Just two games in, it’s already been a heck of a weekend for Matt Heck.
The Houston Baptist junior pitched and clubbed the Huskies to a 5-2 win over Baylor on Saturday at Baylor Ballpark, evening the teams’ series at a game apiece. Heck not only picked up the win for HBU on the mound, tallying a scoreless inning out of the bullpen, but he also led the Huskies at the plate, going 2-for-5 with a pair of runs scored.
Heck was also the only HBU player to notch a hit off Baylor starter Cody Bradford in the Bears’ 1-0 series-opening win on Friday.
Baylor (1-1) took a 1-0 lead after two innings of Saturday’s game thanks to a bomb off the bat of Andy Thomas. The sophomore slugger led off the bottom of the second by connecting off HBU starter Matthew McCollough, sending the ball sailing over the fence in right-center for a 386-foot solo blast.
Transitioning to a starter role after serving as Baylor’s setup man last year, Kyle Hill opened the game with three scoreless innings. But in the fourth Houston Baptist (1-1) tied the game at 1 when Heck tagged a leadoff single and then Jake Pulcheon followed with a walk. Heck eventually scored on an RBI groundout from Brady Batten.
The score stayed knotted until the eighth, when HBU broke through against Baylor sophomore reliever Luke Boyd (0-1). Again, the inning began with a Heck single. Heck advanced to second on a Pulcheon hit-by-pitch and moved to third on a balk by Boyd.
Following a groundout, Baylor turned to Drew Robertson to spell Boyd. But the Huskies moved ahead when Batten knocked a sac fly to right, then went up 3-1 on Tyler Clark’s pinch-hit single up the middle.
The Huskies extended their lead to 5-1 in the ninth, erupting for three hits off Robertson. The Bears answered with three hits of their own in the bottom of the ninth, consecutive singles from Davis Wendzel, Thomas and Cole Haring. That helped BU cut HBU’s lead to 5-2, but the rally stalled there, as HBU’s JT Newton retired Tucker Johnson on a groundout for the final out.
Hill was solid in his first start of the year for the Bears, giving up only two hits and one run in five innings. He struck out four and walked four.
Wendzel went 3-for-4 to top the Bears at the plate, while Thomas had two hits, including the solo homer. Baylor actually outhit HBU, 8-7, but the Bears were partially undone by three errors.
Four newcomers made their debuts in the game for Baylor – Davion Downey, Nick Loftin, Tyler Thomas and Jimmy Winston.
“We really wanted to be able to get some young guys in there just to kind of play, so they understand and get that nervous energy out,” Baylor coach Steve Rodriguez said.
The rubber match in the series is set for 1:05 p.m. Sunday at Baylor Ballpark. Sophomore right-hander Hayden Kettler will get the starting nod for the Bears, while the Huskies will counter with junior right-hander Daniel Endsley.