoin and shortstop Trey Faltine reached base on back-to-back one-out hits. Ardoin singled up the middle one at-bat before Faltine doubled down the left field line. They were not on the base paths for long, as designated hitter DJ Petrinsky drove both in on a single to right field.

With the Longhorns leading, 4-2, Texas head coach David Pierce turned to the bullpen in the seventh. Right-hander Cole Quintanilla fired two innings of scoreless relief, and allowed just one hit. Freshman Aaron Nixon closed out the game with a near-perfect ninth. The only hiccups came with one out in the final frame, when Baylor right fielder Davion Downey launched a solo home run to left field, cutting the deficit to one. First baseman Chase Wehsener doubled with two outs, putting Baylor in a position to tie it with McKenzie at the plate.

Nixon picked up the save as he struck out McKenzie on three straight strikes.

Stevens had a solid showing, and fired six innings in his second win of the season. He gave up seven hits, and two earned runs, but struck out six batters.

At the plate for the Longhorns, second baseman Mitchell Daly was the top performer, going 3-for-4. Williams and Kennedy each had two hits, and every starter in the lineup besides leadoff hitter and right fielder Douglas Hodo III recorded at least one hit.

The Longhorns will try for their second straight series sweep at 1 p.m. Sunday, with Kolby Kubichek (2-1, 2.50 earned run average) is set to start. Baylor is expected to throw right-hander Hayden Kettler (1-0, 1.54 ERA).

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