AUSTIN, Texas – The No. 8 Texas Longhorns went down early but fought back in the second half of the game to beat the Baylor Bears 5-2 at UFCU Disch-Falk Field on Sunday afternoon.
Texas improved to 24-8 on the season (9-3 Big 12) and claimed the series after splitting with Baylor (18-15, 5-7) on Friday and Saturday.
The Bears struck first with what would be their only runs of the game in the top of the second. Josh Ludy was hit by a Cole Green pitch to start the inning. After Green struck out Dan Evatt, he walked Joey Hainsfurther and Lawton Langford then singled to left to load the bases. Two batters later, Landis Ware sent a single to centerfield on an 0-2 pitch to score Ludy and Hainsfurther.
The score remained 2-0 until the bottom of the fifth when Texas halved the deficit. Jacob Felts reached base with a one-out single on a liner that a diving Steve DalPorto couldn’t keep in his glove at second base for the Horns. Brandon Loy laid down a perfectly placed bunt that yielded no throw from the pitcher to put runners on first and second. After Paul Montalbano struck out, Erich Weiss singled to center to allow Felts to reach home from second.
The Longhorns evened the score in the sixth. Tant Shepherd opened the inning with a walk off Baylor reliever Jon Ringenberg and was sacrificed to second with a bunt from Jordan Etier. After Jonathan Walsh walked, Alex Silver drove a single through the left side of the infield to plate Shepherd.
Texas claimed its first lead of the game in the seventh. Montalbano led off with a single through the left side. After reliever Brad Kuntz hit Weiss with a pitch, Lucas Kephart bunted to the pitcher to sacrifice both runners into scoring position. Shepherd then sailed a two-RBI double along the left field line, scoring Montalbano and Weiss. Shepherd moved to third when Etier dropped a single in front of the left fielder and a Walsh squeeze bunt allowed Shepherd to cross home for the final tally of 5-2.
Sam Stafford earned the win for the Longhorns and up his record to 5-0. Stafford faced two batters, but he ended the top of the seventh by striking out Brooks Pinckard with a runner on third base in a 2-2 game. Green worked 6.0 innings, allowing two runs on two hits and three walks while striking out nine.
Corey Knebel picked up the save for Texas, his eighth of the season. He retired all six batters he faced over two innings, including two strikeouts.
Kuntz (0-1) was saddled with the loss for Baylor, allowing two runs on one hit and one hit batsmen. Trent Blank started the game for the Bears, giving up one run on five hits and two walks with one strikeout over 5.0 innings.
Shepherd led the Texas offense, going 2-for-3 on the day with one walk, two runs, one double and two RBI. Montalbano and Etier each added two hits.
The Longhorns return to action Tuesday when they face Dallas Baptist at UFCU Disch-Falk Field with first pitch slated for 6 p.m.