Nick Loftin was lofting them, as a leadoff batter bringing some serious bang.
Loftin homered in each of his first two at-bats, leading off the first and third innings to spark Baylor to a 6-3 win over Abilene Christian on Wednesday night at Baylor Ballpark. It’s the first multi-homer game of the career of Loftin, who smacked six home runs in 2018 as a freshman.
Loftin started the game in style, jumping on Drew Hanson’s second pitch of the game and sending in skyward to the left-field scoreboard for his first home run of the season. He didn’t waste much time getting his second either – as Hanson (0-2) again left a ball up over the plate in the third inning, and Loftin made him pay, crushing another leadoff shot for a 2-0 Baylor lead.
On the other end, Baylor’s pitchers ensured that ACU’s hitters wouldn’t see anything nearly so good to hit. Making his first start since 2017, Luke Boyd opened with two perfect innings, striking out four. It was a scheduled short start for the Baylor right-hander, who normally works out of the bullpen. He picked up the win, his first of the year.
Boyd (1-0) set the tone, and his pitching mates followed. The Wildcats (9-8) didn’t get a baserunner until the fourth, and didn’t pick up their first hit until the fifth, when Koby Claborn led off the inning with a single.
ACU broke up the shutout in the sixth, when Dalton Dunn tagged a leadoff home run of his own off Baylor’s Jacob Ashkinos. Suddenly, the Wildcats were very much in the thick of things, trailing BU only 2-1.
The Bears (11-4) had an emphatic answer. They responded with a four-run bottom of the sixth, highlighted by an Andy Thomas RBI single, a two-run jack by Josh Bissonette, and an RBI double from Chase Wehsener.
ACU stole a couple of runs back in the eighth, when Claborn crushed the fifth home run of the game (combined, by both teams), a two-run job that made the score 6-3, Baylor. However, Baylor’s bullpen closed it out nicely, as Kyle Hill came on in the ninth and did the job. Hill gave up a one-out single, but nothing more in recording his second save of the season. Hill still owns a 0.00 ERA on the year.
Baylor will continue its current seven-game homestand this weekend, when it hosts Cal Poly in a three-game series.