Bears split weekend games, pick up series win against Memphis

Baylor freshman shortstop Nik Loftin awaits a pitch from a Lamar pitcher in the Bears 2-1 win on April 3. Jessica Hubble | Multimedia Editor

By Max Calderone | Sports Writer

For the first time all season, the Baylor baseball team picked up a three-game series win away from Baylor Ballpark.

By splitting games on Saturday and Sunday and combining that with a 12-8 win from Friday night, Baylor (17-17) won its first weekend series since March 16-18 against Texas Tech.

The Bears’ bats were silenced on Saturday thanks to 10 runners left on base. Memphis (12-25) junior starting pitcher Jonathan Bowlan notched his first win of the season, scattering seven Baylor hits across 6 1/3 innings pitched. Baylor sophomore lefty Cody Bradford matched Bowlan until he ran into trouble in the fifth inning, allowing four of his six total earned runs in the ballgame.

The Bears opened the scoring in the top of the second inning with an RBI single from junior second baseman Josh Bissonette, but left runners on base in each of the next three innings, leaving the door open for the Tigers.

Memphis cashed in on the opportunity, striking for seven runs between the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, pulling away from the Bears who were only able to tack on one more run in the top of the ninth, an RBI knock from senior outfielder Levi Gilcrease. Memphis took the second game of the series 7-2.

It was quite the opposite on Sunday when four Baylor pitchers combined to shutout the Tigers, allowing just two hits in the entire contest. The Bears got a fantastic start from freshman left-handed pitcher Tyler Thomas, who worked the first five innings, striking out four batters and giving up just one hit.

Baylor broke through at the plate in the top of the third inning when sophomore third baseman Davis Wendzel singled home junior left fielder T.J. Raguse, who had a career-high four hits in the ballgame.

Raguse drove in the second run for the Bears in the top of the fourth, singling in Bissonette who had previously doubled, and then came around to score himself on an RBI ground ball from Wendzel that made it 3-0.

Baylor added another run in the sixth as sophomore first baseman Andy Thomas got in on the action, singling up the middle to score redshirt junior designated hitter Richard Cunningham.

It was back to the Raguse and Wendzel show in the seventh inning as Raguse knocked in Bissonette with another single and Wendzel put one through the left side of the infield for two of his four total RBI and the Bears took a 7-0 lead to the late innings.

Junior right-hander Kyle Hill, senior reliever Joe Heineman and senior set-up man Drew Robertson combined for four scoreless innings of relief, totaling five strikeouts on the way to the Bears victory.

Baylor will return to Waco for a five-game homestand this week with mid-week games against Texas Southern at 6:35 p.m. on Tuesday and Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 6:35 p.m. on Wednesday before a big three-game series against TCU over the weekend.