Photo by Matthew McBrayer
Baylor Baseball

Bears defeat Nebraska 7-2 to take the series

February 16, 2020
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WACO, Texas – The Bears defeated visiting Nebraska 7-2 on Sunday afternoon to take the series 2-1 at Baylor Ballpark.

The Bears (2-1) outhit the Cornhuskers (1-2) 9-8 on the day, with 6 of their seven runs coming with two outs. The Bears also took advantage of Nebraska defensive miscues, an error in the third and a passed ball in the fifth to plate runs.

Freshmen Tre Richardson and Jared McKenzie each had two hits on the day, along with fellow newcomers junior college transfer Esteban Cardoza-Oquendo. McKenzie and Nick Loftin led the way with two RBI apiece.

Nebraska got on the board first, adding one run in the second and one in the third off Baylor starter Hayden Kettler. But that would be all they would generate, as Kettler would put up zeroes in the fourth and fifth to finish off his season debut, followed by 2.1 scoreless from freshman Evan Godwin and 1.2 scoreless from Ryan Leckich.

Down 0-2, the Bears came through in a big way in the bottom of the third inning. After Husker starter Cade Povich had the Bears off-balance through the first two frames, striking out five of the first six batters he faced, Esteban Cardoza-Oquendo connected on the first hit of the day for the Bears, a one-out single. The first run of the day for the Bears then came as the Bears capitalized on a fielding error by the Nebraska third baseman Loftin then came through with a two-run triple to give the Bears the lead, 3-2.

The Bears added one more in the fifth on heads-up base running by Richardson, who came home from third on a passed ball.

In the sixth, the Bears broke open the game, adding three runs on two hits. Richardson delivered a sac fly and McKenzie connected on a two-out single back up the middle to plate the final two runs of the day, giving the Bears a 7-2 lead.

Kettler earned the win to improve to 1-0 on the year, while Nebraska starter Povich took the loss after giving up four unearned runs on seven hits in 4.0 innings of work.

NOTES

Six of the Bears’ seven runs on the day came with two outs.

The Bears are now 37-30-1 all-time against Nebraska.

The Bears are 24-10-1 all-time against the Huskers in Waco.

Head coach Steve Rodriguez is now 3-3 against Nebraska while at BU. 

JR INF Esteban Cardoza-Oquendo’s first hit of his Baylor career was the first hit of the day for the Bears. He eventually came around to score the Bears’ first run of the day.

Cardoza Oquendo had his first multi-hit day in a Baylor uniform, going 2-for-3 with 2 runs scored and 1 walk.

RS-SO Kyle Harper earned his first start of the year.

FR Tre Richardson made his second-straight start, hitting leadoff as the designated hitter.

FR CF Jared McKenzie had his third multi-hit game of the weekend, going 2-for-4 with 2 RBI and one run scored.

FR CF Jared McKenzie was 8-for-14 with 3 RBI, 2 doubles, 4 runs scored and 1 walk in his first collegiate series.

JR INF Nick Loftin delivered a two-run triple, his first three-bagger of the year.

CF McKenzie and INF Nick Loftin each had two RBI apiece on the day.

First baseman Chase Whesener boasts a career fielding percentage of 1.000, has yet to make an error in 433 chances over 56 career games.

FR LHP Evan Godwin made his collegiate debut and tossed 2.1 scoreless innings, striking out 2 and walking 2 while scattering 2 hits.

SR LHP Ryan Leckich made his 2020 debut and tossed 1.2 innings of flawless baseball, not allowing a hit or walk. He struck out 2 batters.

Leckich has now appeared in 58 career games, 54 of those out of the bullpen. 

Starting pitcher righty Hayden Kettler earned the win in his first outing of the season, allowing two runs on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts.

STAT OF THE DAY

5 – 5 of the Bears’ 7 runs on the day came with two outs.

QUOTES OF THE DAY FROM HEAD COACH STEVE RODRIGUEZ
On the mental fortitude of the team shown by this series…
“They did a great job adjusting. A lot of teams take a beating like we did on Friday and wear it the rest of the weekend, but our guys didn’t and I’m pretty proud of them.”

On getting guys in the games this weekend… 
“I want to make sure that they get those first time jitters out. Whether it is going to be in a pinch-run roll or a pinch-hit roll, going to defense, coming out of the pen. I mean we had chance to get a lot of guys in the game. I just wanted to make sure they got that out of their system and now they are able to go out and play without that nervous nature that a lot of kids have that first time out there.”

Hayden [Kettler]’s pitching…

“Coming off of injury like he did last year, really happy with the performance. …He created some depth with his pitches, has great movement on his fastball, just creating some options for him. …It was really nice to get him back on the mound for us.”

What makes freshmen Jared McKenzie and Tre Richardson so special…

“They’re just good athletes. They play baseball really well. They understand the intricacies of the game at such a young age. I’m really happy just watching how, some kids have stage fright and don’t want to swing or make mistakes, but I told them, I don’t care about mistakes. Just be aggressive and as long as I can see what they’re attempting to do, we’re going to be fine. They’re going to be fun to watch this year.”

WHAT'S NEXT

The Bears return to action on Tuesday, Feb. 18 as they host Arkansas-Pine Bluff. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. CT at Baylor Ballpark and will be streamed live on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.

Tags: Baseball
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