By Greg DeVries
The Baylor baseball team kicked off their season with a 3-2 win against the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles. Trent Blank earned the win for the Bears. Lars Liguori was charged with the loss for Oral Roberts, and Baylor’s Dillon Newman recorded the save.
“Anytime coach tells me to get up, ill be ready. And I’ll throw strikes and let the defense work. I just trust everybody on this team, it’s a great team,” Blank said after the game. “That was a lot of fun and I’m really glad we pulled that out. I hope the fans liked it. I’ll tell you this: we had a lot of fun.”
Josh Turley, the starting pitcher for the Bears, threw 4.2 innings and allowed 2 unearned runs. Both runs came in the 5th inning on an error that allowed ORU’s Brandon King to score. A Nate Goro single to center field scored Chris Williams later that inning.
In the 6th inning, catcher Josh Ludy singled to left-center. This allowed third basemen Cal Towey to score and cut the lead in half. In the 8th inning, Lars Liguori came in to pitch for the Golden Eagles. After walking Towey, throwing a wild pitch, and walking first baseman Max Muncy, Ludy hit a double down the right field line. Towey scored on the play.
After intentionally walking center fielder Logan Vick, freshman Michael Howard came to the plate to pinch-hit for his first at bat in his college career. Howard drew a walk to give the Bears the lead going into the 9th inning.
“Coming off of the bench, it’s tough, but [the coaches] do have a lot of trust and faith in us. I just did what I had to do,” Howard said. “I think ill remember this day for the rest of my life. Just to be able to say, ‘Hey, my first college at bat, I had a game winning RBI for our opening day.’”
“When you get your chances to play, you just play. God for Michael [Howard] that he was able to draw that walk,” head coach Steve Smith added. “My only words of wisdom were ‘have fun.’”
Sophomore Dillon Newman came in to close the game out. Newman forced King to fly out and then struck out the final two batters to end the game and give Baylor their first win of the season.
Baylor will square off against Oral Roberts again Saturday, February 18 at 2:05 p.m. at Baylor Ballpark. Because the Baylor men’s basketball game will end during the baseball game, a Kansas State basketball ticket will also work for admission into Baylor Ballpark.