Baylor baseball stymies Dallas Baptist to collect 15th win

GROUNDING INTO TROUBLE Baylor third baseman Steven McLean prepares to throw a ball to first base during warm-ups in a game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Feb. 28 in Waco. The Bears won the game 17-3. McLean was 2-for-6 with two runs batted in. Photo credit: Liesje Powers

By Nathan Keil | Sports Writer

No. 10 Baylor baseball picked up its 15th win of the season with an impressive 4-1 road win at Dallas Baptist University in the first of two meetings with the Patriots this season.

The Bears pounded out 11 hits at the plate, while limiting Dallas Baptist to just five. Senior designated hitter Matt Menard led the Bears with three, and junior outfielders Kameron Esthay and Levi Gilcrease each had two hits.

Baylor got another strong pitching performance from redshirt junior pitcher Alex Phillips, going four innings and allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out four. Phillips earned his third of the season.

Baylor head coach Steve Rodriguez then used five relievers, including sophomore pitcher Kyle Hill, who ended Dallas Baptist’s bases-loaded threat in the seventh inning by inducing a routine groundout to third base.

Junior closer Troy Montemayor then came on to shut the doors for good on the Patriots, but not before surrendering his first run of the season on a pinch hit home run from sophomore catcher Garrett Wolforth. Montemayor did, however, earn his sixth save of the season in six tries.

Rodriguez said that the competition was tough, but was proud of his guys on the mound.

“This Dallas Baptist team is really well-coached, very offensive, especially in this ballpark,” Rodriguez said. “Our pitchers did a phenomenal job. I’m really proud of these guys. They’re out there competing, executing and getting things done. That’s what’s going to allow them to have success.”

The Bears’ bats got going early as they plated two in the first and one in the second. With two outs in the top of the first, freshman catcher Shea Langeliers kept the inning alive with a single to left field. Then on a 1-1 count, Patriots sophomore pitcher Coby Weaver left a hanging curveball over the middle of the plate that Menard hit well over the fence in left field for his first home run of the season.

Baylor got the job done once again with two outs in the top of the second. Freshman infielder Davis Wendzel walked and Gilcrease ripped a double to left center, bringing in the third run of the game for the Bears.

After a scoreless frame in the third, the Bears added one more insurance in the fourth. Baylor used two singles and a walk to load the bases with one out. Gilcrease then a hit a chopper back toward the pitcher that Weaver threw wide of second attempting to get an inning-ending double play. The Patriots were able to get the force at second, but an errant throw allowed Baylor’s fourth run to score.

The two teams will meet again at Baylor Ballpark with first pitch beginning at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday, but not before Baylor returns home for a weekend series beginning at 8 p.m. Friday against West Virginia to open Big 12 play.