After grabbing a win in Huntsville, the Bears were unable to win the next game (the next day...it was postponed from prior to Spring Break) in the midweek split. They then hosted West Virginia in the Big 12 Home Opener. The Bears won the series, but dropped the last game.
So...here's a closer look at what actually went down:
Baylor vs. Sam Houston State
Pitching-wise, this game was a bit of a mess. No Baylor pitcher was able to escape the mound without a hit of some sort. Theron Kay started, allowing 5 hits and only 1 run. During his 3.2 innings, he garnered 1 strikeout. He was replaced for 1.2 innings by Joe Kirkland, who had 2 runs, 2 hits, and no strikeouts during his tenure on the mound. Sean Spicer was next up, pitching 3 innings, allowing no runs and 2 hits while issuing 2 strikeouts. Finally, Daniel Castano took the mound for the remaining 1.2 innings, allowing a solitary hit and garnering 2 strikeouts. Based on the numbers, it appears the pitching staff was having a bit of a rough day. It happens. It's baseball.
Hitting was much improved, with the Bears scoring in the 1st, 2nd, 7th, and 10th. The first run of the game came when Brown scored on a Miller single, after singling to second and stealing bases, as per usual. In the second, Menard singled to left center, then was batted in on a Tunnell single. Then, in the 7th, after doubling down the left field line, Brown scored on a Price groundout. This took the game to *bonus baseball*. Dodson singled to right field in the top of the 10th, and scored on a Menard single to shortstop.
Final Line: Baylor 4, SHSU 3
Pitching was much better this game. Tolson started and pitched 4 innings. During that time, he allowed the 4 SHSU runs and 5 hits, though he garnered 2 strikeouts. Kody Hessemer replaced him, pitching 2.1 innings and allowing a mere 2 hits while issuing 1 strikeout. He was replaced by Troy Montemayor, who pitched 2.2 innings and allowed 1 hit, while issuing 1 strikeout. Based on the numbers, the only pitching problems occurred in the 4th, prior to Tolson's departure. In my humble opinion, homeboy was probably tired.
Hitting was a sight better than it had been previously, though it was not quite enough to recover from the 4 runs SHSU scored in the top of the 4th. In the bottom of the 6th, Brown singled to right field, then scored on a Duncan Wendel single to right field. Wendel then went on to score unearned on a SHSU throwing error. In the bottom of the 9th, Menard reached on a throwing error, and Steven McLean pinch ran for him, who then scored unearned.
Final Line: SHSU 4, Baylor 3
Baylor vs. West Virginia
Pitching in this game was back to its usual standard. Daniel Castano seems to have earned a place in the starting lineup. He started this game, and pitched 5.2 innings. During that time, he allowed the 4 WVU runs (3 of which came at the end of his time on the mound) and 8 hits, but also issued 5 strikeouts. He was relieved in the 6th by Joe Kirkland, who had quite an evening, allowing 2 hits during his 2.1 innings, issuing 2 strikeouts. Notably, he inherited 2 runners from Castano, but didn't allow either of them to score. Spicer closed out the top of the 9th, allowing 1 hit and garnering 2 strikeouts.
Meanwhile, hitting was improved with regards to the previous games. In the bottom of the 1st, Justin Arrington singled through the right side, then was batted in on a Dodson single, after advancing to third on a Wendel single and a throwing error by the WVU pitcher. The Bears were quiet until the bottom of the 3rd, when they scored 3 runs. Sheppard doubled to right field, and Esthay was hit by a pitch. Both were batted in during a Brown single up the middle. Brown scored on a Wendel reach by fielder's choice. In the bottom of the 6th, Sheppard singled to third base, then scored on a throwing error by the WVU 1B.
Final Line: Baylor 5, WVU 4
Wow. This was an exciting game. (And not just because WVU decided to wear their digital camo uniforms.)
Hitting: The Bears finally remembered how to hit and hit a LOT. The bottom of the first was particularly prolific, with the Bears scoring half of their runs. First up was a Brown single through the left, followed by a Gilcrease bunt single to third. Wendel singled, advancing to 2nd on the throw, allowing Brown to score. Mitch Price doubled to right center and batted in both Wendel and Gilcrease. Ducoff singled, and Price scored. Finally, Esthay tripled to left center, and batted in Ducoff. In the bottom of the 3rd, the Bears tacked 3 runs on to their lead. Price walked, and Ducoff reached on fielder's choice. Joe Sabatini hit a triple, allowing the pair to score. Esthay then singled, and Sabatini scored. Next, the Bears extended their lead in the bottom of the 7th and 8th. First, in the 7th, Ducoff singled, and was then batted in on a Sabatini double along the left field line. In the 8th, Wendel singled along the left, and was batted in on a Price double.
Pitching was slightly wobbly at the beginning. Austin Stone started, but loaded the bases on a series of walks and HBPs, allowing 2 scores before being pulled after .2 innings. Hessemer replaced him, and threw pretty well. He threw 4.2 innings, allowing 2 runs and 4 hits while earning a total of 4 strikeouts. Montemayor then replaced him for the next 2.2 innings, allowing no runs and 3 hits while garnering 1 strikeout. Finally, Brad Kuntz returned to the mound for the first time since his Tommy John surgery last season, pitching 1 inning. He allowed neither a hit nor a run while issuing 1 strikeout.
Fielding was also a little wobbly during this game, but finally found its groove again. The two runs by WVU in the top of the 3rd were the result of great hits on their part near the wall, which were hard to pick up. An error by Gilcrease in the top of the 4th led to another of their hits. After this error, the quality of fielding increased dramatically.
Final Line: Baylor 10, WVU 4
Pitching was a little bit rough in a couple spots. Tolson started, and did a decent job. He allowed 6 runs and 7 hits during his 5.1 innings on the mound, but issued 6 strikeouts. 3 of those 6 runs came from a WVU homer in the top of the 4th, with 2 more stemming from generally wild pitching. Kirkland replaced him and basically threw hot fire for 1.2 innnings, allowing only 1 hit and issuing 4 strikeouts in his 1.2 innings. He was succeeded by Kyle Ott, who had a rough time on the mound, allowing 2 walks in his .1 innings. Spicer closed out the game, allowing 3 hits and 2 runs, but garnering 2 strikeouts in the meantime. Honestly, these errors just seem to be from exhaustion. Even with the return of Brad Kuntz, the loss of Ryan Smith is noticeably difficult for the pitching staff, many of whom have had to pull double duty.
Hitting was a hot mess, I'm not going to lie. The two runs came in the bottom of the 4th and 7th. In the 4th, Duncan Wendel doubled to left center, and was batted in on a Price fly out. In the 7th, Esthay doubled down the right field line, then was batted in on a Matt Menard single. WVU saved their best pitcher for this game and he did a good job keeping hitters from making plays.
Fielding, however, was not good. There were great hits coming off the WVU bats, sure, but this was not the same team I've seen in the outfield all season. Things seemed languid, and there were numerous times WVU runners made safely to base just prior to the ball, after hesitation by infielders. That said, Logan Brown went absolutely hard in the paint, making at least 2 inning-saving diving catches in the game.
Final Line: WVU 8, Baylor 2
The Bears travel to UT Arlington on Tuesday night, then return to Waco next weekend for a series vs. Oklahoma.
Haircuts for everyone!
PS: Sorry for the tardiness of the SHSU recaps...test week doesn't hit often, but when it does, boy does it hit hard! Fling that green and gold afar, folks!