In case you missed it: Baylor’s 2023-24 sports year in review

In case you missed it: Baylor’s 2023-24 sports year in review
Baylor’s acrobatics and No. 1 touchdown extended its winning streak to 38 straight meets, a mark that extends into 2021. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics.

Written by Michael Haag | Sports editor

Despite no Big 12 Championships for any program as of May 2, Baylor Athletics maintained their lead with another year filled with winning seasons. Here’s a quick look at the top sports moments of 2023-24, although the golf, softball, baseball and track and field teams are still competing.

Both Baylor cross country teams finish on the podium at the UIW Twilight

Baylor cross country opens its season with a pair of top-three podium finishes at the UIW Twilight meet on Sept. 1, 2023, at the Classics Elite Soccer Complex in San Antonio. Junior Hayden Gould led the Bears with a second-place finish individually, and the women’s team scored 33 points to win the 4,000-meter title. Graduate student Ryan Hodge took over the men’s team, and they reached the top 10 in seventh place, pushing Baylor into third place.

No. 18 Baylor volleyball tops No. 19 Ohio State in a five-set thriller

then no. 18 Baylor volleyball surpassed the then-number. 19 Ohio State in five sets on Sept. 15, 2023 at Ferrell Center. The Bears won 3-2 after winning the fifth set. The Buckeyes rallied from a two-set deficit but suffered their sixth straight loss. This was one of two seeded Baylor wins in regular season play.

Blake Shapen returns, leading Baylor to historic 36-35 win over UCF

Even though it faced a 28-point deficit midway through the third quarter, the Baylor football team wasn’t ready to stop playing. The Bears scored 29 unanswered points in the second half and defeated the UCF Knights 36-35 on September 30, 2023, at FBC Mortgage Stadium in Orlando, Florida. Redshirt sophomore kicker Isaiah Hankins drilled the game-winning 25-yard boot to complete the game The biggest comeback in the program’s history.

Merrill’s two-goal game lifts Baylor football over Houston in a 3-2 season finale

Led by senior midfielder Ashley Merrill in a two-goal game, Baylor football closed out the season strong with a 3-2 win over new Big 12 rival Houston on Oct. 23, 2023, at the Carl Lewis International Complex in Houston. The Bears clinched a spot in the 2023 Sprouts Farmers Market Big 12 Football Championship with a win. Merrill’s two goals put her season total at 11, the most by an individual player in a season since Dana Larsen in 2012. Baylor’s nine wins at that time of year were also the most since 2018.

Baylor College upsets No. 5 Georgia 11-9 in its spring home opener

Baylor Equestrian downed No. 5 Georgia 11-8 for its first win of the season on Jan. 27 at Willis Family Equestrian Center. The Bears (2-6) started out in control with a 5-0 sweep at Fences, where Lauren Reed, a sophomore vaulter, earned her second top performer award of the season to that point.

Scott Drew gets first-ever ejection as No. 18 Baylor men’s basketball tops No. 12 Iowa 70-68

In 704 career games at the helm, he wasn’t there then. 18. Baylor men’s basketball coach Scott Drew has never been fired. That changed in Game No. 705 as Drew earned his second technical foul for stepping out of the coach’s box and asking for clarification on an earlier call. The clarification he never received. despite of Expulsion, No. 18 Baylor men’s basketball escaped with a 70-68 win over then-No. 12 Iowa on February 3 in Foster Pavilion.

Baylor men’s tennis shows maturity, crushing No. 5 USC 4-0

The Baylor men’s tennis team made sure not to waste anyone’s time. The Bears — in front of a season-high 392 fans — made quick work of No. 5 USC by a score of 4-0 on Feb. 12 at Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center. For those who haven’t been inside the indoor facility, it’s difficult to fit in the 392 people in the fan section. Baylor (8-1) remains a perfect 6-0 at home with the win, which was the 16th top-10 win and eighth top-five under Woodson, who is in his fourth year leading the Bears.

No. 22 Baylor softball team returns to defeat No. 19 UCLA, No. 13 Missouri

then no. 22 Baylor softball topped then-No. 19 UC then no. 13 Missouri concludes the Mary Nutter Classic undefeated on February 25 in Cathedral City, Calif. The Bears came from behind in both games, and knocked off the Tigers in the second in the bottom of the seventh inning. Baylor joined then-No. 1 Oklahoma is the only undefeated state in the tournament. The Bears were 5-0 on the weekend, picking up three wins in the standings.

Mason Green handles the Baylor baseball team’s series win over No. 23 Texas Tech

Despite St. Patrick’s Day baseball dealing with weather delays, Baylor mustered a storm of its own. The Bears earned their first series win over a ranked opponent under coach Mitch Thompson after taking the final series over then-No. 23 Texas Tech 7-2 on March 17 at Baylor Ballpark.

Walker’s 28 leads No. 5 seed Baylor WBB to Sweet 16 in 75-72 win over No. 4 seed Virginia Tech

She may be the smallest player on the court at times, but 5-foot-7 junior guard Jada Walker made the biggest impact on March 24. Walker scored a career-high 28 points — highlighted by a game-winning layup and one in 19 seconds. To go — and No. 5 Baylor women’s basketball eluded No. 4 seed Virginia Tech 75-72 at Cassel Coliseum in Blacksburg, Virginia. Walker, a transfer from Kentucky, scored 26 of her 28 points in the second half to lead the team. The Bears (26-7) are in the Sweet 16 for the first time since the 2020-21 season, which was Kim MulkeyFinal year at the helm.

Baylor men’s golf course, cruising to Aggie Invitational title

Baylor men’s golf completed a dominant weekend at the Aggie Invitational on April 7, as the Bears scored a 14-over 878 at Traditions Club in Bryan. The win marks the 50th career championship title for coach Mike McGraw. Baylor outrebounded Texas A&M by six shots and finished 18 shots ahead of third-place Sam Houston.

No. 6 seed Baylor uses WTEN singles to defeat No. 11 seed WVU 4-2 in Big 12 Tournament

Women’s tennis No. 6 seed Baylor advanced to the first round of the Big 12 Tournament with a 4-2 win over No. 11 seed West Virginia on April 17 at the Greenwood Tennis Center in Stillwater, Okla. Dropped a doubles point to the Mountaineers (14-12) but used singles play to clinch the postseason win, which marked their second win in their last seven games to that point.

The Baylor women’s golf team closes out the Veritex Bank Texas Showdown in third place

Baylor women’s golf earned a third-place finish in the match play portion of the Veritex Bank Texas Showdown with a 2.5-2.5 tie against UCF on April 9 at Dallas Athletic Club in Dallas. Junior Seira Hasegawa won both of her matches, improving to 11-1 in her career in match play. The event served as a tune-up for the Bears ahead of their top-four finish in the Big 12 Championship on April 20.

Baylor Track and Field shines at the Michael Johnson Invitational despite the rainy weather

Baylor track and field had several victories through the shortened Michael Johnson Invitational, thanks to the harsh weather in Central Texas. The meet was paused at 4:17 p.m. and then canceled around 4:30 p.m. on April 20 at Clyde Hart Track and Field in Waco. But the Bears had six overall event wins and a team title before the bad weather set in.

No. 1 Baylor Acro & Tumbling beats No. 3 Gannon for ninth straight NCATA national championship

No. 1 Baylor’s acrobatics and fall captured its ninth straight NCATA national championship, defeating No. 3 Gannon by a score of 272.220 to 269.315 on April 27 at the Pfister Center in Fairmont, West Virginia. Felicia Mulkey She captured her 13th national championship and ninth championship with Baylor (11-0). The Bears also won the championship at the same venue as the first time they brought the hardware back to Waco in 2015.

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