By Jeffrey Swindoll
No. 25 Baylor baseball extended its winning streak to three games after an 8-4 win at Baylor Ballpark Wednesday night against Northwestern State. Freshman pitcher Theron Kay started for the Bears, pitched five innings and allowed zero runs.
“Not a whole lot [was working], to be honest,” Kay said. “It was a little bit of a struggle. I had C-stuff today, but it was really nice have my defense behind me. They made some plays to get me out of some innings. The way they play just takes an immense pressure of pitcher, knowing that you’ve got guys can play behind you like that.”
Smith had nothing but praises for Kay in the postgame.
“[Kay] went 5 innings without having his best stuff which is impressive, particularly out of a freshman,” Smith said.
Good weather was hard to come by for Baylor in its past few games at Baylor Ballpark. Head coach Steve Smith linked the weather as a contributing factor to the Bears’ lack of offense in last week’s game against Dallas Baptist University.
Wednesday morning’s snow completely covered the diamond and outfield at Baylor Ballpark. By the time the afternoon came, temperatures dropped and the snow melted away, making for excellent weather conditions at Baylor Ballpark Wednesday evening.
The skies were clear, but it was far from a clean game for Northwestern State. Errors from NSU’s defense gifted the Bears some bases and Baylor’s offense capitalized on the opportunity.
Baylor had control of the game from the first inning thanks to a throwing error on a double steal plated senior outfielder Logan Brown, making it 1-0.
Freshman catcher Cameron Miller, who has been in place of injured senior catcher Matt Menard since the beginning of the season, was responsible for nearly half of Baylor’s total runs scored. Miller went 3-for-4 with three RBI doubles.
“[Miller’s] bat speaks for itself, and he works extremely hard behind the plate,” Smith said.
Miller’s first hit came in the fourth inning, bringing sophomore first baseman Aaron Dodson home to extend the lead to two runs. It looked much like a replay of the fourth inning when Miller cracked another RBI double to right center, batting in Dodson and freshman infielder Kameron Esthay to make it 5-0 for the Bears.
Junior shortstop Justin Arrington helped add to Baylor’s lead in the sixth inning after his single to center field saw freshman third baseman Jonathan Ducoff run in for the Bears’ sixth run of the evening. Just a few moments later, Esthay followed up Arrington’s RBI with a single to right field. Brown and Arrington scored on Esthay’s single thanks a throwing thanks to another throwing error from NSU.
Baylor dangled an 8-0 lead over Northwestern State in the seventh inning. The deficit proved to be insurmountable, but the Demons ended up cutting the lead in half in the seventh inning. Pitching changes from the Bears ended up costing them a couple runs. Freshman pitcher Kyle Ott quickly gave up two hits and a run. Senior pitcher Joe Kirkland replaced Ott and gave up two runs.
Senior closer Sean Spicer stepped on the mound for the ninth inning and successfully ended the game for the Bears.
The Bears take their first road trip this weekend with a series against Cal-State Fullerton with a doubleheader on Friday and the finale on Saturday.