Baylor baseball dropped a home game to Sam Houston State Tuesday night at Baylor Ballpark.
The Bears (17-20) responded every time the Bearkats (23-16) scored throughout the game, but failed to respond in the bottom of the ninth when it mattered most.
“It was a lack of defense and timely errors,” Bears head coach Steve Rodriguez said, “but I think offensively we did a pretty decent job.”
Senior Austin Stone made just his second start of the season and his inexperience showed early. After a ground out and a strikeout, Stone needed just one more out to finish the first inning, but walked three batters and allowed a single as the Bearkats took a 1-0 lead.
After a left field double from Kameron Esthay, first baseman Aaron Dodson launched a triple to centerfield to drive in Esthay and tie the game 1-1 in the first inning.
Stone was replaced early as freshman Blake Allen took over for the Bears in the second inning. A long hit from Sam Houston State’s Andrew Fregia was canceled out when the Bears converted an 8-5-4 play to tag Fregia out at third.
Justin Arrington reached first on an error, and scored on a triple by Richard Cunningham to put Baylor up 2-1 in the second inning.
The Bearkats came out swinging in the third, notching three runs on four hits to take a 4-2 lead before Kody Hessemer came out to relieve Allen and attempt to put the game back in favor of the Bears.
Catcher Matt Menard was hit with a pitch to start the fourth inning for Baylor and designated hitter TJ Raguse hit a line drive to right field to drive in Menard and make it a 4-3 game. Josh Bissonette followed with a single to score Raguse and tie the game.
In the bottom of the fifth, outfielder Darryn Sheppard stepped up with two outs and hit a double to left field. Dodson was walked to put two runners on base, but Menard hit a pop fly to center field that was caught to end the inning.
After allowing a single in the sixth, Hessemer was replaced by sophomore Joe Heineman. Hessemer pitched two scoreless innings for the Bears.
“I was really happy with what he did,” Rodriguez said of Hessemer. “He did a great job against a bunch of tough lefties in their lineup.”
In the bottom of the seventh, Cunningham launched a solo home run to right field to give Baylor a 5-4 lead. Steven McLean followed with a single, but the Bearkats converted on a double play after a Sheppard hit to end the inning.
After pitching three scoreless innings, Heineman was replaced by closer Troy Montemayor in the top of the ninth with the Bears up one.
Montemayor allowed two singles, but recovered by getting two straight strikeouts. With two strikes, Sam Houston State’s Zach Smith grounded a shot infield, but an error by Arrington allowed Smith to reach base. On the next at bat, Clayton Harp doubled to drive in two runs and put the Bearkats up 6-5.
“The truth is he did the job,” Rodriguez said of Montemayor, “he was able to get the outs its just the defense didn’t play well behind him. Thats the frustrating part.”
The Bears were unable to muster any offense in the bottom of the ninth as the Bearkats picked up the victory.
Baylor looks to snap a four game losing streak as they hit the road to take on Kansas State in a three game road series this weekend.