In his baseball team's biggest series of the season to this point, Colin Ahearn had a night to remember.
The Baylor junior belted a home run in each game of Wednesday's doubleheader against Memphis University School, driving in nine total RBIs, and allowed just two hits to earn the pitching win in the nightcap.
The Red Raiders swept MUS, 5-4 and 12-1, to earn a return trip to next week's Division II-AA state tournament, where they will look to repeat as champions.
"We knew going in that we needed to get these two games today and not let it come down to one game to decide if we went back to Murfreesboro," said Ahearn, who has committed to the University of Tennessee and is a Mr. Baseball finalist. "The last week we've been working really hard in batting practice, and that paid off."
Ahearn gave Baylor a 5-0 first-inning lead in the first game when he blasted the first pitch he saw over the wall in right-center field for a grand slam. The Red Raiders (24-6) held off a late rally by the Owls as senior Greyson Linderman scattered four hits and struck out nine for the win and Gage Johnson came on in the fifth and closed things out for the save.
After giving up a lead-off homer to the Owls' Maurice Hampton, an LSU signee and one of the nation's top prospects, Ahearn allowed just one hit over the next four innings. He also jump-started the offense once again with a two-run homer in the second, putting Baylor ahead to stay.
The Red Raiders added a solo homer from sophomore shortstop Danny Corona and another by Gehrig Ebel later. Cooper Kinney also had a two-run double as part of a seven-run fourth, and Baylor totaled 11 hits.
"In a three-game series, getting that first one is really key," Baylor coach Greg Elie said. "Winning that one allowed our guys to just go out and play. Our offense doesn't press, even if we're behind. The guys just wait and look for something to drive, and they're confident that we'll have a big inning at some point and put up some crooked numbers.
"Colin had himself a night. He's so fun to watch, and he showed why he's a Mr. Baseball finalist tonight."