WACO — Junior shortstop C.J Hinojosa hasn’t been the same since he fractured his hand against TCU on April 25.
Since that series, Hinojosa is two-for-10 and zero RBIs. But, Saturday, he broke out of that slump. With the Longhorns trailing 6-5 in the top of the ninth, Hinojosa turned on an 0-2 pitch, lifting it to center just past the outstretched hand of center fielder Logan Brown and over the wall for a home run — his second of the game — to tie the game.
Five pitches later, sophomore first baseman Tres Barrera drilled a solo shot onto the soccer field beyond the left field wall to give Texas a 6-5 win over Baylor.
“Coming back being down a run it’s good for our team,” Hinojosa said. “It shows character we have to not really worry about what’s going on and go out there and play our game.”
After not playing for almost two weeks, Texas (25-24, 10-12 Big 12) got a fast start out of the gate. Freshman designated hitter Joe Baker led off the game with a single then advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and wild pitch. Hinojosa put the Longhorns ahead a couple of pitches later with a single to left to score Baker.
After Baylor (20-29, 8-14) tied it on a solo home run, senior right fielder Collin Shaw and Hinojosa hit back-to-back home runs to put Texas back ahead 3-1.
But, in the fifth, the bats ran cold and the defense struggled.
Baylor led off the inning with two bunt singles and senior second baseman Brooks Marlow bobbled the ball to load the bases. Right fielder Adam Toth gave Baylor the lead with a single to right that scored three runs after Hinojosa struggled with the ball trying to tag Toth out at second.
Texas then committed two more errors trying to catch catcher Darren Sheppard stealing as Marlow missed the ball and center fielder Zane Gurwitz booted the ball to allow Sheppard to get to third. Sheppard then scored on an RBI single a batter later to take a 5-3 lead.
But the Longhorns’ rally then began in the eighth. With two outs and runners at first and second, Baker singled to left to score sophomore right fielder Jake McKenzie to cut the deficit to 5-4, setting up the comeback in the ninth.
Hinojosa, who nearly doubled his season home run total with his two shots, said the 13-day layoff helped them get back on track mentally.
“We came back with a clear head and started the season all over again basically,” Hinojosa said. “But we were ready to get back to work.”
Texas is locked into the Big 12 tournament, which the Longhorns will need to win to avoid missing the NCAA tournament for the third time in four years.
Texas and Baylor will finish off the series with a doubleheader on Sunday. The first game will start a 1 p.m. with the second scheduled for 5 p.m.