By Chris Derrett
More late-inning struggles plagued Baylor baseball on Saturday, as the Bears fell to Kansas State, 6-3. The three-game weekend series is now tied at one game apiece.
Freshman Trae Davis took the loss after surrendering a two-run, eighth inning homer over the right field fence to Jason King. The Mexia native entered with the game tied at three, did not record an out and gave up his ninth run in his last 4.1 innings. He dropped to 3-1 on the season.
Sophomore Crayton Bare and Tyler Bremer finished the eighth inning, one in which the Wildcats took advantage of three walks and a hit batter to score three runs on just two hits.
Still searching for more reliability from his relievers, coach Steve Smith said he knows his bullpen has the ability to throw strikes.
“I made a decision after last night’s game that today would be Trae. That didn’t work,” Smith said.
Baylor’s loss spoiled a solid day from junior starting pitcher Josh Turley, who went seven innings, allowing three runs on 10 hits. Turley’s effort lessened his ERA to 4.17 on the season.
Although Kansas State did strike several times, it was never able to pounce on Turley for more than one run in any given inning.
“As a pitcher, to limit the damage in those kinds of innings is the best thing you can do. They’re going to have innings where they score a couple of runs. It’s just a matter of how you handle it, I think,” Turley said.
While the Wildcats scored early, Baylor knew it was just a matter of time before the Bears’ bats fought back at Kansas State starting pitcher Matt Applegate. The breakthrough finally came in a three-run sixth.
Senior Chris Slater started the sixth doubling down the left field line. Slater reached third on sophomore Max Muncy’s infield single and scored the Bears’ first run when junior Josh Ludy singled through the left side.
After a Joey Hainsfurther sacrifice bunt moved Muncy to third and Ludy second, Applegate was pulled. Like Turley, he would receive a no decision.
Kansas State reliever Tyler Sturges’ wild pitch allowed Muncy to scored, and sophomore Jake Miller slapped a single up the middle that tied the game at three runs.
“With us, if we’re up 10 or down 10, we’re still going to put up as many numbers as we can, especially with five walk-off hits [this season],” Miller said.
Kansas State’s Ross Kivett drove in the game’s first run on an infield single, one of four the Wildcats had on Saturday. Kivett grabbed his second of three RBI with a single in the fourth, and the Wildcats later took a 3-0 lead on Nick Martini’s sacrifice fly.
Baylor and Kansas State take the field at 12:30 p.m. Sunday for the series’ rubber match.