May 29, 2009
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Shaver Hansen was 2-for-4 with a two-run, first-inning homer, and Willie Kempf tossed 6.0 shutout innings as third-seeded Baylor blanked 21st-ranked and second-seeded Minnesota 5-0 in Friday night's first-round action at the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional. Baylor (30-24) has won six of its last seven first-round NCAA Tournament games. Minnesota (38-18) was shutout for the first time this season.
Hansen blasted a two-run shot that easily cleared the right-field fence with one out in the first. That ended up being all the run support Kempf (5-5), Craig Fritsch and Logan Verrett would need. Kempf, who hurled a complete-game, 7.0-inning shutout April 11 against Missouri, scattered three hits and two walks with six strikeouts. He did not allow a runner to reach scoring position and used only 76 pitches.
Baylor added insurance runs in the late innings. Gregg Glime and Raynor Campbell delivered consecutive one-out doubles in the seventh to push the Bears' lead to 3-0. Kenton Gedwed laced a two-out, two-run, pinch-hit double to left-center in the eighth to cap the scoring. It was Gedwed's ninth pinch hit of the season, which leads the Big 12 Conference; he is now 9-for-19 on the season as a pinch hitter.
As strong as Kempf was, Fritsch and Verrett were equally as dominate. Fritsch scattered a couple of hits and worked around an eighth inning walk for 2.0 shutout frames; he also struck out two. Verrett pitched a flawless ninth, striking out the side.
Dustin Dickerson, who opened the game with a single after falling behind 0-2, was 2-for-5 to run his hitting streak to 14 games. He has hit safely in 38 of the last 39 contests.
Minnesota nine-hole batter Kyle Geason turned in the Golden Golphers' lone multiple-hit game; he had two of the Gophers' five hits on the night and both came after falling behind 0-2.
Baylor now faces top-seeded and second-ranked LSU (47-17) in a winners' bracket game Saturday at 6:04 p.m. CDT. The Bears send sophomore right-hander Shawn Tolleson (1-2, 4.50 ERA) to the mound. The Tigers counter with sophomore right-hander Anthony Ranaudo (8-3, 3.29 ERA).
NOTES: Baylor leads the all-time series 9-3, including a 3-1 advantage in NCAA Tournament meetings. The Bears are 3-0 against the Gophers during head coach Steve Smith's tenure. ... Baylor improved to 34-30 all-time in NCAA Tournament play, including a 28-19 mark in regional play and an 18-9 mark in neutral-site regional games. The Bears are 10-5 all-time in NCAA Tournament first-round games. ... Baylor has won consecutive games for the first time since April 15 and 17 (UT Arlington, at Oklahoma State), at which point the Bears had not lost three consecutive games all season. ... Hansen's home run was his 17th of the season. That moves him into a tie with Jason Jennings, Eric Nelson and Jon Topolski (all 1999) for sixth on Baylor's all-time, single-season list. His 17 home runs are the second most by a Baylor player during the restricted bat era (since 2000); Chris Durbin hit 18 in 2003. ... Hansen also extended his hitting streak to six games, while Ben Booker and Joey Hainsfurther both saw three-game streaks end. ... Hansen produced the 60th multiple-hit game of his career. ... Hansen produced his 18th multiple-RBI game this season, tying Jason Jennings (1998) for sixth on Baylor's single-season list. It was the 38th of his career, tying David Murphy (2001-2003) for 10th on Baylor's career list.