Baylor sophomore Jake Miller earned his first collegiate walk-off Sunday, giving Baylor a 5-4 win over Oral Roberts in 10 innings.
“For me it is the greatest feeling in the world. There is nothing like a walk off hit to win the series. I had struggled early in the series so I was just trying to look for a good pitch and drive the runner home,” Miller said.
Miller’s single down the right field line clinched the three-game series for the Bears, who fell to the Golden Eagles Friday night but beat them Saturday.
Freshman pitcher Trae Davis collected his second straight win by tossing Baylor’s final three innings. In 34 pitches across 10 batters, Davis held Oral Roberts to one hit and struck out a batter as well.
Davis’ performance put an exclamation point on the Bears’ pitching in the series. The Mexia High School graduate threw some of the fastest and slowest pitches Oral Roberts saw all weekend, using both effectively.
In the eighth inning with two outs and a runner on first, Davis blew away Bennett Pickar with a 93 mile per hour fastball. Pickar could not catch up to the pitch, swinging at strike three after seeing 70 mile per hour curveballs in the two prior pitches.
“I talked to coach Smith at the beginning of the season. He knew I was a fastball guy, but in order for me to really be able to contribute at this level, off-speed was going to have to get better,” Davis said.
Smith liked what he saw from his freshman hurler.
“I just loved the way he threw in the strike zone. He didn’t throw a lot of pitches and didn’t strike a lot of guys out,” Smith said.
Davis was in line for the win after the Bears tied the game in the seventh inning but could not take the lead. Junior Josh Ludy came through with a two-out single to right field to plate sophomores Max Muncy and Steve DalPorto and knot the game at four runs apiece.
In Oral Roberts’ half of the seventh, Brandon King pushed the Golden Eagles’ lead to 4-2 on a solo home run blasted over the right field wall.
It was the third of three runs conceded by junior Tyler Bremer. Bremer totaled three hits, two walks and three strikeouts in 3.0 innings.
“I think all of our guys, whether we understand why or not, weren’t as good as we’ve seen them, and weren’t as good as we’d hoped,” Smith said of his team’s collective pitching effort in the series. “So we just move on, and we go to the next time out, and see how things go.”
The Bears grabbed a short-lived lead in the sixth thanks to senior Chris Slater’s bases-loaded fielder’s choice that scored Muncy. But that was the only run Baylor could manage with the bases-loaded, no-out situation.
Oral Roberts broke a 2-2 tie in the fifth when King took advantage of junior Joey Hainsfurther’s passed ball to score and Chris Elder doubled down the right field line to bring in another run.
Baylor’s first run of the game came in the third inning, as Miller trotted home after a failed pickoff attempt bounced into foul territory.
Oral Roberts manufactured the game’s first run, bunting T.J. Bennett to third and scoring him on a groundout.
Baylor next faces TCU at 4 p.m. Tuesday, a rematch of last year’s NCAA tournament regional game in which the Horned Frogs eliminated the Bears with a 9-0 victory.