The way this series began on Thursday night, I was expecting the worst for the rest of the weekend. I mean, you just don't waste a gutsy pitching performance like that! Newman, who is undoubtedly Baylor's new ace, gave up a ton of hits in a 6 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 K effort in the opener, but he limited the damage and kept his team in the game. Crayton Bare chipped in three scoreless innings, but it all went for nothing. The offense couldn't string hits together, and the Bears lost in disappointing 3-2 fashion.
Imagine my surprise when the Bears' exploded for 16 hits and 10 runs in game two. Max Garner had a game to forget, giving up 6 runs and 9 hits in only three innings of work, but it didn't even matter. For one of the first times this season, against a quality opponent, the offense was humming.
Lawton Langford (4-5, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB, SB) and Logan Brown (3-6, R, BB, SB) sparked the lineup, but it was Grayson Porter who threw gasoline on the flame. Porter's line (3-6, 2R, 5 RBI, 2 HR, SB) is great, but the way he got to that line was even more impressive. In the eighth inning, down two runs with Langford on first, Porter tied the game with a single swing and sent the game in extras. In the thirteenth inning, with Langford once again on base, Porter won it with a homer of the walk-off variety. A hell of a game for Mr. Porter.
I would be remiss not to mention the relievers in all this. Ryan Smith, Doug Ashby, and Josh Michaelec combined for ten innings of two-run baseball. Michaelec pitched the last 5.1 completely scoreless. They all deserve a great deal of credit for a gritty win.
Game three looked like an easy win as the Bears headed into the ninth with a 7-3 lead, but Austin Stone got into trouble in the ninth (his fifth inning of relief work) leading to three runs. Ryan Smith managed to shut the door before K-State could tie it up. Towey, Orf, and Jake Miller did most of the offensive damage in this one, although it was a balanced attack. Eight of the nine starting position players had at least one hit.
It was a surprising series for the Bears, and if I'm being honest, not one that I thought they would win. Hopefully, this is the start of an offensive renaissance for this team. One that involves scoring more than three runs on a consistent basis. The team faces Dallas Baptist midweek before welcoming West Virginia into town next weekend.