Baseball cruises to rubber match win over Cal Poly

Baylor sophomore outfielder Davion Downey sets up for a swing against Cornell on Feb. 22 at Baylor Ballpark. Shae Koharski | Multimedia Journalist

By DJ Ramirez | Sports Writer

Baylor baseball went 2-1 against the Cal Poly Mustangs this weekend with a 14-3 win on Sunday afternoon. The Bears had a hard time getting hits in the first two games of the series but came out with blazing bats, getting 21 hits in the rubber match.

Head coach Steve Rodriguez said he was happy with how aggressive the team was being at the plate.

“I was really happy with the aggressiveness that we took. Some days you can start to be over selective and I was just really happy with how they went out and they got good pitches to hit and they laid good swings on things,” Rodriguez said.

Sunday seems to be Andy Thomas’s day, as the junior infielder went 5-for-5 with one single and four doubles, one of which was an RBI. He also had an RBI double on Friday night and two doubles last Sunday in Baylor’s 10-3 win over Nebraska.

After missing out the first few games this season due to mono, Thomas said he’s feeling healthy, seeing the ball well and getting his timing back.

“I feel pretty healthy right now. It wasn’t so much getting through the mono, it was getting my timing back from the mono,” Thomas said. “I’m a timing hitter, so there’s a lot of guys who pick up their foot and put it down, but I need a lot of timing work, so just takes a little bit of at-bats. It was tough at the beginning, but once you get the timing back, it’s nice.”

The Bears had three homers on the day off the bats of junior third baseman Davis Wendzel, senior left fielder Cole Haring and sophomore shortstop Nick Loftin.

Sophomore lefty Tyler Thomas started the Sunday game with a 1-2-3 first, shutting down the Mustangs outfielders with two strikeouts and a flyout. The Bears came out swinging in the bottom of the frame, with Wendzel singling down the middle and Andy Thomas following up with a double down the right field line, but they were left stranded on a flyout.

The Mustangs struck first with a two-out RBI single from catcher Myles Emmerson in the top of the second. Cal Poly first baseman Tate Samuelson singled, advanced to second when DiCarlo was walked and then was driven to third on a sacrifice bunt.

Tyler Thomas’s outing ended after two innings. He allowed two hits and one earned run, as well as walking one and striking out three. Freshman righty Blake Helton took the mound in the third. Helton started off the third by allowing a single and walking one. Runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Beesley but Helton managed a popup and a flyout to get out of the inning.

Rodriguez said he thought Tyler Thomas had a good outing but they didn’t want to force anything out of him.

“He had a good outing. We didn’t want to just leave him out there and kind of force a bad outing for him or our team, so he went out there and he did what we wanted him to do,” Rodriguez said. “We brought in Helton and some other guys out of the bullpen, and the biggest thing is we just have to figure that out and if we have to piece it together like that then we will.”

The Bears got on the board in the bottom of the third when Wendzel drove in sophomore shortstop Nick Loftin, who’d been hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a balk. Wendzel then advanced to third on another double by Andy Thomas, this time down the left field line. Baylor took the lead with a two-RBI single off the bat of sophomore right fielder Davion Downey. Senior left fielder Cole Haring added to the Bears’ breakout inning with a two-run bomb.

With that five run, four hit half-inning Mustangs starter Darren Nelson saw his 0.78 ERA rise to 2.45 and was replaced by sophomore Matt Arens.

But Baylor wasn’t done getting to Cal Poly’s pitching staff. After back-to-back singles by Loftin and senior center fielder Richard Cunningham, Wendzel came in determined to hit one out of the park. He hit two foul balls into Betty Lou Mays soccer field that were very close to being called fair and finally got a two-run homer over left field to put the Bears up 8-1 in the fourth.

After a scoreless fifth and a double play to end the top of the sixth, Loftin got in on the home run action with a leadoff solo shot over left field.

Thomas then drove in Cunningham with his fourth double of the day and scored the Bears’ 11th run on an RBI single by junior backstop Shea Langeliers. After a double by Downey, senior second baseman Josh Bissonette hit a two-RBI triple into right field. Sophomore first baseman Chase Wehsener drove in Bissonette to give Baylor a 13-run lead.

Helton was relieved by Caruso in the seventh after pitching four innings and allowing only two hits but no runs. Caruso pitched a scoreless, hitless seventh with only one walk before freshman righty Anderson Needham took over for a scoreless eighth. Loftin moved to the mound from shortstop to close out the game, giving the Cal Poly a glimmer of hope with two runs in the ninth, but managing to shut them down with a strikeout and two flyouts.

Baylor will head to Huntsville for a midweek game against Sam Houston State before retuning to Baylor Ballpark to open up conference play against West Virginia on Friday.