By Max Calderone | Sports Writer
Two runs were just enough for the Baylor baseball team as the Bears squeaked out a 2-1 victory over Lamar Tuesday night at Baylor Ballpark.
Baylor (14-13) came into the ballgame having lost five of its last seven contests, but was able to snap the cold streak behind a solid start from freshman lefty Tyler Thomas and five innings of scoreless relief from the bullpen.
Junior right-hander Kyle Hill gave the Bears three innings of relief, allowing just two hits and striking out three Lamar batters in his 11th appearance of the season. Sophomore left-handed pitcher Ryan Leckich got two outs before turning the ball over to All-American senior closer Troy Montemayor, who recorded his seventh save of the season.
Head coach Steve Rodriguez said he was pleased with the effort from the bullpen, especially after a heavy workload in the weekend series at Oklahoma.
“Our bullpen has been really worked, they need a little break,” Rodriguez said. “But I thought our bullpen did a great job in stepping up and really competing the way they did, being able to come through these past two days like they have, I’ve been really happy with it.”
Lamar (6-23) got on the board first, in the top of the fourth inning with three consecutive hits that all came with two outs. It was a single from sophomore center fielder Cole Girouard that brought home freshman designated hitter Logan LeJeune, putting the Cardinals ahead 1-0.
Lamar’s senior right-handed starting pitcher Jace Campbell breezed through the Bears’ lineup up until the sixth inning, when a dropped third strike and error on freshman catcher Rhett McCall allowed Baylor’s sophomore catcher Shea Langeliers to reach base with two away in the inning. Sophomore third baseman Davis Wendzel followed up with a sharp knock to center field and sophomore first baseman Andy Thomas walked to load the bases.
Freshman outfielder Davion Downey came up with the clutch hit, a two-out, two RBI double that scored Langeliers and Wendzel. The Bears left Thomas and Downey on base to end the inning after a strikeout by junior outfielder Cole Haring.
Downey said his hit was important for Baylor to get on the board and build some confidence heading into the later innings.
“Coming through with the bases loaded and hitting a double to put us up was just huge and got our momentum going from there,” Downey said.
The two runs was all the bullpen needed as Hill, Leckich and Montemayor gave up just one hit past the seventh inning on the way to a Bears win.
“Wins are always good. Sometimes you have to take advantage of someone else’s mistakes and that’s what we did tonight,” Rodriguez said. “Little things like that can really propel a team, and that’s what I’m hoping for.”
Baylor will head to Austin this weekend for a three game series against Texas. Game one between the Bears and the Longhorns will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, with game two scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday and the series finale set for 1:30 p.m. Sunday.