Feb. 19, 2012
WACO, Texas - Baylor won both games of its Sunday doubleheader against Oral Roberts to complete a season-opening three-game sweep at Baylor Ballpark. The Bears won the first game 3-2 before cruising to an 8-1 victory in the finale.
The Baylor pitching staff combined to hold ORU to three earned runs in the series, while the BU offense came through with timely hitting to lead the Bears to their first three-game sweep since May 21-23, 2010.
Game One: For the second time in as many games, freshman Michael Howard came through off the bench to bring in the winning run in a 3-2 Baylor victory.
In a nearly identical situation to Friday night's 3-2 win, Howard was summoned as a pinch-hitter with the bases loaded, one out and the score tied 2-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning. And just like he did on Friday night, Howard worked the count full before drawing a walk to drive in the game-winning run.
Junior right-handed pitcher Max Garner made his first career start on the mound after appearing 41 times out of the bullpen in his first two seasons. Garner allowed two runs in 3.1 innings, but the Baylor bullpen came through with 5.2 innings of shutout relief.
Tyler Bremer struck out four and allowed only two hits in 3.2 innings, and Joey Hainsfurther - who was pitching in a game for the first time since May 29, 2010 - allowed one hit and struck out two in the final 2.0 innings to pick up his first career win.
"We really put better arms out there - or at least got on them quicker - with our bullpen than we did our starters," head coach Steve Smith said. "That always helps. If you've got guys who can start a game and pitch it effectively for you, and be below the radar a little bit, and then you bring in some other guys who are pounding it, that's pretty tough on the hitters."
ORU started the scoring with a Brandon King RBI single in the third, but the Bears tied the game in the bottom half on a Max Muncy sacrifice fly. The Golden Eagles regained the lead an inning later with Tyler Coker's sacrifice fly, but Bremer came on in relief and stranded a runner in scoring position to keep the deficit at 2-1.
Josh Ludy reached on a two-out double in the sixth, and Logan Vick followed with a double of his own to tie the game at 2-2. ORU starter Alex Gonzalez escaped the inning without further damage, but the Bears got to the Oral Roberts bullpen in the eighth.
Muncy reached on a one-out single and moved into scoring position when Ludy's fly ball to right field was dropped by Coker. Vick worked a walk to load the bases, setting up Howard's game-winning walk.
Ludy finished 2-for-4 with a double and one run scored, while Bennett Pickar led the ORU offense with three hits and a sacrifice bunt.
Hainsfurther came on in relief to start the eighth and retired the side in order, but he allowed a single to Jake O'Brien leading off the ninth. After Pickar's bunt put the potential tying run in scoring position, Hainsfurther struck out the next two batters to close out the win.
Game Two: Four Baylor pitchers combined on a three-hitter, and Max Muncy had three hits and three RBI to lead the Bears to an 8-1 win in the series finale.
Sophomore left-handed pitcher Brad Kuntz made his second career start and allowed one run on two hits with six strikeouts in a career-long 5.0 innings. Kolt Browder struck out three in 2.0 innings of relief, and Miles Landry and Doug Ashby worked hitless eighth and ninth innings, respectively.
Landry, a fourth-year junior, had only recorded one out on the mound in his career prior to coming out of the bullpen to start the eighth inning, but he retired the side in order with a strikeout for the third out. Ashby worked around two errors in a scoreless ninth to match his total number of innings pitched from last season.
"Miles handled it very well, and Doug handled it well," Smith said. "We didn't give Doug any help behind him, and he still did a nice job. Miles can be pretty tough to hit - he throws a pretty good split."
Kuntz retired the first 10 batters in order before a one-out walk in the fourth. A balk moved Kevin Cho into scoring position and he came around to score on Jose Trevino's fielder's choice groundout, but that would be all the scoring ORU could manage.
The Bears didn't lead until the eighth inning in either of the first two games, but a three-run third inning was followed by four runs in the fourth to give the pitching staff plenty of support in the series finale.
Muncy got the scoring started with a RBI single in the third, and Ludy followed with a two-run double to the wall in left field. Lawton Langford drove in a run with a RBI double, Cal Towey had a RBI groundout and Muncy knocked in two more with a double to give the Bears a 7-1 lead after four frames.
Michael Howard, who made his first career start, went 1-for-2 with two runs scored, a stolen bases and a pair of walks to give him four bases on balls in the series. Fellow freshman Adam Toth delivered some excitement in the seventh when he drove in Howard with a triple off the wall in right field, but Toth was thrown out at the plate trying for an inside-the-park home run.
Ludy went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI, a walk and a double. He caught all 27 innings of the series and had a multi-hit game with a double in every game of the three-game set. Muncy finished 3-for-4 with a double, one run scored and three RBI, while Langford and Toth added two hits apiece.
The Bears return to action when they host TCU at 4:05 p.m. Tuesday at Baylor Ballpark. Baylor then travels to The Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas to play Texas State at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday before hitting the road for a three-game series at UCLA next weekend.
Game One Notes: Max Muncy extended his on-base streak to a career-high 20 games ... Josh Ludy had his 23rd career multi-hit game ... Joey Hainsfurther pitched for the first time since May 29, 2010 ... Hainsfurther recorded the first win of his career with 2.0 innings of shutout relief ... Max Garner made his first career start on the mound after pitching in relief in the first 41 appearances of his career ... Baylor increased its lead in the all-time series against Oral Roberts to 22-19, including an 18-13 edge in games played in Waco ... Baylor improved to 2-0 when scoring three or fewer runs this season; the Bears were 3-22 last season when scoring three or fewer runs ... Freshman Michael Howard brought in the game-winning run when he drew a bases-loaded walk as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning - he also drew a game-winning, pinch-hit walk in the eighth inning of Friday's 3-2 win.
Game Two Notes: Max Muncy extended his on-base streak to a career-high 21 games ... Brad Kuntz made his second career start on the mound and pitched a career-long 5.0 innings to earn his first career win ... Kuntz retired the first 10 batters in order before a one-out walk in the 4th inning ... Miles Landry pitched for the first time since making his collegiate debut on March 9, 2010 ... Muncy (45th career), Josh Ludy (24th career), Adam Toth (1st career) and Lawton Langford (2nd career) each recorded multi-hit games ... Muncy (26th career) and Ludy (14th career) recorded multi-RBI games ... Baylor completed its first home doubleheader sweep since March 6, 2010 against Oral Roberts ... Baylor also completed its first three-game series sweep since May 21-23, 2010 against Oklahoma State ... Baylor improved to 23-19 all-time against Oral Roberts, including a 19-13 lead in games played in Waco.