WACO – The No. 22 Sam Houston State Bearkats scored seven unanswered runs, including five in the final two frames, snapping Baylor’s five-game win streak with a 7-2 win on Tuesday night at Baylor Ballpark.
Sam Houston (13-4) fell behind 2-0 in the third despite not allowing a Baylor (8-6) hit until the sixth, but responded with two runs in the fourth and then four more in the eighth to pick up both its sixth win in a row overall and its sixth straight in Waco dating back to 2013.
Chase Cryer led the offense with a 3-for-4 night with a pair of RBI, including a go-ahead double in the eighth that proved to be the deciding run. Andrew Fregia added a pair of hits while six other Bearkats hit safely.
The Bearkat pitching staff walked nine, but six came in the first three innings. The Kats would allow just two hits on the night to the Bear offense, no-hitting Baylor through the first 5.1 frames.
Landon Ausley got his first start of the season and struck out three in 2.0+ innings, but it was Nick Mikolajchak who evened his record at 2-2 after a career-long 4.0 scoreless innings of relief. He did not strike out a batter, but pitched out of trouble in the third before retiring 14 of the 16 hitters he faced and working into the eighth.
He then gave way to Dakota Mills who was dominant once again, entering with no outs and a man on in the eighth in a 6-2 game. He promptly got a double play ball to erase the base runner and then punched out three of the next four hitters he faced on strikes to earn his second save of the season.
Ryan Lekich took the loss for Baylor, falling to 2-1 on the season after allowing three of the four runs in the deciding eighth inning.
Sam Houston will now head south to continue Southland Conference play with a three-game series at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The opener of the set is schedule for 6:00 p.m. on Friday night at Chapman Field.
Ausley left runners on base in each of the first two innings, but was unable to do so in the third as the Bears got a pair of runs across without the benefit of a hit. Two walks and a botched sacrifice bunt attempt quickly loaded the bases for Baylor before a walk to Shea Langeliers pushed home a run. Kyle Backhus was able to get an out on a sacrifice fly that brought home another run before getting a double-play ball to end the inning with the Kats down 2-0.
Sam Houston wasted no time making up those runs in its next at-bat. Ben Haefner’s second walk of the day got things going and Hunter Hearn followed by singling to left field. Cryer then chased Haefner home with his second single of the game, and one batter later Clayton Harp shot a single into left field to score Hearn and tie it up at 2-2.
An inning later the Bearkats put together a golden chance to take its first lead of the game with singles from Trey Ochoa and Fregia starting the inning against reliever Luke Boyd. Haefner would then bunt them up a base and Hearn would walk to load the bases for Chisolm, but the Bearkat designated hitter was graced by misfortune as he hit a rocket right at second base that was turned into an inning-ending double play.
Things stayed relatively quiet until the eighth when the Kats erupted for four runs to take control. Biles would pinch hit with one out against lefty Ryan Lekich and drew a walk to ignite the rally. Cryer would then launch a shot to left field that seemed destined to be his third homer of the season, but Nick Loftin scaled the wall and kept the ball in play; however, Cryer would still end up on second with a double and Biles would race all the way around to score the go-ahead run.
After a pinch-hit single from Jacob Finke, Cannon plated another with a squeeze bunt and a Bear miscue on the play also allowed pinch runner Eric Bohnert to score to push the lead to 5-2. One batter later, Grisham lined a single to left field to score Cannon, giving the Kats a 6-2 lead going to the bottom of the eighth.
Baylor tried to mount a rally in the eighth with Davis Wendzel beating out an infield hit off of Mikolajchak to start the inning, and then Andy Thomas drew a walk to put a pair of runner on with nobody out. The Kats then wasted no time and turned to Mills. The Bearkat righty then got an inning-ending double play off the bat of Andy Thomas before striking out Loftin with a runner on third to end the threat.
Biles made it 7-2 when he launched a two-out solo home run to left off of Joe Heineman, his first long ball of the year. Mills would then come back out in the bottom half of the inning and struck out a pair, including Cole Haring for the game’s final out to finish off the win.
Head coach Matt Deggs on the win at Baylor …
“I thought it was a well-played game. We got a good start of out Landon Ausley. He just has not thrown that many pitches before and got us into the third. He showed that he is going to be a guy that is going to be tough to deal with in the future once we can drive his pitch count up. Once he gets a little more durability he is going to be hard to handle. I thought Miko, in a tight ballgame, did a great job of coming in and steadying things for us and matching some zeros. We had a chance to get the big knock in the middle innings and Chisolm ran into a ball that ended up being right at a guy for a double play. But we just stuck with it, stayed grinding, Miko was able to match zeros and then we were able to bust through there and get it to Dakota.”
Deggs on staying in the game early on … “That’s kind of been our MO on us all year. When someone gets some runs on us we respond, and we did it again. We just weren’t able to get the big hit right then and there, but we were able to get back in it and then get the ball to Miko. He starts matching zeros, we play some defense and get the double play and then we were able to bust through.”
Deggs on Josh Biles’ late production … “Once again it’s a total team effort. You look at a guy like Josh Biles who’s been chasing foul balls all night and doesn’t have 10 at-bats all year and gets called on against a tough lefty to pinch hit. He has a 7-8 pitch walk, and that really turned the tide for the game right there, and then he was able to give us some more breathing room with a big-league home run. I couldn’t be more proud of that kid. All he does is work, help, serve and love his teammates. Baseball rewarded him right there.” Chase Cryer on the win … “That was a big win for us on the road. Baylor is a really good team and teams like that are teams we have to function together against, and whoever gets the credit gets the credit. As long as we function together, we’ll be just fine.”