Down to their last strike against Baylor, the resurgent Texas Longhorns baseball team once again found a way to win. Trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth, OF Mark Payton stepped to the plate with the bases loaded. Payton worked the count to 3-2, then lined a bases clearing double down the left field line, sending the Horns home 5-4 winners.
The inning started when Baylor SS Brett Doe committed an error, allowing Madison Carter to reach base. After Kacy Clemens lined out, Zane Gurwitz singled and Brooks Marlow walked to load the bases. Ben Johnson then struck out on three pitches, leaving the game in Payton’s hands.
Payton had safely reached base in 66 consecutive games coming into the night, but was 0-4 when he stepped to the plate in the ninth. Yet, Payton came up big in the clutch, working the count on Baylor closer Josh Michalec before striking the winning blow. Michalec entered the game with 11 saves, but took the loss to drop his record to 0-3.
Texas started fast. Madison Carter singled in Tres Barrera in the bottom of the second to give the Horns an early lead. Then in the bottom of the third, Marlow scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0.
Baylor roared back, scoring one in the fourth and two in the fifth to take the lead. Then the Bears added an insurance run in the eight to make it 4-2.
Texas pitcher Travis Duke earned his second win of the season. Duke entered the game in the top of the eight in relief of Chad Hollingsworth with a runner at third and two outs. Duke ended the inning by striking out Lawton Langford, keeping the score 4-2. Duke then kept Baylor off the scoreboard in the ninth, giving Texas one last chance at the win.
With the win, the Longhorns moved to 24-7 overall and 4-3 in Big XII play. Texas will now have two chances to win the series, which would give them back-to-back Big XII series wins for the first time since 2012. The Longhorns will send Dillon Peters (3-2 2.68 ERA) against the Bears Saturday night.