Baseball falls to Sam Houston State in back-and-forth battle

Baylor junior Davis Wendzel sets up for a swing against Dallas Baptist on Feb. 26 at Baylor Ballpark. Shae Koharski | Multimedia Journalist

By DJ Ramirez | Sports Writer

Baylor baseball dropped a close game 8-7 to Sam Houston State in Huntsville on its first regular season road trip.

Head coach Steve Rodriguez said he was happy with effort the team has been showing.

“I thought we did a great job competing and literally getting ourselves into a couple situations where we had one swing of the bat, one contact play and we’ve got a tie game or a go-ahead run,” Rodriguez said. “I’m really happy with the resolve in this team and the ability to come back and continue fighting. Our guys are playing hard and that’s all I can ask for.”

Junior catcher Shea Langeliers led the Bears, going 2-for-3 with an RBI, a double and his first triple of the season. He reached base on all five of his plate appearances, having been walked, hit by a pitch and reaching on an error.

Junior infielder Andy Thomas made his first start of the season at first base and extended his hitting streak to six games.

Baylor took a one run lead in the top of the first thanks to a couple of defensive errors by Sam Houston. Sophomore shortstop Nick Loftin reached first on a fielding error by the first baseman Hunter Heam, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by senior center fielder Richard Cunningham and reached third on a wild pitch. Thomas was walked to put runners on the corners and an error by the shortstop Diego Davila allowed Langeliers to reach first and score Loftin.

Junior pitcher Luke Boyd started for Baylor and threw two scoreless allowing only one hit and walking one but managing to end the inning with a line out double play.

First year right-hander Ryan Segner took over in the third and unfortunately for the freshman, the Bearkats came out swinging, scoring four runs on three hits.

But the Bears responded with two runs in the fourth. Langeliers, sophomore right fielder Davion Downey and senior left fielder Cole Haring were walked to start the inning and then senior second baseman Josh Bissonette grounded into a double play, allowing Langeliers to score and leaving Downey at third. Redshirt sophomore Ryan Bertelsman, pinch hitting for senior designated hitter T.J. Raguse, singled to center field to bring in Downey and put Baylor within one run of their opponent.

A home run by Cunningham tied to start off the fifth tied the game.

Redshirt sophomore Jacob Ashkinos came out of the bullpen in the fourth to record three scoreless innings and struck out four while only allowing one hit. Junior lefty Ryan Leckich took over in the seventh.

Sam Houston broke the tie with three runs in the bottom of the seventh. Third baseman Reese Johnson was sent in to pinch run for starting infielder Chase Cryer and advanced to second on a sac bunt. He then scored on a throwing error by Thomas. Left fielder Colton Cowser singled to drive in pinch hitter Eric Bohnert who had been hit by a pitch. Bearkats second baseman Riley McKnight, who had reached on a fielder’s choice throw, advanced to third on Cowser’s hit and then stole home.

Baylor wasn’t going to go down without a fight. Thomas singled to leadoff the inning and was driven in by Langeliers who tripled and scored on a sac fly by Downey. Haring followed with a single to shortstop, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Bissonette was walked to put runners on the corners. Loftin then delivered a two-out single to bring on Haring and tie the game at seven.

Redshirt sophomore reliever Daniel Caruso took the mound in the eighth but after allowing a triple was replaced by senior closer Kyle Hill. The Bearkats took a one run lead with an RBI groundout.

The Bears attempted to rally in the ninth with a two out double off the bat of Langeliers but were not able to make the comeback.

Baylor will return to Waco to open up conference play against the West Virginia Mountaineers at 6:35 p.m. on Friday where they will commemorate the Bears’ 2018 Big 12 Championship Tournament title.