All Baylor needed was a strike. One pitch over the plate and the inning would have been over.
Texas still would have trailed 2-0. The Bears would have been coming to bat. But what appeared to be a strike was called a ball. Then there was a walk . . . and another walk . . . and a single.
Eight batters later, Texas led 7-2.
Texas turned everything around in the third inning Saturday, flipping a rough start into an easy 14-2 victory by taking advantage of a small opportunity at Baylor Ballpark.
It all came with two outs.
“This tells you something about our team,” said Bradley Suttle, whose 11-pitch at bat in the third inning keyed the rally. “We had a few good at-bats. Then we got a couple of hits. Our team can hit. Then we relaxed a little bit and let loose.”
With two outs in the third, Chance Wheeless singled, Jordan Danks walked and so did Suttle, who fought off a bunch of pitches and escaped a couple of close calls that went Texas’ way.
Then the rally began.
Kyle Russell worked the count to 3-2 before singling up the middle to tie the game at 2. Russell Moldenhauer doubled just inside the first-base line, scoring Suttle. Josh Prince followed with a two-run double. Preston Clark walked. Nick Peoples and Travis Tucker each followed with RBI singles.
“The at-bats right through there were spectacular,” Texas coach Augie Garrido said. “The walks. Bradley turned his at-bat around. (Kyle) Russell working the count full and waiting for his pitch to hit. It was the best hitting.”
The Horns (18-7, 2-0 Big 12) poured it on in the next inning, scoring four more runs as Suttle, who hit two right-handed home runs, and Kyle Russell hit back-to-back homers.
“I’ve been struggling right-handed,” Suttle said. “I haven’t been getting as many right-handed at-bats. But I worked on it a little extra today and earlier this week. I guess it paid off.”
It was Russell’s 11th home run of the season. Baylor (12-9, 0-2) has 10 home runs this year.
The 14 runs were the most Baylor had allowed at home since 1998 and the 12-run loss was the Bears’ worst in the nine-year history of Baylor Ballpark.
The sizeable gap was made possible by Texas right-hander Adrian Alaniz, who fought off a shaky start that led to two first-inning runs and went seven strong innings to improve to 6-1.
Alaniz’ calming down after the first inning, and Baylor starter Kendal Volz’ losing control in the third was the difference.
“The difference in experience really showed,” Baylor coach Steve Smith said. “We had a young pitcher on the mound, and he was able to get to two strikes a couple of times in the third inning, but then he made some mistakes. On the other hand, Alaniz struggled early but turned it around.”