Baseball outlasts Dallas Baptist in midweek game

Junior Alex Phillips pitches against Dallas Baptist.1 Photo credit: Penelope Shirey

By Ben Everett | Sports Writer

Baylor baseball defeated Dallas Baptist 8-6 Tuesday night at Baylor Ballpark.

The Bears (17-4) and Patriots (13-7) battled back and forth throughout the game, but an RBI [runs batted in] triple from Baylor senior first baseman Aaron Dodson made the difference as the Bears came out victorious.

Dodson said his mindset is no different in clutch situation than it is throughout the game.

“Next guy up,” Dodson said. “Our team did a great job scoring lots of runs and I was just a small piece of that. My time came up and I put a good swing in it.”

The Bears went to work early with sophomore second baseman Josh Bissonette dropping a single to left before freshman catcher Shea Langeliers smacked a triple to the outfield and drove in Bissonette.

With Langeliers already on third, junior right fielder Kameron Esthay grounded out to first but managed to drive in Langeliers to put the Bears up 2-0 after one frame of play.

In the second, the Bears filled the bases on a single from junior shortstop Tucker Cascadden and two walks as Dallas Baptist elected to make a pitching change. However, Patriots’ relief pitcher Kragan Kechely proceeded to walk Bissonette, scoring Cascadden to give the Bears a 3-0 lead.

Langeliers stepped up to the plate to deliver a single, and senior designated hitter did the same as the Bears scored two more runs to take a 5-0 lead at the end of two innings.

The Patriots’ offense came alive in the fourth inning as right fielder Austin Listi launched a two-run homer down centerfield to put DBU on the board and make it a 5-2 game. Designated hitter Ray Gaither followed it up with a solo home run of his own to bring the Patriots within two.

Baylor junior starting pitcher Alex Phillips stayed in for the top of the fifth but, after giving up two singles, was replaced by junior relief pitcher Joe Heineman.

Baylor head coach Steve Rodriguez says Phillips is a good pitcher he just needs to stop thinking so much.

“I’m really happy with what he’s doing,” Rodriguez said, “but sometimes he thinks about everything that’s going on and gets him in a bit of trouble.

Heineman immediately gave up a two-run homer to centerfielder James Hannah as the Patriots tied the game at 5-5. Heineman exited the game quickly after getting in as he allowed a single and a walk to load the bases. Sophomore relief pitcher Kyle Hill came in and struck out the next batter to bring out the Baylor offense.

The Bears loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth with two walks and a single, and Cascadden drove in a run off a pop fly to put the Bears back up 6-5.

In the top of the sixth, the Bears turned a 2-5-3-4-2-6 double play to prevent a run and keep the lead through six innings.

Listi came up big for the Patriots again, dropping in a single to centerfield to drive in a run and tie the game in the seventh.

Baylor responded in the bottom of the seventh. Esthay reached first on a hit to right, and Dodson launched a triple to centerfield to score Esthay and give the Bears a 7-6 lead.

Rodriguez said he’s happy to see Dodson succeed because of the work he has put in.

“He’s a senior,” Rodriguez said. “He’s really been working hard on his swing and I’m really happy for him because he’s having the chance to play everyday for us now. If anybody deserves it, he does.”

Baylor added to their lead with a single from freshman outfielder Davis Wendzel that drove in Dodson to give the Bears a two-run lead as they held on for the win.

The Bears look to win their first Big 12 series of the year as they host Oklahoma this weekend at Baylor Ballpark.