By Jeffrey Swindoll
For Baylor baseball, it’s good to be home. Behind junior right-hander Kody Hessemer four shutout innings and freshman outfielder Kameron Esthay’s solo home run in the fourth, Baylor took a 8-6 victory over Lamar University at Baylor Ballpark on Tuesday.
The Bears scored all eight of their runs across the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Lamar left the Bears with enough to think about after smashing a three-run homer in the sixth inning, making it an 8-3 game after six innings.
“I thought we competed really well as a team,” senior outfielder Logan Brown said. “Pitchers did a really good job competing, and the hitters did a really good job competing. Overall, it was really good day for us. We seem to play better at home, so that’s always good.”
Hessemer (4-1) pitched five innings, allowing two runs and five hits before being replaced by freshman pitcher Troy Montemayor. The freshman pitched 3.1 innings and gave up the most runs (4) and hits (7) of any pitcher on the day.
“He doesn’t seem to be a guy that really needs a lot of a routine,” head coach Steve Smith said. “He threw in the game on Saturday up in Stillwater, and usually that will take the edge off a guy the next time you ask him to start, but for him it didn’t. He had a little life on his fastball today and good command on it. He was really able to throw his breaking ball for strikes and eat up some innings for us.”
Baylor carried a comfortable 8-4 lead going into the ninth, but Lamar nearly drew even as a couple mistakes put the Bears in tough spot. Lamar made it an 8-6 game with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth. It was up to senior pitcher Joe Kirkland to make the difference for the Bears.
Though it took him some time and sweat, but Kirkland earned his first career save after coming in for relief in the ninth inning. Kirkland threw two strikeouts and allowed three hits in his last inning effort for the Bears.
Baylor’s heavy hitters had a big day on Tuesday. Senior outfielder Logan Brown led the Bears, hitting 3-4 with two RBI and a double to show for it.
“I was seeing it pretty well, felt pretty good today,” Brown said. “I decided to take some swings and it worked out.”
Esthay posted two RBI in addition to his solo home run in the fourth. Freshman catcher Cameron Miller also finished with two RBI and a double.
The Bears are fighting for their lives in the Big 12 Conference standings. The Big 12 Conference tournament has eight spots for the nine teams in the conference. The Bears have never failed to make the conference tournament since the conference’s inception in 1994.
“A bunch of us in the Big 12 are in that spot,” Smith said. “Nobody wants to be that team that doesn’t get into our conference. At this point in this season, that’s kind of what several of us are playing for, and I know that’s what we’re playing for.”
The Bears have an opportunity to get ahead on the league’s other bottom-dweller as they host Kansas at Baylor Ballpark this weekend.
“I don’t think this wants to be that team in Baylor history or that team in the Big 12 that doesn’t make it,” Smith said.