WACO, Texas (Baylor Athletics) The Bears dropped an 8-6 contest Saturday evening at Baylor Ballpark to No. 8 Texas. After Baylor took a 5-0 lead through five innings, the Longhorns scored eight unanswered runs and held Baylor quiet in the late innings.
Nine of the Bears’ 12 hits came from the trio of Davis Wendzel, Andy Thomas and Chase Wehsener, who went a combined 9-for-13 on the night.
Starter Paul Dickens turned in a solid performance, going 5.2 innings and allowing four runs on seven hits, racking up five strikeouts along the way. He has punched out at least four batters in all six of his starts this season.
The Bears (22-9, 6-2) jumped out to an early lead as Nick Loftin singled to lead off the bottom of the first and was chased home by a Richard Cunningham RBI triple. Wendzel followed with a run-scoring knock on the first pitch he saw and Baylor jumped ahead 2-0. After Shea Langeliers fouled out to the Texas right fielder, Wendzel scored on an errant throw and the Bears took a 3-0 lead to the second inning.
Dickens surrendered a one-out single in the top of the second, but then settled in to retire 11 Longhorns in a row. He put up zeros in the run column in each of the first five innings.
In the bottom of the fifth, Baylor added a pair of runs off back-to-back RBI doubles by Wendzel and Thomas, but Texas answered in the top of the sixth with a two-run home run by Austin Todd and a two-run single by Lance Ford to cut the Bears lead to 5-4.
Texas (21-13, 4-4) scored three in the seventh inning off reliever Jacob Ashkinos to take a 7-5 lead. Baylor never reclaimed the lead.
The Bears had two runners in scoring position in the eighth with Josh Bissonette at the plate, but BU couldn’t cash in as Bissonette struck out on a controversial call that resulted in head coach Steve Rodriguez’s first-career ejection during his tenure at Baylor.
Kyle Hill inherited two baserunners in the top of the ninth when he took over on the mound. He struck out the first two hitters he faced, but allowed an RBI double to Ford that extended the Longhorns’ lead to 8-5. The run was charged to Daniel Caruso who threw a hitless 1.1 innings, but walked two.
Baylor got one run back in the bottom half of the ninth after Chase Wehsener racked up his third hit of the game and later scored on a wild pitch. Texas reliever Kamron Fields got Wendzel to strikeout swinging to end the ballgame.
Ashkinos (0-2) took the loss while Longhorn starter Blair Henley (5-1) picked up the win. Fields earned his third save of the season.
The rubber game of the series is set for Sunday at 3:35 p.m. at Baylor Ballpark.