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Miller Blasts Three as Bears Pound Illinois 20-6

Feb. 29, 2008

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WACO, Texas -- Aaron Miller was 5-for-5 with three home runs, a double and six RBI, and No. 13 Baylor made use of a 10-run second en route to 20-6 victory over Illinois in first-day action at the third-annual QTI Baylor Classic. The game was called with one out in the ninth as heavy rains blanketed the field. Baylor (5-0) has won nine straight home games, dating back to last season. In the first game of the day, Illinois-Chicago defeated Stephen F. Austin 9-3.


Miller became the fourth player in Baylor history to hit three home runs in a game and the first to accomplish the feat since the NCAA implemented bat weight-ratio restrictions in 1999. He joins Eric Topolski (1998 vs. Hardin Simmons; 1998 vs. Missouri), Charley Carter (1998 vs. UTSA) and Eric Nelson (1999 at Kansas) on that elite list. Miller joined current Major Leaguer Ben Broussard as the only players with three home runs at Baylor Ballpark; Broussard accomplished the feat against Baylor while at McNeese State in 1999. Miller's three homerun performance also tied a Big 12 Conference record.




A sophomore from Channelview, Miller had four home runs in 39 games last season before sustaining a season-ending injury in late April that forced him to miss 23 games. His night consisted of a double in the second, a home run in the second, a single in the third, a home run in the fifth and a home run in the sixth that cleared the 20-foot centerfield wall. Each of his three round-trippers came off different pitchers.


It was Miller's leadoff double that sparked the Bears 10-run second inning as Baylor sent 14 men to the plate in that inning. The Bears added a pair of runs in the third for a 12-0 lead before Illinois (2-2) cracked the scoreboard with a three-spot in the fifth. Miller's solo homer in the fifth made it 13-3, and the Bears pushed their lead to 20-3 with a seven-run sixth. Illinois scratched for a run in the seventh and two in the eighth.


Baylor starter Kendal Volz (2-0) earned the victory, allowing three runs on six hits and no walks with six strikeouts over 6.0 innings. Volz saw his season-opening 12.1-inning scoreless streak stop with Illinois' three-run fifth. Tom Filip, William Draper and Brice Ary pitched one inning each to close out the night on the mound for the Bears.


Illinois starter Scott Shaw (0-1) took the loss; he was touched for 12 runs, only five of which were earned, on 11 hits with one strikeout over 2.1 innings. Miller's first home run was off Shaw, his second was off Billy Barrett, and his third was off Mike Sterk.


Every Baylor starter collected at least one hit and scored at least once. The Bears used 17 different position players on the night as freshman second baseman Landis Ware was the only starter still in the game by the end of the seventh.


Dustin Dickerson was 3-for-4 with three doubles and three runs scored, Beamer Weems was 3-for-5 with two RBI, and Ware was 3-for-4 with two runs. Shaver Hansen had two hits, including a triple, while Ben Booker had a triple, three RBI and scored three times.


Play continues Saturday in the QTI Baylor Classic. Illinois faces Stephen F. Austin at 2 p.m. CST, while Baylor faces Illinois-Chicago at 6:30 p.m. The Bears send right-hander Shawn Tolleson (0-0, 19.29 ERA) to the mound. Illinois-Chicago counters with right-hander Derrick Miramontes (0-0, 4.50 ERA).


NOTES:  The all-time series is tied 1-1. The only previous meeting was a 9-8 Illinois victory in 13 innings at the 1998 NCAA South I Regional in Gainesville, Fla. ... Baylor is 16-4-1 all-time against teams from the Big Ten Conference. The Bears have won five consecutive games against Big Ten schools. ... Baylor has won 29 of its last 32 games when hitting at least two home runs. ... Miller's five-hit game was the 24th in Baylor history. He joins Weems and Hansen as current Bears with a five-hit game to their credit. ... Miller (five games), Ware (five games), Adam Hornung (four games), Booker (three games) and Gregg Glime (three games) all extended hitting streaks. ... Dickerson established career highs with three doubles and three runs. ... Miller established career highs for runs, hits, RBI, home runs and total bases.

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