Max Garner threw 8.1 strong innings and led Baylor to a victory over #12 Rice.
It's funny how good starting pitching and wins go together. A day after the Bears were drubbed 15-4 by Houston, they roared back to life and returned the favor against a very talented Rice team. Max Garner went 8.1 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, and 8 Ks in a one of the best starts of his Baylor career. He wasn't always dominant, working out of several jams, but he didn't give up a run until the ninth, allowing the team to cruise to a 9-2 victory.
Kendall Rogers was once again tweeting scouting reports and other nuggets from the game. He had Garner sitting 87-90 on the FB (touching 91) and mixing in a change and curveball. Rogers described him as a "hard-nosed guy".
On the offensive side, Orf and Towey were as good as advertised. Orf went 2-4 with a walk from the leadoff spot, and Towey was 3-4 with a walk, a double, and 2 RBIs. The man Rogers seemed most impressed with, however, was Logan Brown who flashed both speed and power. In the sixth, he crushed a homerun down the left-field line, and he followed that with a leadoff triple in the ninth. It's obviously only one game, but if Brown could heat up, he would become a dynamic addition to a solid lineup.
I'm going to go out on a limb, but not a very big one, and say that this Baylor team is substantially better than their 5-6 record. For starters, seven of the eleven games they've played have been against teams that are firmly entrenched in the Top 25 (UCI, UCLA, Rice). Another game was a victory over a talented Pepperdine team that sits just outside the rankings.
I don't believe any other Big 12 team can match that kind of strength of schedule. Oklahoma may look good sitting at 11-1, but they got there by beating up on Hofstra and Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Color me unimpressed. With TCU performing well below expectations at 3-7, the Big 12 could be wide open this year. I'm not calling for a repeat of last year's glory, but it's not out of the question once conference play starts.