TULSA, Okla. - The 14th-ranked Baylor men's tennis team dropped its first match of the season to No. 22 Tulsa, 5-2, on Sunday at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center.
Baylor (2-1) opened the match by claiming the doubles point for a 1-0 lead on the Golden Hurricane (3-3), but then the Bears lost five of six singles matches to drop the contest.
"We came here to see where we were as a team," head coach Matt Knoll said. "What we saw wasn't very pretty. We have to make a decision as a program on what we are going to do from here. You hate to overstate it since it is February, but we can either work really hard to get where we need to be or it is going to be a long season."
BU clinched the doubles point for the third straight match by picking up wins on courts 3 and 1. First, Baylor freshmen Patrick Pradella and Julian Lenz downed Carolos Bautista and Japie De Klerk, 8-2. Tulsa responded as Grant Ive and Tristan Jackson beat Marko Krickovic and Roberto Maytin, 8-5, at the No. 2 spot. With doubles all-squared at one match apiece, BU's Mate Zsiga and Tony Lupieri pulled out an 8-5 victory against Clifford Marsland and Alejandro Espejo.
"I thought Tony and Mate did a really nice job at No. 1 doubles," Knoll said. "Tony really rose to the occasion, while Julian and Patrick did a good job focusing to win their match quickly, which really put the pressure on Tulsa."
In singles play, Tulsa's Jackson picked up a 6-2, 6-4 win over Maytin, who was playing in his first match of this season. Things continued to go the Golden Hurricane way as Marsland took care of No. 60 Mate Zsiga, 6-4, 6-3, at the No. 1 spot.
Baylor lost its third straight singles point on court 2 where No. 34 De Klerk beat No. 50 Krickovic 6-4, 6-3.
Tulsa was able to put Baylor away with its fourth straight win on court 3 where Ive topped Pradella in a three-set match, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (1).
"Tulsa came out and punched us in the mouth in singles and we didn't do a good job of dealing with it," Knoll said. "They were more assertive and put together than we were. We showed some resiliency and toughness at the end, but we unfortunately had put ourselves in too deep of hole."
The Bears lone win in singles came at the No. 5 spot where Diego Galeano was able to beat Carlos Bautista in another three set match, 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2.
"Diego raised his intensity level during the second-set tiebreaker and that carried over to the third set," Knoll said. "I was happy that he was able to get it going."
The happiness was short lived as Tulsa claimed another three-set victory at the No. 4 position where No. 69 Espejo defeated Lupieri 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-2.
The Golden Hurricane has now won two straight over Baylor, but the Bears still lead the all-time series, 4-2.
Baylor will head back to Waco to start a three-match homestand. The Bears next match will be Saturday, Feb.9, as they host Purdue at Baylor's Hurd Tennis Center.
Purdue comes into Waco currently ranked No. 68, but coming off a loss at No. 51 Denver, dropping its record to 7-1 on the season.
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