Baylor runs streak to 16 wins
Freshman Howard leads Bears past Louisiana-Monroe in 8-7 win
WACO, Texas -- Baylor held off a ninth-inning rally to extend its winning streak to 16 games with an 8-7 win against Louisiana-Monroe on Wednesday afternoon at Baylor Ballpark.
The No. 17 Bears (27-7) built an 8-3 lead heading to the ninth inning, but Louisiana-Monroe (16-17) scored four runs and had the potential tying run on base when Jake Miller made a tough play deep in the hole at shortstop to end the game.
“The reason (the winning streak) is continuing is because we’re playing consistent baseball,” head coach Steve Smith said. “We’ve had some luck, but everybody does in this game. I just think we’ve been consistent and we’ve had decent pitching for the most part.”
Max Garner was charged with one of the four runs in the ninth inning, but he picked up his third save of the season. Dillon Newman (2-1) earned the win for Baylor after working out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning and tossing 2.1 shutout innings in relief.
Freshman Michael Howard went 4-for-4 and scored three runs for the Bears, and Cal Towey had a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the eighth that provided two insurance runs that would prove to be necessary.
Logan Vick had two hits and two RBI, while Max Muncy went 2-for-5 with a double and two runs scored and Dan Evatt also had two hits and one RBI in the game.
ULM starter Andrew Richardson (0-4) took the loss after allowing four runs on six hits in 3.0 innings. Baylor freshman Austin Stone did not factor in the decision after allowing three runs on three hits in 3.2 innings in his third career start.
The Warhawks jumped out to an early lead by manufacturing a run in the top of the first, but the Bears took the lead for good with three runs in the bottom half of the inning on RBI from Vick, Evatt and Jake Miller. Baylor extended its lead to 4-1 in the fourth when Muncy led off with a double and scored on Vick’s RBI single.
Stone retired 10 straight batters after a single leading off the game, but he ran into trouble in the fourth after two walks and a single loaded the bases. Brandon Alexander’s two-out, two-run single ended Stone’s day, but Newman came out of the bullpen and worked out of the jam to keep the Bears in front at 4-3.
Howard led off the bottom of the fourth with a single and scored on Nate Goodwin’s RBI single. Goodwin, who was making his first career start at catcher, also drew a crucial walk in the eighth inning.
Howard and Steve DalPorto singled with one out in the eighth, and Goodwin’s walk loaded the bases, setting up Towey’s two-run single that gave the Bears an 8-3 lead.
Newman held the Warhawks scoreless in the fifth and sixth innings, and Trae Davis allowed only a single in 2.0 shutout innings of relief.
“We had been able to get back in it and expand the lead a little bit, so it was a good time to go get Trae Davis,” Smith said. “I thought his first inning was lights out. His adrenaline was pumping and that’s a good thing for him. He was pumping strikes and getting after it.”
Miles Landry came on to start the ninth inning, but he handed the ball to Garner after allowing a single and two walks to the first three batters. Garner induced a fielder’s choice ground for the first out, and after a walk reloaded the bases, he got a grounder to DalPorto at second base for the second out. Jeremy Sy followed with a two-run single, but Joey Rapp grounded out to Miller to end the game.
The Bears put their 16-game winning streak and perfect 12-0 record in Big 12 play on the line when they play a three-game series at Kansas State this weekend. All three games will be televised, with Friday and Sunday games on Fox College Sports (FCS) and Saturday’s game on Fox Sports Kansas City.