HUNTSVILLE – The Baylor Bears pushed across a late run and then plated two more in extra innings to nip the Sam Houston State Bearkats, 4-2, in 12 innings on Tuesday night at Don Sanders Stadium.
The Bearkats (23-9) scored a pair of two-out runs in the fifth and held that lead until the Bears (15-16) got the tying run home on an RBI single by Andy Thomas in the eighth before pushing the game into extra innings. Sam would leave the winning run on third base in both the 10th and 11th inning before Baylor took the lead with a pair of runs in the top of the 12th.
Seven Sam Houston pitchers struck out 13 Bears in the game, but it was Colin Cameron taking the loss despite a pair of strikeouts of his own in the game’s final frame. Hayden Wesneski got the nod for the start and allowed just one run in 6.0 innings before handing it off to Riley Cooper who allowed one run with two strikeouts in 1.2 innings himself.
Dakota Mills, Kyle Backhus, Andrew Fregia and Brad Demco combined to get the Kats through the next 3.1 innings without allowing a run, including Demco retiring thee of the five hitters he faced on strikes.
Trey Montemayor picked up his first win of the season with 2.0 scoreless innings of relief as one of five pitchers in relief of starter Tyler Thomas.
Offensively, Clayton Harp collected three of Sam’s seven hits in the game and Blake Chisolm added two singles of his own; however the Kats were just 2-for-18 hitting with runners on base for the game.
Wesneski retired the first seven Bears he faced to open things up before Baylor was able to get to him for a run in the fourth. A single by Thomas was followed by a double by Shea Langeliers, setting up a sacrifice fly by freshman Davion Downey, putting the Bears up 1-0 before Wesneski finished the inning with a strikeout of Cole Haring.
The Kats could not answer in the bottom half of the inning, but got something going in the fifth, starting with a one-out walk by Jaxxon Grisham that chased Thomas from the game. An error by reliever Joe Heineman moved Grisham into scoring position and Ben Haefner took advantage by singling with two outs to drive him in and tie the game at 1-1. Haefner would then steal second himself to set up Hunter Hearn who delivered an RBI single to give the Kats a 2-1 advantage.
Wesneski and Cooper put up zeros in each of the next two innings, but Cooper was not so fortunate in the eighth. An infield hit and a wild pitch put Levi Gilcrease in scoring position with one out, and after a strikeout of Richard Cunningham, the Kats elected to intentionally walk Davis Wendzel to bring up Thomas. The Baylor first baseman then worked the count full before shooting a single into center field to score Gilcrease and tie things at 2-2.
It would stay that way until the 12th, despite the Kats having a pair of opportunities to close it out in extra innings. Sam Houston got a leadoff walk from Darien Simms in the 10th and a leadoff single by Chisolm in the 11th, but each time the Bears were able to work out of it, ending both frames with strikeouts with the winning run stranded at third base.
That pushed the game to the 12th where the Bears finally broke through. Cameron was able to strike out Cunningham to open the inning, but then issued a walk to Wendzel that proved to be costly. With two outs Wendzel swiped second base before Langeliers walked, bringing up Downey who tugged an RBI single just under the glove of Hearn at first base to put Baylor in front 3-2.
The Bears would add another run one batter later on the only Bearkat error of the game to get an insurance run, and then Montemayor did the rest by retiring Sam Houston in order in the bottom of the inning.
There’s no rest for the weary as the Bearkats will now turn around and head to UT Arlington for a Wednesday meeting with the Mavericks. The game was originally scheduled for March 27, but was rescheduled due to inclement weather. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. at Clay Gould Ballpark with Riley Gossett schedule to get the ball for Sam Houston, opposite right-hander Reid Petty for UTA.
Coach Matt Deggs on Tuesday’s game …
“Hayden Wesneski went out and threw the ball very well then Dakota Mills contributed a good stop for us in the eighth. I thought Andrew Fregia came in and threw the ball exceptional for taking him off of shortstop then sending it to Brad Demco. Neither team could really get anything going offensively, but it had a Friday night feel to this game. The lefty for them (Tyler Thomas) pitched really well and our defense also played well. We battled to the end but we couldn’t muster up the big hit. It was a good battle. I know our kids are disappointed, but a good thing about baseball is that we get to go on the road and start it all over again against UTA tomorrow.”