March 15, 2014
WACO, Texas- Baylor baseball used a second straight strong pitching effort to claim the Big 12 opening series over Texas Tech with a 2-1 win on Saturday afternoon at Baylor Ballpark. The Bears (10-8, 2-0 Big 12) will look for their second series sweep of the season tomorrow.
The game played out very similarly to last night's 1-0 Baylor win as the Bears once again scored in the first inning, and it was nearly all they needed. Lawton Langford got things started with an infield single and Brett Doe followed with a bunt single on a sacrifice attempt that the pitcher failed to field cleanly after slipping on the wet grass. After a sac bunt by Darryn Sheppard, Mitch Price scored Langford on a sac fly.
What proved to be the winning run came in the second as Matt Menard led off with a double. Two outs later, Logan Brown delivered a clutch single to score Menard and give starting pitcher Brad Kuntz a 2-0 lead to work with.
Kuntz kept the Red Raiders (15-5, 0-2 Big 12) scoreless until his final inning. In the fifth, a one-out walk came around to score on a two-out single by Jake Barrios. But Kuntz got Eric Gutierrez looking to end his day.
BU reliever Ryan Smith took over the next three innings and held TTU scoreless, despite a scare in the eighth. With a walk aboard and two outs, Devon Conley appeared to have a single up the middle to extend the inning, put the tying run at second and go-ahead run at first. However, Doe had different ideas at shortstop as he dove to corral the ball and flipped it backwards from his belly to Langford for the inning-ending force at second.
In the ninth, Josh Michalec made it interesting but stayed perfect in save chances. He gave up a leadoff single and then an error on a sac bunt attempt put two on. Luckily, Michalec got Alec Humphreys to pop up his sac bunt attempt for an out on the next play. He then induced a fly out and ground out to seal the win, earning his eighth save.
Kuntz (3-0) picked up his third win in a five-inning, one-run effort, allowing just three hits while walking five and striking out five. TTU starter Chris Sadberry (2-1) took his first loss of the season after surrendering two runs on seven hits and a walk with four strikeouts.
*Baylor is now 5-4 against ranked teams this season and has won two of its three series vs. ranked teams. The other series win came in a 2-1 decision over No. 3 Cal State Fullerton. The lone series loss came in a 2-1 decision at No. 19 Arizona State.
*Baylor is now 13-5 all-time in Big 12 opening three-game series and 15-3 in Big 12 home opening three-game series, and has won three straight in each case.
*Baylor is now 51-53 all-time in TV games and is 4-0 this season with all four wins coming vs. ranked teams. The Bears improved to 16-23 on the FOX family of networks as the game was televised on FOX Sports 1, marking BU's debut on the network. Since 2011, BU is 21-12 in TV games.
*Baylor moved to 9-1 at Baylor Ballpark this season and is off to its best start since going 10-1 in 2009.
*Baylor has now tied the all-time series against Texas Tech 77-77 and leads the series in Waco 49-27.
*Josh Michalec ranks in the top 3 in the country in saves (8) and has closed out eight of Baylor's 10 wins on the season - the other two wins were 15-1 and 12-1 over Austin Peay. Michalec is now a perfect 8-for-8 in career save chances as all of his career saves have come in 2014. Prior to the game, each of the last four saves Michalec had earned had been multi-inning efforts.
*In his first start since March 7th, Mitch Price tallied his 12th RBI of the season to reclaim the team lead. He's had at least an RBI in seven of his 11 starts this season.
*Logan Brown broke a 2-for-28 slump by going 2-for-3 with two steals and an RBI. The game marked his third multi-hit contest of the season and first multi-steal effort.
*Matt Menard joined Mitch Price and Grayson Porter as the only Baylor players to have three hits in a game this season. His career-high 3-for-4 day included a career-best two doubles and a run scored while he also threw out a runner stealing. Over his last five games, he's gone 8-for-20 (.400) with three doubles, two runs and one RBI.
*Brett Doe went 2-for-4 with a double for his second multi-hit game of the season, tying a career high in hits.
*Lawton Langford has reached base in five straight games and has a three-game hitting streak.
*Since a rough first start of the season at No. 19 Arizona State in his first start in over a year due to injury, Brad Kuntz has rebounded extremely well. In that no-decision at ASU, he gave up four runs in 3.1 innings. Since then, he's thrown at least five innings in each of his five starts while giving up one run or less. Over that stretch he's thrown 22.2 innings while allowing three runs (two earned) on 12 hits and 12 walks with 20 strikeouts, earning three wins in the process. Two of those wins have come against ranked foes in No. 3 Cal State Fullerton and now No. 23 Texas Tech.
STAT OF THE GAME
12 - The amount runners that Brad Kuntz, Ryan Smith and Josh Michalec left on base.
TWEET OF THE GAME
"Matt [Menard] is really seeing the ball well lately. Even the final out he made flying out to left field, I thought he just missed that ball. He's really starting to show some power. That ball he hit off the right field wall was pretty good pop. Playing every day certainly isn't wearing on him, if anything it's making him more comfortable." - BU head coach Steve Smith
Baylor and No. 23 Texas Tech finish their Big 12 opening series with a 1:05 p.m. CT start on Sunday on FOX Sports Southwest. The scheduled pitching matchup is BU RHP Austin Stone (2-1, 1.61 ERA) vs. TTU's starter that has yet to be announced.