Owls are no match for bears; shutout victory for baseball

Sophomore pitcher Kobe Andrade and five other Baylor pitchers contributed to a two-hit shutout against Rice University on March 2 at Reckling Park in Houston. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Michael Haag | sports editor

Baylor baseball began its five-game tour with a 9-0 win over Rice University Wednesday night in Houston at Reckling Park. The Bears ran a two-hit shutout in their midweek matchup before starting the 2022 Shriners Children’s College Classic this weekend.

Baylor (4-4) beat the Owls (2-6) 13-2 and used a five-place finish in the fifth inning to run away with the win. The Bears used six different pitchers in the shutout effort, posting seven combined strikeouts and seven walks as a unit.

Sophomore left-handed pitcher Kobe Andrade (2-0) took the win on the mound in 2.1 innings, allowing no runs or hits, with one hit per pitch.

Head coach Steve Rodriguez was happy to see the bats crack, which is what the group has been focusing on for the past few weeks.

“The most important thing is that we just forced contact and put the ball in play,” Rodriguez said. “Our execution was pretty good tonight and we kind of pushed for that over the last two weekends. When you get to two strikes, then you’re really competing for the team to put the ball in play and do some good things, and we were able to do that tonight.

In the top of the second, Baylor hit first, as redshirt junior first baseman Chase Wehsener was tackled on a single by junior infielder Antonio Valdez and an error by Rice.

The offensive onslaught began in the fifth inning, sparked by a pair of runs on more Owl errors. A 3-0 lead wasn’t enough for second-year outfielder Kyle Nevin, who left the court with a two-run shot, his first homer of the season and the second of his career and for the Bears this season. The final punch came from sophomore outfielder Alex Gonzales, who doubled to bring Valdez home.

Valdez wasn’t finished, as in the seventh he landed his second hit to power Nevin home, extending the 7-0 lead.

In the eighth, the Bears’ final attack came from a couple runs on some wild pitches. Baylor’s 13 hits that day were a season high, and five pitchers combined for 7.1 hitless relief innings.

The Bears will stay in Houston for a three-day slate this weekend as part of the Shriners Classic. Baylor opens the game against No. 23 University of California Los Angeles at 11 a.m. Friday at Minute Maid Park. Saturday and Sunday will see competitions against the University of Tennessee No. 17 and Louisiana State University No. 7 all weekend games against a ranked opponent for the Bears. All contests can be watched on AT&T SportsNet, the final game can be heard on SiriusXM 375.

Rodriguez was thrilled the team was coming to Houston and getting a road win ahead of the Shriners Classic.

“It’s huge. Any time you can go on the road and win, that’s always a good thing,” Rodriguez said. “Being able to come here, before heading to Minute Maid [for the Shriners Children’s College Classic] against very good teams, it’s always good, especially when you have the opportunity to play very well.

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