By DJ Ramirez | Sports Writer
Baylor baseball defeated Sam Houston State 9-6 in a Tuesday night matchup at Baylor Ballpark.
Senior right fielder Cole Haring and junior left fielder Mack Mueller led Baylor at the plate. Haring went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs. Mueller was named player of the game after going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Junior third baseman Davis Wendzel had three RBIs and two hits on the night, including a major home run that ignited the Bears’ offense.
Junior MCC transfer Logan Freeman closed it out for Baylor in the eighth and ninth, making just his second appearance since starting the season off with an injury. The righty gave up two hits and a run but struck out a game-high five batters. The Buffalo, Texas native said that while it was a bit intimidating coming back in after the injury, he’s enjoyed doing his part in helping the team to victory.
“Coming off injury is always tough. I try to do everything to put myself in the best position to help this team out, whatever role that may be,” Freeman said. “I was a little timid at first, just being back out there, you know it’s a whole new level. You know, I enjoy it. I enjoy it a lot.”
Redshirt sophomore Jacob Ashkinos had the start and the win for the Bears, going four innings, striking out two, allowing only one run on six hits and walking one batter. He caused the Sam Houston batters to ground out twice, flyout eight times and allowed only one extra base hit. Junior righty Hayden Kettler threw the next two innings, allowing one run on four hits and struck out two.
The Bearkats struck first with a run in the top of the first when left fielder Colton Cowser tripled off the center field wall and then scored on a foul out.
Baylor answered in the home half of the inning with an RBI double by Wendzel to score sophomore shortstop Nick Loftin after he led off with a double himself. The Bears took the lead in the bottom of the second when Haring scored on a two out single by Mueller.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Bears’ bats came alive adding six runs to their lead, sparked by a two-run homer by Wendzel. The junior said he was expecting an off-speed pitch and when it came, he took a swing at it.
“I knew they like to throw a lot of off-speed and count leverage, so I had a feeling they were going to come up with a changeup, and [Bearkats reliever James Kuykendall] left it up over the middle of the plate and I got it enough to get it out of here,” Wendzel said.
Junior catcher Shea Langeliers doubled to left field and advanced to third when junior designated hitter Andy Thomas grounded out to the second baseman. Haring singled to left to drive in Langeliers then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Senior second baseman Josh Bissonette walked then advanced to third on a Mueller double that scored Haring. Then both Bissonette and Mueller made it home on an RBI double to left center off the bat of freshman first baseman Chase Wehsener.
Sam Houston second baseman Riley McKnight brought another run in for the Bearkats in the bottom of the sixth. Baylor responded in the bottom half of the inning when Haring drove in Thomas with a double to left center.
The Bearkats fought back with two solo homers in the seventh hit by designated hitter Jordan Cannon and first baseman Hunter Hearn. Third baseman Chase Cryer followed up with a double to score the catcher, Gavin Johnson. Freshman two-way player Brooks Helmer came in for sophomore lefty Tyler Thomas, who relieved Kettler on the mound at the beginning of the inning, to get the Bears back to the plate.
Baylor was scoreless for the rest of the night but Freeman held Sam Houston at bay to end the game.
Baylor will head up to Lubbock to continue conference play on Thursday. Wendzel noted that facing Sam Houston midweek was good preparation for the Texas Tech series this weekend.
“This is a really good ballclub, they have a bunch of arms that can come out and throw. Same thing with Texas Tech. Both teams can really hit. Both teams got good pitching, so it was good preparation,” Wendzel said.