By Ben Everett | Sports Writer
Baylor baseball fell to Sam Houston State 7-4 Tuesday night at Baylor Ballpark.
The Bears (20-13) had more hits in the game with nine than the Bearkats did with eight. However, Baylor failed to convert them to runs in the loss.
Junior pitcher Kyle Ott, usually utilized as a reliever, started on the mound for the Bears but struggled early.
Ott gave up a single and a double on the first two at-bats of the game, and both runners scored after a groundout and a sac-fly, giving the Bearkats a 2-0 lead.
The Baylor offense started strong with sophomore outfielder T.J. Raguse reaching first on a shot down the middle. Senior designated hitter Matt Menard‘s potential hit was snagged at the mound by Sam Houston State pitcher Dominic Robinson, who initiated the double play to retire both runners.
Ott allowed zero hits in the second inning before being replaced by freshman Alex Phillips in the third.
In the bottom of the third, sophomore second baseman Josh Bissonette reached second base on a single and a sac-bunt but was called out after Sam Houston State second baseman Lance Miles utilized the hidden ball trick to tag him.
Baylor head coach Steve Rodriguez walked out to the umpire to protest the call, but was unsuccessful.
In the bottom of the fourth, senior first baseman Aaron Dodson attempted to score on a double from freshman third baseman Davis Wendzel, but was stopped just short of home plate by Sam Houston State catcher Robie Rojas as the Bearkats preserved their 2-0 lead.
Junior reliever Joe Heineman came out to the mound to replace Phillips in the fifth.
The Bears failed to convert hits into runs once again in the fifth inning, this time with junior shortstop Tucker Cascadden on third and Raguse on first, Menard flew out to end the inning with Baylor still down 2-0.
In the bottom of the sixth, junior outfielder Kameron Esthay hit a single down the middle and Dodson followed it up with a double down the right field line to put a runner in scoring position. Esthay scored on a wild pitch to put the Bears on the board.
Wendzel walked at the next at-bat, and Dodson scored on a single from sophomore outfielder Richard Cunningham to tie the game at 2-2.
With two on base, Cascadden launched a pop-out to right field that was dropped when two Sam Houston State players ran into each other, scoring both runners to put the Bears up 4-2.
After the Bearkats put two on base in the seventh, Rodriguez put in sophomore reliever Kyle Hill to replace Heineman.
With the bases loaded, Hill walked the batter to drive in a run for the Bearkats and make it a 4-3 game. Hill proceeded to walk the next batter as the Bearkats tied the game at 4-4. Rodriguez replaced Hill with freshman pitcher Hayden Kettler.
Kettler managed one out but walked another batter to give Sam Houston State the 5-4 lead. Kettler then recorded a strikeout to end the inning with no further damage.
In the eighth, Sam Houston State’s Robie Rojas singled and scored on the next at-bat off a long single from Lance Miles to put the Bearkats up 6-4.
In the ninth, Rodriguez sent in senior reliever Drew Robertson. Robertson managed two outs before giving up a solo homer to Clayton Harp that put Sam Houston State up 7-4.
The Bears look to bounce back as they take on Texas in a weekend series. The first game is 6:35 p.m. Thursday at Baylor Ballpark.