Bears hold against late Texas rally
Baylor is 18-2 this season when scoring four or more runs
WACO, Texas – Josh Turley allowed three runs in a career-high eight innings, and Max Garner came on in relief to put a stop to Texas’ rally, as Baylor evened the series against the No. 8 Longhorns with a 7-6 win on Saturday.
Baylor (18-14, 5-6 Big 12) carried a 7-2 lead to the ninth, but Texas (23-8, 8-3 Big 12) scored four runs and had the potential tying and go-ahead runs on base when Garner induced a groundout from Lucas Kephart to end the game and record his second save.
"Give (Texas) credit – they can make you feel like you lost when you won,” Baylor head coach Steve Smith said. “That's kind of what I wanted to go out there and tell those guys, because we played a good ballgame. Josh (Turley) pitched extremely well. We got some timely hits and some pretty big hits.”
Turley retired 10 consecutive batters before hitting Tant Shepherd with a pitch leading off the ninth. Brooks Pinckard moved from center field to the mound, and after getting a quick sip of water, Turley moved to left field.
Pinckard got a groundout for the first out before giving up a walk, single and a three-run homer to pinch hitter Jonathan Walsh that cut the Baylor lead to 7-6. Pinckard got another groundout for the second out, but after consecutive walks, Garner was called in from the bullpen to face Kephart.
Turley (2-1) earned the win after giving up seven hits with one walk and five strikeouts. He allowed three hits through the first three frames, but he held Texas to two hits over his final five innings of work.
The Longhorns had a runner at third with one out in each of the first three innings, but Turley allowed only one of those runs to score when Paul Montalbano put Texas on the board with a squeeze bunt in the second inning.
Turley kept Baylor in front by recording consecutive strikeouts after Texas put two runners in scoring position with one out in the third.
“I thought the strikeouts he got right there in the middle of the order with runners on second and third, that was huge for us,” Smith said. “We were fighting for everything we could get and Texas was fighting for everything they could get. To get those punch-outs like that during that point in time was pretty big."
The Bears answered in the bottom half of the inning when Dan Evatt drew a one-out walk and came home to score on Landis Ware’s two-out RBI single to tie the game at 1-1.
Evatt put the Bears in front two innings later when he drilled the first pitch from Hoby Milner over the left-field fence for a two-run homer. Milner (3-2) took the loss after allowing three runs on four hits in 4.2 innings.
Texas cut the lead in half when Brandon Loy hit a one-out double in the fifth and came home to score on Erich Weiss’ infield single, but that would be the last hit allowed by Turley.
The Bears built what looked like a comfortable lead with four runs against five different Texas pitchers in the seventh. Steve DalPorto walked, Joey Hainsfurther doubled, and after Pinckard was intentionally walked to load the bases, Max Muncy found the gap in right-center field for a two-run double.
Josh Ludy provided what would prove to be much-needed insurance by bouncing a two-run single through the middle of a drawn-in infield to extend Baylor’s lead to 7-2.
Baylor did most of its damage in the eighth against Andrew McKirahan, who allowed three runs on two hits and a walk without recording an out. Josh Urban allowed both inherited runners to score on Ludy’s two-run single.
Ludy had Baylor’s only multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 with a run and two RBIs. Muncy, Ludy and Evatt each drove in two runs for the Bears, while Ware added one RBI.
Loy doubled twice in five at-bats for Texas, and Weiss went 2-for-4 with a walk and one RBI for the Longhorns.
The series concludes with Sunday’s rubber match at 1 p.m. Sunday. Baylor sends junior Trent Blank to the mound against Texas senior Cole Green.