For the first time in program history, two Baylor players were selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Junior catcher Shea Langeliers (Atlanta Braves) was the ninth overall pick, while junior third baseman Davis Wendzel (Texas Rangers) was the 41st overall selection. Wendzel was taken in the Competitive Balance A portion of the first round.
Langeliers is Baylor’s second-highest MLB Draft selection behind only Stan Hilton, who was taken fifth overall by Oakland Athletics in 1983. He is the program’s first first-round pick since Aaron Miller (Los Angeles Dodgers) in 2009. Langeliers was the sixth-highest collegiate player and the second-highest catcher taken in this year’s draft.
Wendzel was a third-team All-America selection by Collegiate Baseball and was selected Big 12 Conference Co-Player of the Year by the league’s coaches. Senior pitcher Kyle Hill was named first-team All-America by Collegiate Baseball after going 6-0 with seven saves in 23 appearances. Hill did not allow a run all season, holding opposing batters to a .109 average over 29.1 innings.
Baylor earned an NCAA Tournament bid for the third consecutive year and 21st time in program history. The Bears were the second seed in the Los Angeles Regional, hosted by UCLA. Baylor defeated the University of Omaha, 24-6, in the regional. In that game, Langeliers established an NCAA Tournament record with 11 RBI, part of a three-homer game in which he was 5-for-6 at the plate.
Hill, Langeliers, Wendzel, senior Richard Cunningham, junior Andy Thomas and sophomore Nick Loftin all earned first-team All-Big 12 honors, giving the Bears a league-best six first-team honorees.
Second-seeded Baylor upset top-seeded Texas, 4-1, in the final match at the Big 12 Conference Men’s Tennis Championships, held April 21 at Jayhawk Tennis Center in Lawrence, Kansas. The Bears claimed the program’s ninth Big 12 tournament title and 22nd overall conference title in the league’s 23-year history.
Baylor claimed the doubles point thanks to wins from the duos of senior Johannes Schretter and junior Constantin Frantzen, and sophomore Matias Soto and senior Will Little. In singles play, sophomore Sven Lah won at the No. 5 spot, and Soto defeated the nation’s seventh-ranked player at the No. 2 spot. Freshman Adrian Boitan, who joined the program in January, closed the match with a 7-5, 6-4 win at the No. 3 spot.
Boitan was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, only the second freshman in the event’s 23-year history to claim the honor. Schretter and Soto were first-team All-Big 12 selections, while Boitan was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year.
The Bears were the sixth seed in the NCAA Tournament and hosted the first and second rounds, as well as the Super Regional. Baylor defeated Utah, Michigan and UCLA before falling to third-seeded and fourth-ranked Florida in the national quarterfinals. Lah and senior Jimmy Bendeck reached the national quarterfinals of the NCAA Doubles Tournament.
Clyde Hart, BBA ’56, concluded a legendary 56-year coaching career at the end of Baylor’s 2019 track and field season. He spent 42 years as the program’s head coach until 2005, when he became director of track and field and focused on work with the program’s 400-meter runners.
During his time with Baylor, Hart built the program into one of the nation’s most respected — one that came to be known as Quarter-Miler U due the Bears consistent and dominant success in 400-meter events. Hart coached 34 national champions and 566 All-Americans during his career, and his 400-meter relay teams earned All-America honors at 27 of the past 30 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
However, Hart’s legacy with the Baylor program far exceeds quarter-mile events. He coached the program’s first 60-foot shot-putter, first 26-foot long-jumper, first 7-foot high-jumper and first sub-4-minute miler.
Hart-coached athletes won gold medals in six consecutive Olympic Games from 1996 to 2012. Most notable were multiple-gold winners Michael Johnson and Jeremy Wariner, considered two of the great quarter-milers ever. Personally, Hart coached nine Olympians who collectively won 13 medals.
“I will miss the athletes, No. 1, and I will miss the coaches. That’s the hardest part for any coach when he leaves,” Hart said. “It’s that fraternity that you’re in. We preach family from the word go. That will never change.”