WACO, Texas – Baylor baseball (0-1) was outdueled by Maryland (1-0) Friday night at Baylor Ballpark in a 4-0 display of quality pitching.
Both teams racked up double-digit strikeouts, but it was the Terrapins who were able to scratch across a few runs and steal the Opening Day victory.
UMD jumped on Baylor starter Tyler Thomas right away, scoring two in the top of the first behind an RBI triple and RBI groundout. That was all the senior lefty would allow, as he went six strong innings with a career-high matching nine punchouts, despite allowing two runs on four hits.
After Thomas struck out the side in the top of the fourth, the Bears offense flashed in the bottom of the frame as Jared McKenzie doubled off the left field wall. However, he was ultimately left stranded as part of BU’s six men left on base on the night.
Maryland starter Nick Dean continued to put up zeros through the seventh as BU went to its bullpen. Fourth-year sophomore righty Anderson Needham worked a scoreless inning before Grant Golomb and Hambleton Oliver each gave up a run in the eighth.
Trailing by four, Jack Pineda tried to spark the Bears with a one-out double in the bottom half, but back-to-back strikeouts squandered the threat. Baylor was held quiet in the ninth as reliever Noah Mrotek finished it off for the Terrapins.
• Baylor is now 64-36 in season openers and 76-26 in home openers.
• BU is 4-3 in both season and home openers under seventh-year head coach Steve Rodriguez.
• Baylor racked up 14 strikeouts as a team, the most in a single game since May 14, 2021 at Oklahoma State.
• Every pitcher that appeared for BU recorded at least one strikeout.
• Tyler Thomas matched his career high with nine punchouts.
• Anderson Needham made his first appearance since March 3, 2020, having missed all of 2021 due to injury.
• Jared McKenzie and Jack Pineda each extended his hit streak to four games, dating back to last season.
• Antonio Valdez reached base for the seventh-consecutive game, dating back to last season.
• Harrison Caley made his Baylor debut and notched his first hit as a Bear.
STAT OF THE GAME
14 – Baylor notched 14 strikeouts as a team, three more than Maryland’s total of 11.
Head coach Steve Rodriguez
On tonight’s game…
“The first game of the year is always something interesting because you’re always trying to get loose. We’ve been playing intrasquads pretty much all fall and spring, then all of a sudden you have to start making in-game adjustments. To be honest, everyone is trying to get that nervous energy out. You have to tip your hat to Nick Dean. He did a great job for Maryland of keeping hitters off balance. Tyler [Thomas] came back after two runs and does an unbelievable job keeping us in the game. We were one swing away a couple times from tying it up, but we just couldn’t manufacture those runs.”
Sophomore OF Jared McKenzie
On getting the season started…
“We came out here [in intrasquads] and kept seeing the same pitcher, so it’s good to finally get out, have an opponent and compete for something. I’m looking forward to the rest of this weekend.”
Senior LHP Tyler Thomas
On what was working for him tonight…
“We’ll call it the opening day jitters. First two batters I was pretty sporadic and got humbled really quick. I slowed down after that and locked in with Harrison [Caley] and Coach [Jon] Strauss and got the job done.”
Baylor and Maryland return to Baylor Ballpark for game two of the series at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 19.
For the latest news on the Baylor baseball team all season long, follow its official Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts: @BaylorBaseball.