By Ben Everett | Sports Writer
Baylor baseball picked up a 17-5 win over Prairie View A&M Monday night at Baylor Ballpark.
The Bears (13-9) rebounded from a weekend series loss to Kansas in order to take down the Panthers (5-15) behind three hits and three RBIs from freshman catcher Shea Langeliers.
Junior second baseman Josh Bissonette said Baylor stayed loose and stepped to the plate confidently all night, resulting in the offensive outburst.
“Offensively we were just trying to stick to our approach and stay within ourselves,” Bissonette said. “And obviously, by the scoreboard, good things happened.”
Senior starting pitcher Alex Phillips got off to a rough start in the top of the first inning. The Panthers rattled off three straight singles before Phillips walked senior designated hitter Brashad Jones to put PVAM up 1-0.
An RBI single down the left field line by sophomore right fielder Xavier Jefferson put the Panthers up 2-0, but Phillips notched back-to-back strikeouts to stop the bleed.
PVAM starting pitcher Caleb Rozypal got two early outs in the bottom of the first, but struggled with the middle of the lineup. Junior designated hitter Richard Cunningham walked and advanced all the way to third on a throwing error by the catcher. Rozypal walked five straight batters, scoring three for the Bears to put Baylor up 3-2 before the Panthers made a pitching change.
Panthers’ freshman reliever Tracy Warren walked senior shortstop Tucker Cascadden and gave up an RBI single to freshman left fielder Nick Loftin as Baylor took a 5-2 lead to end a 39-minute first inning.
The Bears tacked on another run in the bottom of the second on a sacrifice fly from junior center fielder Cole Haring, after Warren walked three batters, giving Baylor a 6-2 lead.
With two on base, Jefferson notched his second RBI single of the game to make it 6-3 in the top of the third inning.
In the bottom of the third, Langeliers launched an RBI double into left field and Cunningham advanced home on a wild pitch to put the Bears up 8-3.
Sophomore reliever Ryan Leckich replaced Phillips in the fourth inning. Leckich gave up one run, but nothing more in the fourth in order to preserve Baylor’s lead at 8-4.
Cascadden roped an RBI double down the left field line and Cunningham hit an RBI double to left center, putting the Bears up 10-4 in the bottom of the fourth. Langeliers followed with a two-run homer as Baylor went up 12-4.
The runs kept on coming in the fourth inning with freshman right fielder Davion Downey picking up two RBIs on a double down the left field and Bissonette crushing a three-run homer to put Baylor up 17-4 at the end of four innings.
Sophomore reliever Luke Boyd checked in at the top of sixth inning, but gave up one run on two hits as the Panthers cut the lead to 17-5.
Senior reliever Joe Heineman replaced Boyd in the top of the seventh and recorded three strikeouts en route to back-to-back scoreless innings.
Freshman pitcher Jimmy Winston served as closer for Baylor, wrapping up a 17-5 win.
Phillips, who played in just his second game this season after having surgery on his right elbow, finished with three innings pitched, but gave up three runs and seven hits.
Head coach Steve Rodriguez said getting Phillips’ pitch count up as he settles back into form will be important moving forward.
“He did a good job going three innings for us,” Rodriguez said. “It was nice to see him go out there. We know we need to get his pitch count up, but now we know can put him out there for at least a couple innings in the future which is good.”
The Bears look to keep it rolling as they face Oklahoma in a weekend road series starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday in Norman, Okla.