WACO, Texas – Baylor finished off a series sweep of Texas with a 5-2 victory on Sunday afternoon at Baylor Ballpark. The win on senior day gave the Bears (24-20, 11-6 Big 12) their first sweep of the season and first over Texas (22-20, 5-13 Big 12) since 2005.
Improving to four games over .500 for the first time all season with their second four-game winning streak, the Bears were led by the top of their batting order and a third strong pitching performance in the series – this time from starter Ryan Smith.
The sophomore picked up his first win as a starter in his third career start as he threw a career-high 6.2 innings, allowing two runs on six hits and a walk with three strikeouts. Smith (2-3) held the Longhorns scoreless over the first five innings before he gave up a two-out run in the sixth.
"Ryan did the same thing he did today as he did last Sunday, which was he got better and stronger as he went along," said BU Head Coach Steve Smith. "He didn't strike a lot of guys out, just changed speeds a lot and I think he's going to continue to learn a bit how to do what he does. He's got command of three pitches so it's about getting out there and learning."
Giving Smith the support he needed were the No. 1-4 hitters of the BU lineup. Lawton Langford, Cal Towey, Nathan Orf and Jake Miller combined to go 7-for-15 with three RBI and three runs scored. Orf drove in the first run of the game with a two-out double in the third. Towey scored a pair in the fifth on a two-run single.
In the eighth, a two-out rally dashed any hopes of a Texas comeback as Steve DalPorto delivered an RBI single and Duncan Wendel followed with a pinch-hit RBI double.
"Cal came up with the first two-out RBI, but what happened in the bottom of the eighth was pretty huge," Smith said. "Jake getting on base and Dalporto and Duncan coming up with two-out hits, that changed the entire top of the ninth. This game on our side was pretty much like the others and for them it was a lot like yesterday."
Smith very easily could've been through seven with only one run allowed, but a two-out, bases clear swinging strikeout on a wild pitch kept the inning alive. Two singles later, Texas had the Baylor lead down to one run at 3-2 and Smith out of the game.
BU reliever Doug Ashby come on and cooled the fire with a weak grounder to second to escape with no further damage. The side-arm lefty also pitched a scoreless eighth to bridge the gap to Crayton Bare, who struck out the side in the ninth for his second straight save and career-high third of the season.
UT starter Nathan Thornhill (2-5) was tagged with the loss after surrendering three runs in 6.1 innings on seven hits and one walk with three strikeouts.
The Bears begin a four-game road trip on Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. CT against UT Arlington before heading to Kansas for a three-game weekend series.
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