Baylor Bears Fall Short At No. 4 Mississippi, 4-2
OXFORD, MISS. - For a second-straight match, the 19th-ranked Baylor men's tennis team played a top-five opponent close but came up short, dropping a 4-2 decision at No. 4 Mississippi on Thursday at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center.
"We feel like we just can't get over the hump," head coach Matt Knoll said. "We lost several matches in tiebreakers and if we had won any of those we feel like we would have won the match. It is disappointing we can't get over the hump, but we are still playing some good tennis."
In the past five days the Bears have now beaten No. 5 Kentucky, and dropped matches vs. No. 2 UCLA, No. 1 Virginia and No. 4 Mississippi.
Baylor (10-4) opened the match positively as Marko Krickovic and Diego Galeano delivered a quick 8-2 victory over William Kallberg and Adriaan du Toit at the No. 3 doubles position.
"Our No. 3 doubles team played a really good match," Knoll said. "We had some opportunities in the other doubles that we just weren't able to capitalize on."
However, the Bears the lost the No.1 doubles contest 8-6 as Tony Lupieri and Mate Zsiga failed in their upset bid of sixth-ranked Nik Scholtz and Jonas Lutjen.
As the Rebels tied the doubles point at one match apiece, the No. 2 doubles contest was moving into a match tiebreaker. In the end, Mississippi's 40th-ranked duo of Stefan Lindmark and Johan Backstrom got the better of Julian Lenz and Patrick Pradella, 9-8(3).
As a team, the Bears are now 11-3 in doubles points this season, but have lost the last two.
In singles action, the Rebels opened up a 2-0 lead with Adrian Skogeng beating Roberto Maytin, 6-1, 6-4 at the bottom of the lineup.
Baylor would respond quickly as Lupieri continued his hot play with a 6-3, 1-6, 6-0 upset of No. 99 Lindmark at the No. 3 position.
The 64th-ranked Pradella kept the momentum rolling for the Bears as he upset 13th-ranked Lutjen, 6-4, 7-6(3) at the No. 2 spot.
"Tony and Patrick are doing great," Knoll said. "I am really proud of their effort. We have got some spots that are becoming reliable and that is what you need."
From there the Baylor resurgence would be halted. Despite winning the first set, BU's 49th-ranked Lenz was unable to complete the upset over 14th-ranked Scholtz. The Rebel came back to claim a 2-6, 7-6(6), 6-2 win over the freshman Bear.
Soon afterwards, Backstrom downed the 97th-ranked Krickovic, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 at the No. 5 position to clinch the match for the Rebels, 4-2.
Zsiga's match at the No. 4 spot vs. Kallberg went unfinished.
With the win the Rebels improved to 11-2 on the season and 3-1 all-time vs. BU. Baylor will now return home for four matches, starting with Louisiana-Lafayette at 3 p.m. on March 21.
"It is early and we are going to keep grinding," Knoll said. "It will be great to be back home and get the body freshened up a little bit. We will then get ready for our two matches at the end of next week and look forward to what is ahead."
To stay up to date with the team all season follow @BaylorMTennis on Twitter.