Baylor western seats advance as team competition begins

By Molly Atchison | Print Managing Editor

The National Collegiate Equestrian Association Championship kicked off Wednesday at the Extraco Event Center in Waco, and Baylor set a consistent pace in the individual portion of the two-day competition. Both of the western teams are sending members to the quarterfinals on Friday. Baylor will not send any individual riders on in the flat and fencing events. The team now turns to focus to team events Thursday in hopes of following up their individual successes.

With 16 schools attending the event, the Extraco Event center was filled with students and parents as the individuals made the most of their riding time. Baylor came away with a 2-1 win in the morning against UT Martin in reining. Junior western Abbi Demel and sophomore western Georgia Smith both scored points in the round, senior western Charlotte Green won the round in a draw.

However, the hunt seat competitors fell in the morning fences competition, losing 2-2 to South Carolina. When there is a draw, the judges look at raw scores from each competitor, and Baylor’s highest score of 630 was not enough to beat South Carolina’s 637. Senior Abby Jorgensen and sophomore Madison Day both brought points to the table, but it just wasn’t enough to compete with the South Carolina.

The competition heated up in the afternoon, with the horsemanship team pulling ahead to take a 3-1 win over South Carolina. Demel, Green and junior hunt seat Kennedy Mellott all won points to sweep South Carolina under the rug. Although the wins for the western team were significant, the flats team lost their afternoon show 2-1 to SMU, although freshman hunt seat Rachel Davis and senior hunt seat Rachel Van Allen both brought points to the table.

Tune into the the Baylor Equestrian homepage to keep up with the scores and the event times.

Source: The Baylor Lariat

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Baseball blasts Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 14-4

Story by Ben Everett | Sports Writer, Video by Elisabeth Tharp | Broadcast Reporter

Baylor baseball picked up its third straight win with a 14-4 drubbing of Arkansas-Pine Bluff Wednesday night at Baylor Ballpark.

The Bears (19-17, 3-9) have now won five of their last six games after going 3-9 in a 12-game stretch to end March.

Baylor head coach Steve Rodriguez said ups and downs come naturally during baseball season.

“Being able to keep up the intensity, keep up the energy,” Rodriguez said. “Making sure our guys understand that its a long season. As long as they continue to want to improve and get better at this game, I like where we’re gonna be.”

Junior designated hitter Richard Cunningham led the way with a 3-for-5 night with three runs and four RBIs.

Sophomore pitcher Ryan Leckich made his second start of the season, and got off to a hot start with two strikeouts in a scoreless first inning.

In the bottom of the first, freshman shortstop Nick Loftin walked and Cunningham singled to advance Loftin to third base. Loftin made it home on a wild pitch to give Baylor a 1-0 lead.

A sacrifice fly from sophomore first baseman Shea Langeliers drove in Cunningham to extend Baylor’s lead to 2-0 at the end of the first inning.

The Golden Lions got on the board in the top of the second with senior center fielder Sergio Esparza knocking in a double and subsequently scoring on back-to-back groundouts to first to make it a 2-1 game.

After junior second baseman Josh Bissonette and junior left fielder T.J. Raguse each walked, Cunningham stepped to the plate and delivered a three-run homer to give the Bears a 5-1 lead in the bottom of the second inning.

Later in the inning, sophomore third baseman Davis Wendzel followed with his own home run and freshman right fielder Davion Downey and junior center fielder Cole Haring each notched RBI singles to give Baylor an 8-1 edge.

With runners on first and second, Bissonette stepped up for his second at-bat of the inning and launched a double to left field, scoring Downey and Haring to extend the Bears’ lead to 10-1.

Leckich said his job is easier when the Bears’ offense is as effective as it was on Wednesday.

“You love seeing the offense work behind you,” Leckich said. “You can go out there and relax and just pound the zone and the defense will work behind you.”

After three straight scoreless innings for both teams, Leckich was replaced with sophomore pitcher Luke Boyd in the top of the sixth inning. Leckich finished with one hit and one run surrendered in five innings pitched with a career-high seven strikeouts.

Rodriguez said Leckich’s performance earned him more playing time than they expected.

“Sometimes some of these kids just need a little extra time out there,” Rodriguez said. “We didn’t expect for him to be out there that long, but we’re happy he kept his pitch count down for us and he went five innings and did a good job for us.”

In the top of the seventh, the Golden Lions had runners on first and third with just one out, but Boyd came up with a clutch strikeout and Downey ran down a foul ball to keep the score at 10-1.

The Bears padded their lead in the bottom of the seventh with Raguse and Cunningham each picking up RBI singles to make it 12-1. Sophomore catcher Andy Thomas dropped in an RBI double down the right field line to extend the lead to 14-1.

Freshman pitcher Collin Garrett took the mound in the top of the eighth, making just his third appearance of the season, but was quickly replaced by junior pitcher Collin Sharp after giving up three walks to load the bases.

Sharp surrendered two singles and a sacrifice fly before the Bears’ defense picked up the final out on an outfield throw to home plate as Baylor held a 14-4 lead.

Loftin moved from shortstop to pitcher in the ninth inning to close things out for the Bears and seal a 14-4 win.

Baylor hosts TCU in a weekend series starting at 6:35 p.m. Friday at Baylor Ballpark.

Source: The Baylor Lariat

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Softball shuts out Texas to snap losing streak

By Ben Everett | Sports Writer

No. 21-ranked Baylor softball picked up a 3-0 win over Texas Tuesday night in Austin to snap a four game losing streak.

The Lady Bears (26-13, 4-6) handed the Longhorns (26-16, 9-1) their first Big 12 loss behind a shutout performance from junior pitcher Gia Rodoni.

Senior center fielder Jessie Scroggins went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and senior catcher Carlee Wallace contributed two hits as well.

In the top of the first inning, junior left fielder Kyla Walker notched an infield single and advanced to second on a groundout by Wallace, but was left stranded after a fly out.

Rodoni finished off the first frame with a strikeout and two groundouts, retiring Texas’ batters to keep the score tied at zero.

The Lady Bears used the top of the second inning to build a lead. Sophomore second baseman Nicky Dawson reached first on a fielder’s choice, sophomore shortstop Taylor Ellis singled and freshman designated player Hannah Smith walked to load the bases for Baylor.

Sophomore right fielder Maddison Kettler notched an RBI groundout to score Dawson and give Baylor a 1-0 lead. Scroggins stepped to the plate and delivered a two-run single to score Ellis and Smith and give the Lady Bears a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning.

In the bottom of the second, Rodoni struck out two batters and surrendered only a fielder’s choice, preserving Baylor’s 3-0 lead.

Wallace picked up a single in the top of the third and reached second on a steal, but nothing more for the Lady Bears in the third frame.

Rodoni gave up her first hit of the game in the bottom of the third, but another strikeout, a pop-up and a groundout resulted in no runs for the Longhorns.

The two teams combined for no hits in a well-pitched fourth inning as the Lady Bears held on to a 3-0 lead.

In the top of the fifth, Scroggins put herself in scoring position with a single and advance to third on a pair of groundballs, but another groundout left her stranded and ended the inning for the Lady Bears.

After picking up two outs to start the bottom of the fifth, Rodoni gave up back-to-back singles before forcing a fly out to finish the fifth.

Sophomore third baseman Goose McGlaun made it to second on an error and a sac bunt, but the Lady Bears were unable to bring her home.

After a scoreless frame for Rodoni in the bottom of the sixth, Baylor looked to pad its lead in the seventh with Wallace and senior first baseman Shelby Friudenberg notching singles to put two on. With two outs already on the board, McGlaun grounded out to the shortstop to send it to the bottom of the seventh.

Rodoni came up with two clutch strikeouts in the final inning to secure a 3-0 win for the Lady Bears.

Rodoni moved to 15-9 on the season, pitching all seven innings with eight strikeouts while giving up just three hits and no runs.

Texas starting pitcher Paige von Sprecken also went the full seven innings, but surrendered eight hits and three runs to move to 10-7 on the season.

Baylor has won three straight and six of their last seven games against Texas to move to 20-29 all-time against the Longhorns after starting 14-28. The Lady Bears are now 8-1 against teams from the state of Texas during the 2018 season.

With two hits on the day, Scroggins now has 252 career hits, just one behind Lindsey Cargill for most in program history. Scroggins notched her 75th career multi-hit game and 21st of the season, as well as her seventh multi-RBI game of the season and 19th of her career.

Baylor looks to keep the momentum going as they face Kansas in a home series starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Getterman Stadium.

Source: The Baylor Lariat

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Don’t Feed The Bears: Mount Rushmore of Modern Sports

This week on Don’t Feed The Bears, Max Calderone and Kris Beasley play another round of Fill In The Blank and debate who should be on the Mount Rushmore of modern-day sports.

Source: The Baylor Lariat

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Happy Diadeloso!

Today marks Baylor’s annual celebration of all things Bear, Diadeloso! For many of you, Tuesday might seem sacrilegious for Dia festivities, given Dia has traditionally been celebrated on a Thursday until recently.

Diadeloso which literally means “The Day of the Bear” started in 1932. It was meant to raise student morale by giving them a day off from the onslaught of classes. This day off was popularized when the Chamber of Commerce reogranized it in 1935. However, this wasn’t when the name Diadeloso was settled on. The celebration began as All University Day, became Physical Fitness Day, then May Day, before being voted as Diadeloso by the students in 1966.

There are many activities and festivities going on and around campus, including a showing of Star Wars: The Last Jedi last night in McLane Stadium. Today, there are food trucks, animals, competitions, and live performers on and near campus. A full list of on campus activities can be found here.

No matter if you are a current student or an alumni, I hope your Dia is a good one. Sic ‘Em Osos!

Source: Our Daily Bears

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Recruiting Update: Tyrone Brown Picks Baylor over Texas A&M, Houston

Tyrone Brown, an OLB out of Humble, TX’s Atascocita, committed to Baylor this morning, making him the 4th Baylor commit of the 2019 class.

Brown is listed at 6-3, 205 pounds, giving him impressive size for a high school OLB. He could become another integral part of the growing Rhule/Snow defense, with perhaps a potential future at Safety.

Brown received an offer from Baylor on March 20th. This was followed by an offer from Houston on March 24th and an offer from Texas A&M on April 14th. Brown selected Baylor over both instate rivials, even though 247Sports was predicting a 75% of him selecting Texas A&M.

247Sports lists Brown as a 3 star OLB. You can view his highlight reel here:

You’ll notice a few things about Brown. First, he is a great open field tackler, shutting down ball carriers in one-on-one situations. Second, he hits pretty hard. Given his size, he packs a lot of punch and has good tackling form. Finally, the video opens up with him playing receiver. This certainly has to help his understanding of pass coverages defensively that are essential for an OLB or potential Safety.

Sic ‘Em Tyrone!

Source: The Baylor Lariat

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Why Davion Mitchell Could be Baylor’s Next Great Point Guard

His ability to get to the rim is special

The Bears landed their point guard of the future last week with the commitment of Auburn transfer Davion Mitchell. The 6-foot-1 former top 60 recruit will sit for one year and then have three years of eligibility.

We’ll take a look at Mitchell’s strengths, turn to his weaknesses and close with thoughts on his career arc.

Strengths:

Mitchell has excellent burst. He used that skill to get to the rim and into the lane to find teammates at Auburn. He has an advanced ability to switch hands and maintain his top speed:

The Bears struggled last season in late shot-clock offense and with isolation scoring. If a team snuffed out Baylor’s first or second option, then the team often failed to create late.

Luckily, Mitchell is a superb isolation scorer. His ability to go either left or right will force the back of the defense to keep an extra eye on him. And if they don’t, welcome to disaster:

The data backs up Mitchell being a monster at getting to the hoop and making shots. He’s over 10% better than any Baylor point guard at making shots near the rim, since hoop-math data going back to the 2011-2012 season. With how well Baylor does at offensive rebounding, teams will be left with a difficult choice: either let Mitchell go up at the rim against a guard or provide help and deal with rebounding against Baylor’s big men. He’s been scoring well at the rim since his high school days:

Baylor runs a ton of high pick-and-rolls, which serves Mitchell well. He has two big advantages in that sequence. First, his quick acceleration and deceleration makes him a problem. If defenses either switch a big man on him or mess up their coverage, then surrendering is not a shameful decision:

Most importantly, Mitchell can pass quickly and seamlessly in the pick-and-roll. Baylor’s played smaller point guards and guys who sometimes need a second to fire passes. That’s led a bevy of defenses to hard hedge against Baylor (the clip below is against an “ice” defense, but the skills he displays are helpful against teams that hard hedge too). And without top end speed or size, the Bears haven’t been able to pass well enough against that defense when running simple two man high pick-and-rolls. But as Jarrod Dyson used to say, “that’s what speed do:”

Finally, Mitchell has the potential to be a very good defender. His steal rate was a decent 1.7%, but it was 2.1% against KenPom’s tier A opponents, which are the toughest games. Mitchell is so fast and has quick hands. He reacts well and seems to be a half-step ahead on defense. The Bears will count on him to jump out quickly and run shooters off the 3-point line. He should do that well.

Weaknesses:

There are three things that stick out as concerns with his game: low assist rate, too many turnovers and inconsistent 3-point shooting. We’ll tackle those in that order.

Mitchell’s assist rate was just 18.4%, which is the lower than any Baylor point guard since 2012. But that number—like most things you read on the internet—requires context. Mitchell played off the ball, so he wasn’t given a ton of opportunities to assist. But he still was top 20 in the SEC in assist rate. If the Bears can surround him with shooters, he’ll find them in transition:

I’m confident Mitchell is going to assist and help teammates score. He’s too fast and can fire the ball so well. He’s not going to be Baylor’s best passer, but he’s going to be pretty, pretty, pretty good:

The second problem is a very real concern. Mitchell turns it over way too much. The Bears have been terrible at not turning it over on offense, so this remains a glaring worry. Two things stand out to me. First, his handle can sometimes get a little loose. I think this is quite correctable. His dribble is normally fairly tight, and he has superb instincts. With another year to get ready to run the show, Mitchell should have the dribbling skills to avoid catastrophic ball-handling turnovers.

The real issue with Mitchell’s turnovers is that he can misread the defense. In this clip, Auburn ends up overloading the strong side. That leaves no space to make the pass. Mitchell should have avoided driving with so much time on the clock and no spacing. But making this pass turned a quagmire into a defeat:

Mitchell has to not force the action. Too many platitudes can make life complicated. Most rules and tendencies are actually “it depend” and not absolutes. And few of us mess up just one way. Sometimes Mitchell drove when he should have passed. Sometimes he passed when he should have drove:

Give Mitchell spacing and time, and there’s plenty of hope that he can stop turning it over so much. There’s a big jump from the EBYL high school league to the SEC. Pierre Jackson can run an offense surrounded by Quincy Miller, Quincy Acy, Perry Jones and Brady Heslip with a 26% turnover rate. Mitchell can’t. The Bears—like all of us in life—will count on better decision-making as he gets older.

Finally, Mitchell’s 3-point shooting needs to improve. He hit just 29% of his shots last season. He hit 43% and 41% of his shots in his last two high school seasons, so maybe last year is just a small sample size.

But I think Mitchell’s problem is that his form can be inconsistent. He often gets his feet wider than shoulder length apart:

The rest of Mitchell’s shot looks pretty good. He has a slight dip, which is true for nearly every basketball player. He keeps his arms in a fluid motion and doesn’t have any other extraneous action. When his lower body doesn’t throw off anything, he’s ready to drill shots:

Mitchell can also make looks off the dribble. There’s a lot to like in his form. But he has to stay focused on keeping a consistent form. When he shoots like he does on his free throws, with a narrower base, his shot looks much better. Mix in that speed with how quickly he can release it, and the ceiling is the roof:

Conclusion:

Mitchell has plenty of skills that could make him Baylor’s next great point guard. He’s so fast and has the ability to get to the rim that is unprecedented at Baylor. Eventually the best offense has an ugly moment where a man has to create something. Mitchell can do that.

There are real limitations that Mitchell has to correct. If he can’t get his shooting up or limit his turnovers, then the Bears are going to end up needing a dominant defense to have any hope of a deep NCAA Tournament run in the Mitchell era.

But Mitchell has shown enough to make the Bears hopeful they have a future star headed to Waco. If he can get close to his high school 3-point accuracy and pick his spots better, then Mitchell will finish his career in the debate as Baylor’s best point guard ever.

Source: Our Daily Bears

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No. 25 women’s tennis finishes with perfect weekend

By Bailey Brammer | Editor-in-Chief

The No. 25 Baylor women’s tennis team completed its second doubleheader of the weekend with two more wins on Sunday, resulting in the team going 4-0 after its first pair of wins on Friday against Louisiana Tech and West Virginia.

The team took down Iowa State 6-1 first on Sunday, then finished the weekend by sweeping UT-Arlington 4-0 and notching their fifth-straight win.

“It was a really good weekend,” said women’s tennis head coach Joey Scrivano. “We had a lot of competitive matches and it gave our team an opportunity to play a lot of tennis and find a rhythm. We’re playing really well right now.”

Senior Theresa Van Zyl was in the spotlight this weekend, as it was her Senior Night and one of the last times she’ll suit up as a Bear on her home court. Van Zyl dominated on court one against Iowa State earlier in the day with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 win, and then later against UT-Arlington when her game was cut short at 5-3 because of an injury.

Scrivano said Van Zyl will be missed, and that she’s left a legacy of consistency, positivity and durability.

“Theresa has been such a consistent competitor and great teammate,” Scrivano said. “She’s always been available. Any time her number is called, she’s there to play. I can count on one hand how many practices she’s missed, and she’s played every match we’ve needed her to play. We just want her to finish out this last chapter in a really good way and make sure that whatever her goals are for the end of the season, we achieve them.”

In the first match on Sunday, the Bears lost the doubles point to Iowa State before coming back and beating the Cyclones in the singles match-ups.

Freshman Giorgia Testa took down Iowa State’s Karen Alvarez 6-2, 6-0 on court six, and soon after, sophomore Camilla Abbate downed Regina Espindola, 6-2, 6-2.

The Bears continued to take down Iowa State with wins from freshman Kristina Sorokolet and sophomores Dominika Sujova and Jessica Hinojosa, finishing the first match of the day 6-1.

Carrying on toward their perfect weekend, the women swept UT-Arlington 4-0 to send Van Zyl out in style.

This time, the Bears were able to take the doubles point as the pairings of sophomore Angelina Shakhraichuk and Sujova, and Van Zyl and Hinojosa both notched respective victories of 6-1 and 6-2.

Shakhraichuk and Abbate finished the match for the Bears with two more wins on courts four and two, giving the team their fifth-straight win, and fourth win in three days.

The women will look to continue that momentum and finish their regular season with a win this weekend against the University of Texas at 5 p.m. Friday in Austin.

Source: The Baylor Lariat

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Women’s tennis collects Friday sweep at Hurd Tennis Center

By Branson Hardcastle | Broadcast Reporter

The 25th ranked Baylor Women’s Tennis team hosted a doubleheader Friday with Louisiana Tech and West Virginia.

In the first match of the day, Baylor jumped out to an early lead over the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters in doubles play. Freshmen Livia Kraus and Giorgia Testa downed Karla De La Luz and Andrea Perez-Lopez, 6-2 on court one.

In the No. 2 doubles slot, the 80th ranked doubles tandem of sophomore Jessica Hinojosa and freshman Kristina Sorokolet clinched the doubles point for the Bears with a 6-2 win over Nadja Manjon and Angela Lorenzo.

With the momentum heading into singles competition, Baylor continued to dominate the court. Testa was the first to capitalize on the momentum with a quick 6-0, 6-1 win over Claudia Oravcova at the No. 4 singles spot.

“Today was a really good day for me. I was very confident in singles and doubles. It was a great day,” Testa said. “I am really proud to be a part of this team.”

Sophomore Camilla Abbate also put on a dominating performance on court two, defeating Louisiana Tech’s De La Luz 6-1, 6-0, to put the Bears up 3-0.

On court five, freshman Dominika Sujova put on a stellar performance. With Baylor leading 3-0, Sujova clinched the match by defeating Perez-Lopez in straight sets 6-3, 6-1.

The Bears and Lady Techsters decided to play the matches out on courts one and six. Baylor’s Hinojosa was able to capture the 5th point of the match on court one with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Manjon. Freshman Katelyn Parker fell to Paulina Cota 7-5, 6-0 on court six, giving Louisiana Tech its lone point of the match.

In the second match, the Bears welcomed Big 12 foe West Virginia for its seventh conference matchup this season. Baylor got off to a hot start once again as it snagged doubles wins on courts one and two.

Hinojosa and Sorokolet defeated the duo of Sofia Duran and Christina Jordan, 6-1 at the No. 1 spot. Testa and Abbate clinched the doubles point with a 6-2 victory on court two over Giovanna Caputo.

Hinojosa kept the momentum alive for the Bears in singles play on court two. Hinojosa defeated West Virginia’s Anne-Sophie Courteau, 6-1, 6-3 to give Baylor a 2-0 lead.

Soon after, Krause was able to increase the lead by taking down Paula Goetz at the No. 4 spot. Krause cruised by Goetz in straight sets 6-1, 6-1, notching her 22 win this season.

All eyes turned to court five where sophomore Angelina Shakhraichuk faced off against Sofia Duran with the opportunity to clinch the match. Shakhraichuk served the ball for match point and Duran was not able to return it as the ball sailed wide giving Shakhraichuk a 6-4, 6-2 win.

Head coach Joey Scrivano said he was proud of the team and the way they played today.

“It was a long day and our players persevered. Our focus was really good from the start of the first match to the through this West Virginia match, so I’m really proud of their effort and focus. It was just a good day,” Scrivano said.

With the Bears 4-0 victory over the Mountaineers, Baylor is on a three-match win streak. The Bears will continue their homestand when they face Iowa State at 1 p.m. and UT-Arlington at 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Source: The Baylor Lariat

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Spring Game Sail/Tailgate Food Open Thread

With the spring game coming this next weekend, it’s a perfect time to get the grills ready and talk about what your favorite tailgating dishes and beverages are, what your secrets are, and all around what makes your tailgate special!

For me, I’m a fairly straightforward tailgater. I take my small charcoal grill and get some brats going on it. Then I put them in the HEB bakery fresh hoagie buns, throw some mustard on it, maybe get some grilled onions and peppers going, and voila! I usually add some chips or baked beans to the side and maybe pick up a dessert like a cookie cake. Throw in some Dr. Peppers and adult beverages and I’ve got the fuel I need to watch some Baylor football.

What are your favorite tailgating foods? Any tips or tricks you have? I’ve seen tailgates that are far more elaborate than mine. Let us know in the comments!

Source: The Baylor Lariat

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