WACO, Texas — Dan Evatt’s two-run single in the sixth erased a 5-4 deficit, and No. 13 Baylor held on for a 7-5 win to complete a series sweep of No. 4 Texas A&M on Sunday afternoon at Baylor Ballpark.
With the win, Baylor (35-7, 18-0 Big 12) broke a Big 12 record with its 18th consecutive conference victory. The Bears have won 24 in a row overall, which is the longest winning streak in Big 12 history.
Texas A&M (28-12, 9-6 Big 12) rallied from an early four-run deficit to take the lead with three unearned runs in the top of the sixth, but Baylor quickly regained the lead on Evatt’s single in the bottom half of the inning.
“Honestly, I felt that it woke us up,” Baylor head coach Steve Smith said. “I don’t think we were necessarily asleep, but I think we were fatigued. The bats were slow and maybe it took a jolt.”
Ryan Smith (2-0) picked up the win with 2.2 innings of shutout relief, and Max Garner recorded the final two outs to earn his eighth save of the season. Garner became the first Baylor pitcher ever to save all three games of a Big 12 series, and he has seven saves in the last three weekends.
The Bears jumped out to an early lead with a four-run outburst in the first inning. Nathan Orf singled and scored on Max Muncy’s RBI single, and Josh Ludy fouled off 10 consecutive pitches before hitting a two-run homer on the 14th pitch of his at-bat against A&M starter Rafael Pineda. Logan Vick followed with a double, and he scored on Cal Towey’s two-out RBI single.
“That’s about as good of an at-bat as you can have in a game,” Smith said. “It was a 14-pitch, two-run home run. Give Pineda a whole lot of credit. The guy threw 40 pitches in the first inning and was still out there.”
Baylor starting pitcher Joey Hainsfurther worked are two base runners in each of the first two innings, but the Aggies got on the board for a run with three singles in the third. Hainsfurther stranded the bases loaded in the third and retired the side in order in the fourth. He finished the game with two runs allowed in 4.1 innings.
Texas A&M took advantage of two errors in the sixth to score three unearned runs against reliever Dillon Newman to take a 5-4 lead, but Smith came out of the bullpen and slowed down the A&M offense until turning the ball over to Crayton Bare and Garner to close out the game in the ninth.
Pineda settled in and held 14 straight Baylor batters hitless before Ludy’s one-out double in the sixth ended his day. He finished with five runs allowed on six hits in 5.1 innings.
Vick followed Ludy’s double with a single against reliever Parker Ray, and he moved to second base on a throw into the infield. That proved crucial, as Evatt singled up the middle to drive in two runs and put the Bears in front 6-5. Ray (1-1) took the loss after allowing one run in 0.1 inning of relief.
The Bears added an insurance run in the seventh on Muncy’s RBI fielder’s choice, and Crayton Bare came on in relief to face Tyler Naquin leading off the ninth. Naquin had hits in each of his first four at-bats, but Bare retired him on a fly ball, and Garner got a groundout and a strikeout to seal the victory.
Orf, Ludy and Vick had two hits each for the Bears, while Muncy, Ludy and Evatt added two RBI each, and Muncy and Evatt each stole a base.