Bears salvage weekend series, pick up needed win in Frisco

Junior outfielder Richard Cunningham starts his swing and delivers a base hit against Houston Baptist. Jessica Hubble | Multimedia Editor

By Max Calderone | Sports Writer

The Baylor (4-5) baseball team broke out of its offensive slump Sunday with a 6-1 win over Louisiana Tech (7-5) to end the 2018 Frisco College Classic.

Baylor snapped a three-game losing streak and avoided being swept on the weekend series that featured games against California (6-4) and No. 9 Texas A&M (11-1).

Head coach Steve Rodriguez said he enjoyed the atmosphere of the tournament and felt his team is headed in the right direction moving forward.

“Being able to come here and get a win against three amazing teams was really good,” Rodriguez said. “We kind of scuffled in the first game, then we played well last night [against Texas A&M] and then we found ourselves on the winning end of a game today against a really good team. It’s games like these that can propel you into a lot of wins.”

The Bears were held hitless until the fourth inning when sophomore third baseman Davis Wendzel ripped a single to left field. Baylor wasn’t able to move him around the bases though, as back-to-back flyouts by sophomore first baseman Andy Thomas and freshman left fielder Nick Loftin ended the inning.

Freshman lefty Tyler Thomas made his first career start for the Bears, posting 3 2/3 innings before handing the ball off to junior right-hander Kyle Hill. Thomas racked up five strikeouts without allowing a run.

Louisiana Tech struck first as tournament MVP Tanner Huddleston drove in his seventh run of the weekend, scoring senior shortstop Dalton Skelton to put the Bulldogs up 1-0. The junior third baseman Huddleston was one of four Louisiana Tech players named to the 2018 Frisco College Classic All-Tournament Team.

Baylor broke through in the fifth after a leadoff single by junior second baseman Josh Bissonette sparked a three-run rally. Bunts by junior outfielder Richard Cunningham and senior shortstop Tucker Cascadden resulted in two errors by the Bulldogs that allowed Bissonette to score.

Junior outfielder Cole Haring then drove home both Cunningham and Cascadden with a single into the right-center gap that put Baylor ahead 3-1.

Haring said his team battled all weekend, but the difference in today’s ballgame was getting timely hits.

“These last few games, we’ve definitely left a lot of people on base,” Haring said. “Today, we just got hits with guys in scoring position so that was the difference.”

The Bears added two more in the sixth inning thanks to an RBI double by Cunningham that scored Loftin. Cunningham came around to score on another RBI knock by Haring who had three runs batted in on the day.

Baylor loaded the bases to open the seventh inning, but only came away with one run after a sacrifice fly by Bissonette brought in sophomore catcher Shea Langeliers and put the Bears up 6-1. Langeliers was the only Baylor player named to the All-Tournament Team after going 4-12 with an RBI over the weekend.

Senior right-handed setup man Drew Robertson struck out two Bulldogs in a scoreless top half of the eighth and the Bears threatened to score again in the bottom of the inning, but left the bases loaded after an Andy Thomas groundout.

Baylor’s All-American senior closer Troy Montemayor made his first appearance of the weekend to pitch the ninth. He induced two quick groundouts before walking a Louisiana Tech batter, but got junior catcher Chris Clayton to pop out to end the ballgame.

The Bears will take on UT Arlington at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Globe Life Park in Arlington before heading back home for a seven-game homestand in Waco.