By Matt Larsen
The No. 14 ranked Bears baseball team got it done with both bats and arms this past weekend against Louisiana Tech to sweep the Bulldogs in a four-game home series and build a six game win-streak with conference play just a week away.
Senior Chris Slater and junior Logan Verrett led the way and earned Big 12 Player of the Week and Pitcher of the Week honors, just the second time in the history of the program Baylor (11-5) players have garnered both honors in the same week.
Pitching led the way to a 6-2 win Sunday as sophomore starter Josh Turley threw his longest outing ever with a 7.1 inning stint in which he gave up the only two runs of the game. Turley kept all Louisiana Tech players from advancing past first until the Bulldogs managed their two runs in the seventh and eighth innings.
Junior catcher Josh Ludy led the efforts from the plate going 2 for 4 with three RBIs.
Saturday was anything but a pitchers’ duel as Baylor outscored Louisiana Tech 12-8. Slater made the greatest impact, managing three hits for the third straight game. Five of Slater’s teammates also pillaged the Bulldog pitching staff for multiple-hit games. Despite trailing 7-6 after the fourth, the Bears remained patient until knocking six runs home in the sixth inning.
“You just have to keep battling and pressing on, and that’s what we did today,” head coach Steve Smith said.
Friday was all about Verrett. The righty tossed a one-hit, complete game shutout to lead his squad to a 7-0 win. His 14 strikeouts tied a Baylor Ballpark record.
“This was probably the most comfortable I have felt out of any of the games I have played at Baylor,” Verrett said. “I had all four pitches working.”
Ludy and Slater each went 3 for 4.
The Bears blended solid pitching and hitting efforts to take an 8-4 win Thursday in the first game against Louisiana Tech. They got to Bulldog starter Trevor Petersen right away, putting up five runs in the first two innings. Slater caught fire with a three-hit, two-run, three-RBI game and sophomore Logan Vick added three hits, three runs and an RBI of his own. Meanwhile junior Tyler Bremer and sophomore Max Garner combined to give up just four hits and one earned run.
A week was not long enough for Baylor to forget the 13-2 pounding they took at the hands of Texas State in Waco on March 1. Last Tuesday they held the Bobcats scoreless through eight innings before putting a ninth-inning rally to rest for a 6-4 win in San Marcos.
“I thought it was a really good performance by a whole bunch of guys,” assistant head coach Mitch Thompson said. “That is as good of team win as you are going to see.”
Two weekends ago Baylor took two of three games at the Houston College Classic at Houston’s Minute Maid Park. The second win, last Sunday, came in historical fashion for the Bears.
Sophomore Max Muncy ended the Bears’ 10th-inning victory over No. 21 ranked Rice with a grand slam blasted over Minute Maid Park’s right field wall, the first Baylor walk-off home run since February 2007 against UT Arlington.
The game was Baylor’s last of the Houston College Classic. The Bears beat the University of Houston, 5-2, on Friday and fell to Utah, 4-3, on Saturday before edging Rice.
“Every player on this team, there’s nothing more they’d want than to have a situation like that,” Muncy said.