Baseball breaks Lamar’s nation-leading win streak

Photo credit: Richard Hirst

Baylor baseball defeated Lamar 6-3 Wednesday night at Baylor Ballpark after overcoming an early deficit.

The Bears (17-16) trailed for most of the game, but a three-run seventh inning helped them snap the Cardinals’ (25-8) nation-leading 15 game winning streak.

“I was proud of the way they competed,” head coach Steve Rodriguez said. “Overall it was a pretty good offensive day for us.”

Baylor starter Nick Lewis struggled in the early going, giving up three hits in the first inning that resulted in a 2-0 lead for Lamar.

In the third inning, freshman shortstop Josh Bissonette made two impressive catches in the infield, helping to keep the Cardinal’s offense at bay.

“He’s doing a great job coming in as a freshman,” Rodriguez said of Bissonette, “being able to come into a Big 12 team and do what he’s doing is pretty impressive.”

For the first four innings, Baylor was unable to accumulate any offensive momentum, as Lamar held onto the lead going into the fifth inning.

Bissonette continued his solid defensive performance in the fifth, with a bullet pass to first base to tag the runner out. However, Lewis was unable to finish the Cardinal batters as Lamar tacked on another run to bring their lead to 3-0.

In the bottom of the fifth, Bisonette sparked the Baylor offense with a single to right field. Third basemen Steven McLean hit a single of his own, driving in Bissonette to put the Bears on the board.

Freshman Kyle Ott replaced Lewis on the mound to start the sixth inning. Lewis finished with five innings pitched while giving up four hits and three runs.

“Going through five, Nick did a great job for us,” Rodriguez said, “and the defense did a great job for us making plays.”

Baylor’s offense came alive in the bottom of the sixth. First baseman Aaron Dodson was walked, catcher Matt Menard recorded a double and designated hitter TJ Raguse and Bissonette each hit singles to score two runs and tie the game at 3-3.

Ott was solid for the Bears, recording a strikeout and holding Lamar scoreless in the sixth and seventh innings.

Baylor stayed hot in the bottom of the seventh, with right fielder Darryn Sheppard driving in a run with a single to give his team the lead.

Following a single by first baseman Aaron Dodson, Menard launched a double down the left field line, bringing in Sheppard and Dodson to put the Bears up 6-3.

“That’s just a testament to our energy,” Menard said of the scoring run, “someone’s stepping up every game and hitting is contagious.”

Baylor held on for the win behind stellar pitching from freshman Andrew McInvale and sophomore closer Troy Montemayor, who earned his Big 12 conference leading eighth save of the season.

The Bears will take on Oklahoma State this weekend in a three game series at Baylor Ballpark.