By Jeffrey Swindoll
Baylor baseball beat Lamar University Wednesday night 3-2, but hits and runs were not easy to come by for the Bears. In Baylor’s upcoming weekend series against the No. 4 Cal-State Fullerton Titans (7-3), the lack of offense of late may be a problem against Fullerton’s elite pitching staff.
“It’s going to be really important for us to grind out every single at-bat and not take any pitch off,” sophomore first baseman Mitch Price said. “In a game like this against Fullerton, we know that all the smallest things that can happen are going to be most important because everything is magnified on big scale when you play a good team like them.”
Fullerton is known across the nation for its pitching depth. The series against a top five team will be a good test for the Bears (6-6) ahead of Big 12 play.
“I love playing against all these really good teams right now,” Price said. “It shows us where we are, and it prepares us for conference play. We’ll be battle tested whenever we get there.”
Against Lamar, the Bears posted three errors. Some were a result of the wet and chilly conditions at Baylor Ballpark on Wednesday. Regardless of what this weekend’s forecast shows, Price said the Bears’ infield defense will be a major point of focus against Fullerton.
“We need to make sure we’re cleaning the field, and playing a good game of catch out there this weekend,” Price said.
The Bears are undefeated at home this season with a 5-0 record. Baylor Ballpark is considered one of the top-tier Big 12 baseball stadiums, and Saturday’s game will mark 500 games played.
“It’s a nice place to play,” senior pitcher Brad Kuntz said. “I think a lot of the teams that have come here get caught up in the atmosphere and we take advantage of that. We’re comfortable here.”
Kuntz (1-0) will start for the Bears for his second time this season. He dominated in his first start this season against Austin Peay in a 15-1 rout. Today, Kuntz will be facing the Titans, who are on a five-game winning streak. The Bears had a rough weekend in San Diego, going winless against three teams, but Smith said the best is yet to come from his team. Notably with the team’s offense, Smith said the team is better than recent results may have shown.
“I think we will get better,” Smith said. “There’s some trial and error going on with us as coaches to get the right pieces in the right places. You’re going to see some things happen, and some games at the end of the year where you’ll look back and see that they were a little out of character. We either want to be winners or learners.”
The series will be on Fox Sports Southwest at 6:35 p.m. today, 3:05 p.m. Saturday and 1:05 p.m. Sunday.