May 19, 2017
By Jerry Hill
Baylor Bear Foundation
When Kansas State's first 11 batters in the third inning all reached base and scored, it would have been easy for the Baylor baseball team to throw in the towel and play for tomorrow.
Thankfully, that towel never left the dugout.
Actually, it took the Bears just three innings to erase a nine-run deficit and tie the largest comeback in program history. With 23 hits, 10 free bases (walks and hit batters) and four homers, Baylor scored 18 unanswered runs in a 21-13 win over the Wildcats (27-26, 6-16) Thursday night at Baylor Ballpark.
"That game was really crazy, it was a fun game to be a part of," said freshman catcher Shea Langeliers, who went 4-for-5 with two doubles, a triple and three RBI. "When we were losing 12-3, we came back into the dugout to go hit and the morale was still up. We just felt like we were going to get the job done."
Maybe it helped that coach Steve Rodriguez had been a part of a similar game in 2002 as an assistant at Pepperdine, when the Waves held on for a 30-21 win against Tulane.
"We had Santa Anna winds blowing straight out. Our starting pitcher gave up nine earned runs, and we were like, `That's a great job today,''' Rodriguez said. "You literally were hoping the ball was hit at somebody."
"I just kept telling the guys, `Hey, this thing is long from over. Just keep swinging, keep having good at-bats,''' Rodriguez said. "And I told our pitchers, `You have to hold us right there. If you hold us right there, our guys are going to catch up.'''
Before Phillips went back out for the fourth inning, the deficit had already been trimmed from nine to five.
Richard Cunningham sparked it when he led off the bottom of the third with a moon-shot homer to right. Langeliers tripled and scored on Kameron Esthay's sac fly, then Davis Wendzel blasted a two-run shot just to the right of the scoreboard in left-center field.
"That game would have been completely different if we would have put up a zero after they put up 11 on us," said senior first baseman Aaron Dodson, who went 4-for-6 with a homer and two RBI to extend a career-best 21-game on-base streak. "We just needed to get things moving. If we would have come out flat after they put up those numbers and put up a zero something, I don't think we get the ball moving. But, we put four up there and Davis hit a two-run homer, and the rest is history."
The Bears (34-17, 12-10) scored a run in the fourth on Esthay's two-out RBI single, then exploded for seven runs in the fifth in a pass-the-bat mentality that included Dodson's leadoff homer, five straight singles and a two-run double by Langeliers before the Wildcats even recorded an out.
Rodriguez said it all began with one home run, the shot by Cunningham in the third.
"When you fall on a football and it knocks the wind out of you, I think that's the way our guys were reacting at the beginning," he said. "Then Richie hits the home run, and it kind of gives them the second wind. That hit, that home run, all of a sudden sparked something in our guys like, `Oh, OK, there is a lot of game left.' I just kept telling them, `One at a time, one at a time.'''
While Baylor's bullpen threw five shutout innings before Hanz Harker's leadoff homer in the ninth, the Bears never took their foot off the gas.
Esthay drilled a solo homer in the seventh that cleared the wall in dead center field, then the Bears tacked on five runs in the eighth on four walks, a hit batter, two wild pitches and a pair of two-run singles by Josh Bissonette and pinch-hitter Cameron Miller.
"There wasn't a time this whole game where we were down and thinking the game was over," Langeliers said. "The whole time, we were just there for each other and getting the job done."
After playing the longest nine-inning game in program history - four hours, 16 minutes - the two teams will complete the series with a doubleheader starting at 2:05 p.m. Friday.
"Guys are going to have to realize that they've got to come back and find a way to pound the zone," Rodriguez said. "It's a good hitting team over there, especially when you have conditions like this. So, it's going to be a long day tomorrow."
WACO, Texas -- Baylor baseball pulled off an impressive nine-run comeback in a 21-13 win over Kansas State in the series opener on Thursday evening at Baylor Ballpark. The Bears (34-17, 12-10) used 23 hits and a seven-run fifth inning to stun the Wildcats (27-26, 6-16).
The game started off well for Baylor as Shea Langeliers answered a KSU solo home run in the first with a two-out RBI double, and then a two-run single by Tucker Cascadden in the second gave the Bears a 3-1 lead.
But the Wildcats turned in a ferocious third inning, scoring 11 runs on 10 hits and two walks, to grab a 12-3 lead.
The Bears immediately chipped away at the lead. In the third, Richard Cunningham led off with a solo homer, Shea Langeliers tripled and Kameron Esthay scored him on a sacrifice fly. Aaron Dodson singled with two outs and then scored on a two-run homer by Davis Wendzel to cut the deficit to 12-7.
In the fourth, BU scored again using a T.J. Raguse walk, Langeliers single and Esthay RBI single.
Trailing 12-8 entering the bottom of the fifth, the Bears erupted for seven runs to take a 15-12 lead. Runs scored on a Dodson solo homer, Raguse two-run single, wild pitch, Langeliers two-run double and Dodson RBI single.
BU wasn't done scoring, though. Esthay launched a solo homer in the seventh. Then in the eighth, the Bears had a wild pitch score another run, two-run single by Cameron Miller and two-run single by Josh Bissonette.
Kansas State had a solo homer in the ninth but was unable to mount a rally.
Baylor reliever Alex Phillips (4-2) grabbed the win, giving up three runs on four hits with one walk and three strikeouts in three innings. KSU reliever Nick Jones (5-1) took the loss, allowing three runs on three hits without recording an out.
*Baylor tied a school record with the nine-run comeback as the Bears also did so on May 26, 2001 at Rice (trailed 9-0 and won 11-10).
*Baylor played its longest nine-inning game in school history at 4:16, surpassing the time of 4:12 at Kansas State on April 15, 2012.
*Baylor has won 15 of its last 20 games, 10 of its last 11 and seven straight after going through a stretch of losing eight of 10 games from March 24-April 8.
*Baylor has won 34 or more games for the first time since 2012 (49-17) and 12th time in the last 20 seasons.
*Baylor's 34-17 record through 51 games is its best since a 40-11 start in 2012.
*Baylor has hit 31 home runs in its last 24 games after hitting 14 homers in its first 26 games of the season.
*Baylor has 45 home runs this season through 51 games, which are 11 more than its season output of 34 in 53 games in 2016. BU has 40 or more homers for the first time since 2012 (46).
*Baylor has won six of its 13 three-game series in 2017 and three of its last four.
*Baylor has finished its home schedule with a .500 record or better (19-9 in 2017) in all 18 seasons at Baylor Ballpark (since 1999) and is 416-191 all-time at the park.
*Baylor leads the all-time series vs. Kansas State 45-25 and 27-6 in Waco.
*Senior first baseman Aaron Dodson has a career-high 21-game on-base streak and seven-game hitting streak as he posted his 15th multi-hit game, 10th multi-RBI game and hit his career-high 10th home run of the season and 20th of his career. He is the first Baylor player with 10 or more home runs in a season since Josh Ludy hit 16 in 2012. He tied a career high with four hits.
*Freshman catcher Shea Langeliers has a season-high 13-game on-base streak and season-high eight-game hitting streak as he registered his team-high-tying 16th multi-hit game and team-high 11th multi-RBI game.
*Junior left fielder Kameron Esthay has a nine-game on-base streak and three-game hitting streak as he had his team-high-tying 16th multi-hit game, eighth multi-RBI game and hit his career-high eighth home run of the season and 16th of his career.
*Senior designated hitter Matt Menard has a seven-game hitting streak.
*Sophomore center fielder Richard Cunningham has a six-game hitting streak as he notched his 13th multi-hit game and hit his career-high-tying fifth home run of the season and 10th of his career. He tied a career high with three hits.
*Sophomore infielder Josh Bissonette has a three-game hitting streak as he notched his 14th multi-hit game and fourth multi-RBI game.
*Junior JUCO infielder Tucker Cascadden has a three-game hitting streak as he posted his seventh multi-hit game and sixth multi-RBI game.
*Freshman third baseman Davis Wendzel had his sixth multi-hit game, sixth multi-RBI game and hit his seventh home run.
*Sophomore left fielder T.J. Raguse posted his 12th multi-hit game.
*Junior RHP Joe Heineman has a career-high five-appearance scoreless streak.
STAT OF THE GAME
18 -- The amount of unanswered runs Baylor scored from the bottom of the third inning through the bottom of the eighth inning.
QUOTE OF THE GAME
"I told the guys that tonight was far from over and to keep having good at-bats and that anything can happen. I told the pitchers you have to hold us, our guys are hitting the ball well, we are going to catch up." -- Head Coach Steve Rodriguez
Baylor finishes its three-game series at home against Kansas State with a Friday doubleheader starting at 2:05 p.m. CT with the finale to be played 45 minutes after the first game is done.