Caley deals, Baylor baseball controls Tarleton 8-2

Sophomore left-handed pitcher Cam Caley pitched a season-high, five-inning day with a career-tying five punch-outs to help Baylor baseball beat Tarleton on May 3 at Baylor Ballpark. Grace Everett | Photographer

By Michael Haag | Sports Writer

Five innings of hitless action with only one allowed through the sixth is one way to ensure success for your team, and that’s what sophomore left-handed pitcher Cam Caley dealt.

“Today I was really just focusing on hitting my spots,” Caley said. “While being a little bit tired, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to throw max effort throughout the whole game. I was just focusing on throwing it where I was supposed to.”

The Woodlands native’s sharp work on the mound paired with offensive execution was all Baylor baseball needed in its 8-2 shelling of Tarleton State University Tuesday evening at Baylor Ballpark. Caley finished his season-high, five-inning day with a career-tying five punch-outs, only giving up one earned run on one hit and four walks.

Senior infielder Esteban Cardoza-Oquendo went 2-for-4 at the plate with a couple RBIs to help ignite the solid team hitting day.

“[I’ve] definitely been putting in some hours with the coaches trying to work on some things,” Cardoza-Oquendo said. “I think it all comes back down to timing and just trying to put a good swing on the ball.”

The Bears (23-22, 5-13 Big 12) scored eight runs on eight hits, and sophomore righty Grant Golomb stepped in for three innings of stellar relief, hurling a career-high five strikeouts and only allowing one Texans’ (13-31, 6-15 WAC) hit in that span.

“When you have Cam going the distance that he did and only giving up one hit and a run, and then Grant coming in and doing a really good job, you can’t help but be happy,” head coach Steve Rodriguez said. “They were aggressive in the zone and anybody can get really good hits when you’re behind in a count. Tarleton is a really good hitting team, so you put good hitters in offensive counts and not too many good things happen.”

In the opening frame, two-out hitting paved the way for three runs to set the tone, highlighted by Cardoza-Oquendo’s two-RBI slap through the right side. Two more crossed in the second and Baylor hoisted an early 5-0 lead.

“When my guys are helping me out with a bat and on defense too, it really makes it easy for me,” Caley said. “I had a pretty relaxed mindset.”

Tarleton got on the board with one in the sixth, but the Bears tripled that in the bottom side, capitalizing on the Texans’ mistakes to take an 8-1 lead that they maintained the rest of the way, only giving up one unearned run in the ninth to make the final 8-2.

A strong offense has been the tell of the tale for much of this season, and the squad loves that tag being placed on them.

“We take a lot of pride in that identity,” Cardoza-Oquendo said. “Just being able to build on momentum and strike when the iron is hot, and we’re just going to keep doing that.”

There’s not much more you can ask for as a coach when your offense is connecting, especially after seeing all sorts of pitching from the Texans.

“When we come out hot like that, four or five runs early, everybody takes a deep breath,” Rodriguez said. “They were throwing different kinds of pitchers today, submarine, some different stuff coming at you. We had to make some adjustments on the fly and it’s kind of tough once you start getting one guy figured out and they bring in another guy. A little bit tougher from the offensive standpoint in the middle of the game, but I thought our guys did a pretty good job.”

The Bears get the next nine days off for final exams and will hit the road to Manhattan, Kan., for a weekend series against Kansas State University. The opener is set for 6 p.m. on May 13 and can be listened to on ESPN Central Texas 1660 AM radio.

Cardoza-Oquendo joked that he wasn’t ready for finals, but Rodriguez knows his group, who had a program-record GPA in the fall, will be just fine in the classroom before they get back on the diamond.

“I don’t worry about our guys academically,” Rodriguez said. “They can say they’re not ready but they are – that’s just a geek for them. I think our team GPA is like a 3.4, so I’m not concerned. If there are any issues, I already know about it. They have plenty of time to prepare and they’re going to do a good job.”