By Jeffrey Swindoll
Coming off a huge road win at Kansas State this weekend, breaking a long losing streak away from home, the Bears returned to Baylor Ballpark with energy and confidence in game one of a split series with Texas State. Baylor took the first game 4-3 in a sloppy, 7-error outing.
After senior pitcher Austin Stone suffered an arm injury, Baylor head coach Steve Smith had to adjust his pitching rotation.
Sophomore pitcher Drew Tolson took over the mid-week slot with the start against Texas State.
“We’ve got a couple guys that are having some small injuries here and there,” Tolson said. “I think it was good for me to be able to get to go out there and get it done.”
Texas State responded to Baylor’s early run, turning contact with the ball into one run in the second and two runs in the third. Baylor coughed up a couple routine plays outside of Tolson’s control, giving Texas state the 3-2 lead.
“We had a few errors that inning, but we were able to get out of it,” Tolson said. “From then on, we just made plays and coasted and didn’t give up any more runs after that.”
Baylor’s defense gifted hits and runs early, those two unearned runs in the third inning would be the last for Texas State as they went through an offensive drought. Tolson locked down the fort, disallowing Texas State of any offense, throwing no hits in four-straight innings.
“We were really bad behind him, and he was able to limit the damage there,” Smith said. “Then after that, we played better behind him, he got some strikeouts.”
The Bears got the tying run on a bizarre play that saw junior outfielder Logan Brown round the bases by stealing second base, advancing to third on a wild pitch and ultimately touching home plate when Texas State’s catcher overthrew third base.
“We just stuck with our game. We knew we’d get a shot,” Brown said. “Every team makes a run so we knew we’d have our chance, and luckily we capitalized.”
Last week, Tolson threw a career-high five innings against Texas Southern, and eclipsed that total against Texas State with 7 innings on Tuesday. He finished the night with 6 strikeouts, allowed 4 hits and 3 runs.
“It was big for me to be able to get out there, and kind of extend so I can build up my confidence coming off my Tommy-John surgery,” Tolson said. “I got out of a problem in the third, and just kept going.”
With Tolson off the mound, Texas State finally got another in the eighth inning.
The Bears only led by one run at the time. Smith, took senior left-handed pitcher Doug Ashby out and opted to use senior closer Josh Michalec.
Michalec inherited Ashby’s batter on second, but cleaned up the frame with a strikeout, denying Texas State’s chance at the tying run.
Michalec continued his superb form in the ninth inning to seal the deal for the Bears once again. The Bears travel to San Marcos today for their series finale against Texas State.