April 16, 2011
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Dan Evatt hit two home runs and drove in a career-high five runs to lead Baylor to a 12-1 series-tying win over No. 5 Texas A&M on Saturday night at Olsen Field. The Bears' 11-run margin of victory was their largest ever over a top-5 opponent.
Trent Blank and Max Garner combined to hold the Aggies to one run on five hits. Blank (3-1) picked up the win after allowing one run on four hits and four walks in 5.1 innings, and Garner notched his third save with 3.2 innings of one-hit, shutout relief and four strikeouts.
Baylor (20-16, 6-8 Big 12) got on the board in the second inning when Cal Towey led off with a single and Evatt hit the next pitch over the left-field fence to a two-run homer. The Bears loaded the bases with two walks and a Brooks Pinckard bunt single, but Texas A&M starting pitcher Michael Wacha (4-2) escaped the jam without further damage.
Evatt's home run was the first allowed this season by Wacha, who took the loss after allowing five runs on nine hits in 6.1 innings to raise his ERA from 1.23 to 1.81.
Blank ran into trouble in the second when a two-out double and two walks loaded the bases, but Josh Ludy threw out Jace Statum on a slow roller in front of the plate to escape the inning with the Bears still in front 2-0.
"We have had a lot of games, especially in this ballpark, where we have scored a couple and then all of a sudden we go back out there and they come right back," head coach Steve Smith said. "I thought the key was Trent Blank. He wasn`t sharp, but they didn`t get a bunch of hits off of him."
Landis Ware's RBI triple in the third gave Baylor a 4-0 lead, but the Aggies got a run back in the fourth with a RBI infield single from Adam Smith. Blank worked a scoreless fifth inning, but Garner was called out of the bullpen after a one-out single in the sixth.
Garner got a flyout for the second out, Josh Ludy threw out Matt Juengel attempting to steal to end the inning and Baylor got an insurance run in the seventh on back-to-back doubles in the seventh.
The Bears broke the game open with five runs in the eighth and two more in the ninth. Logan Vick hit a two-run homer and Evatt hit a three-run blast off the left-field foul pole in the eighth. Pinckard added a RBI triple in the ninth for his third hit of the game.
Garner allowed only a one-out double in the eighth and struck out three of the final five batters to close out the win.
"Most people don`t understand how close this kid was to losing his colon last year," Smith said. "He looked awful a year ago and for him to be back playing is one thing, but for him to be pitching as well as he is and as strong physically as he is just a God thing. It's fun to watch."
Evatt finished 2-for-3 with two home runs, two walks, three runs scored and five RBI. Pinckard went 3-for-4 with a triple, two runs, one RBI and his team-leading 28th stolen base of the season. Pinckard has been successful on his last 17 attempted steals and has been caught stealing only twice this season.
All nine Baylor starters hit safely for the first time since April 14, 2010 against UT Arlington. Five different Texas A&M batters had one hit apiece, and Smith drove in the Aggies' only run.
The rubber match of the series is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. Sunday at Olsen Field. Texas A&M plans to start right-handed pitcher Ross Stripling, while Baylor has not yet announced a starter.