After an eight-day layoff, Baylor was itching to pull its bats out of the rack and take some monster swings.
Shea Langeliers and T.J. Raguse blasted homers in the first two innings as the Bears collected 16 hits in a 15-2 blowout of Prairie View A&M on Tuesday night at Baylor Ballpark.
The Bears (28-17) need a strong finish to bolster their NCAA tournament chances. They’ll host Prairie View (18-34) again Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. before playing a three-game series against Oklahoma State Friday through Sunday in Stillwater.
“I like to play two games after finals just to make sure our timing is where it needs to be because we’re jumping right in and going on the road to play Oklahoma State,” said Baylor coach Steve Rodriguez. “I know they are excited their finals are over and they can focus on baseball the next couple of weeks. You could see the reaction tonight.”
Through the first four innings, the Bears built a 9-0 lead mostly on the strength of the long ball.
Following a Tyler Laux (0-7) walk to Raguse, Langeliers cranked a two-run homer over the left-field fence in the first inning. With his seventh homer of the season, he matched Aaron Dodson for the team lead.
“After eight days off you’re itching to play some more baseball, so it felt good to get out again,” Langeliers said. “Our coaches told us to treat it like any other game and come out swinging and play. I got an inside fastball and it was a good pitch to hit and I put my best swing on it.”
Baylor came out with hot bats again in the second inning. After Davis Wendzel opened the inning with a walk, Josh Bissonette followed with a single and Tucker Cascadden hit a run-scoring single.
Raguse delivered the big blow when he pounded a three-run homer over the right-field fence. His first homer of the season gave the Bears a 6-0 lead in the second inning.
“Hopefully, it broke the ice,” Raguse said. “It took a while but it’s always good to get one. I was just looking for something up to hit and I got a changeup high that he left hanging. I saw it and got excited and put a good swing on it, and thankfully it went out.”
The Bears kept pouring it on in the third inning when Bissonette ripped a two-run double to the left-field alley. Kameron Esthay’s run-scoring triple to right field pushed Baylor’s lead to 9-0 in the fourth inning.
With substitutes entering the game in the sixth, the Bears batted around and scored five more runs.
Pinch hitter Tucker Johnson opened the inning with a walk and Andy Thomas singled. Then came the flood as Esthay and Dodson hit a run-scoring singles and Wendzel drilled a two-run triple. Bissonette closed the inning’s scoring with a run-scoring single to stretch Baylor’s lead to 14-0.
Baylor went to a pitch by committee approach to give four pitchers some much needed work after the layoff. Cody Bradford (5-4), who often pitches the Sunday game in Big 12 play, allowed three hits and three walks in four innings to get the win.
The Bears had a shutout until Xavier Newman drilled a run-scoring double in the eighth off reliever Alex Phillips. Avery Williams followed with a run-scoring single.
“Our pitching was a little off,” Rodriguez said. “Cody’s timing and location weren’t where it has been. I’m glad we were able to get out here and do this to make sure he gets out of the cobwebs a little bit and gets back on the mound and gets back in the strike zone like he has been all year.”