June 4, 2011
HOUSTON - Josh Turley picked a great time to toss the first complete game of his collegiate career. The Baylor sophomore went the distance as the Bears knocked off No. 9 Rice 3-2 on Saturday night at Reckling Park.
"I think we were all treated to an outstanding game," head coach Steve Smith said. "Both guys were just really on top of their games on the mound. I think it was just a great, great game."
With the win, Baylor (31-26) advances to the title round of the NCAA Houston Regional. The Bears will face the winner of Sunday's 2 p.m. elimination game between Rice (42-20) and California at 6 p.m. Sunday. If the Bears lose that game, they'll get another shot at their first Regional crown since 2005 at 6 p.m. Monday.
Turley (4-5), whose previous career-long outing was 8.0 innings, allowed two runs - one of which was earned - on seven hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in 9.0 innings. He induced three groundball double plays, none bigger than the one off the bat of Derek Hamilton that ended the game.
The Rice lineup wasn't totally unfamiliar to Turley. He pitched a then-career-long 4.1 innings in his fourth career start when he faced the Owls on March 6 in the Houston College Classic. The Bears won that game 12-8 in 10 innings, but this time the Bears got the job done without bonus baseball.
Cal Towey and Max Muncy got the Bears on the board quickly in the first inning. Towey reached on an error on his sharp grounder up the middle, Brooks Pinckard bunted him over and Muncy drove a RBI double to the gap in right-center field. Josh Ludy followed with a RBI single to give the Bears a 2-0 lead.
Baylor added another run in the third when Pinckard drew a leadoff walk, stole second and third bases and scored on a groundout from Ludy that bounced off of drawn-in Rice third baseman Shane Hoelscher.
Turley held the Owls hitless until a one-out double from Michael Ratterree in the fourth, but he got a groundout and a strikeout to escape the jam without any damage.
Hoelscher led off the fifth with a single, but he was erased on the first of three 6-4-3 double plays turned by the Bears. Turley needed just 63 pitches through his first five innings, but Rice starting pitcher Austin Kubitza (6-5) threw the same number of pitches through five frames.
Kubitza got out of the third inning with a strikeout of Logan Vick, starting a string where he held 14 of 15 Baylor batters hitless, with Pinckard's bunt single in the fifth the only base knock. Muncy led off the eighth with a single and stole second base, and Kubitza's night ended one batter later. He allowed three runs - two earned - on five hits with nine strikeouts and three walks in 7.2 innings.
Turley got into trouble in the sixth after issuing a leadoff walk. J.T. Chargois delivered a single that would've put runners on the corners, but Pinckard's throw to third went out of play, allowing Chargois to advance to third and Keenan Cook to score. Anthony Rendon followed with a RBI single to cut the Baylor lead to 3-2, but Turley got Ratterree to ground into a double play and then struck out Michael Fuda.
Turley again got into a jam in the seventh after a two-out hit batter and a walk, but he got Cook to ground out to Muncy with his 28th pitch in the inning. He also worked around a pair of singles in the eighth before closing the game with the Bears' third double play in the ninth.
"I was thinking in the back of my mind after the seventh inning when they scored the two runs that that was it," Turley said. "I came in and I was kind of down on myself and I thought that this can't be it, we need to still win this game. He (coach Smith) came over and asked me how I felt, and my arm was a little tired, but I wasn't going to tell him that."
Muncy finished 2-for-3 with a walk, a stolen base, one RBI and one run scored, while Pinckard singled, walked, stole two bases and scored a run and Ludy added two RBI.
Rendon had the only multi-hit game for Rice, finishing 2-for-4 with the Owls' only RBI. Cook and Chargois each scored one run.
The Bears go for their first Regional Championship since 2005 when they take on the winner of Sunday's 2 p.m. elimination game between California and Rice. Pinckard is likely to start on the mound for the Bears, with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m.