From Baylor Athletic's Department:
Sam Houston State Slips Past Baylor Baseball 4-2
Bare logs five innings of scoreless relief with career-high eight strikeouts
WACO, Texas – Baylor fell 4-2 to Sam Houston State on Tuesday night at Baylor Ballpark despite a phenomenal bullpen effort from Crayton Bare. The senior logged five scoreless innings and struck out a career-high eight.
After BU (9-12) starter Sean Spicer allowed two runs in the first inning on a Luke Plucheck homer and Carter Burgess RBI single, he ran into trouble in the fifth. Baylor tied the game with a Steve DalPorto RBI groundout in the first and Lawton Langford sacrifice fly in the third, but Spicer started the fifth off with an ominous hit-by-pitch to Jessie Plumlee.
Plumlee then advanced to third following a bad pickoff throw and wild pitch by Spicer. The next batter, Colt Atwood, made it hurt with an RBI single up the middle. Bare came in right after and struck out Plucheck, but a dropped pickoff throw by DalPorto at first moved Atwood into scoring position. Two batters later, Ryan O'Hearn singled home another run.
From there out, Bare was on his mark and gave Baylor a chance to win as he only experienced trouble in the sixth but left two stranded. One out shy of a career-long outing, Bare allowed just two hits and three walks while throwing 81 pitches to lower his season ERA to 4.26.
"[Crayton] gave us a chance to win the ballgame," said BU Head Coach Steve Smith. "He was as good tonight as he's been. I thought [Nate] Goodwin behind the plate was pretty good tonight, blocking balls. We were just too sloppy early in the ball game. So much of our game is predicated on two guys –the pitcher and the catcher. When you're facing a good arm tonight and he's on tonight because he's not walking us, you can lose those kinds of ball games."
The Bears had three scoring chances in the final four innings but none came to fruition. In the sixth, Grayson Porter reached on an error and Mitch Price singled with two outs only to have Nate Goodwin fly out. In the seventh, Logan Brown reached on a one-out error but was caught stealing.
The best chance for BU came in the eight against SHSU closer Jason Simms. DalPorto singled with one out and pinch-hitter Adam Toth reached on another error to represent the tying run. Cal Towey then smashed a fly ball that look as it would split the left-center gap but it hung up in the wind as Plucheck caught up to it for the catch. Pinch-hitter Wes Mercurio followed with another promising hit as his grounder up the middle looked like it would go through, however, Plumlee back-handed it for a force at second to end the threat.
"They made some nice plays," Smith said. "They played with a lot of confidence defensively. That was a big time play [on Towey's ball]. The play right after it was another nice play up the middle on Mercurio's ball. They played like they were playing to win the game. I don't think we played any differently than that. But when you've got a guy on the mound who's pounding the zone like he was, and you give a team a lead, that is a big opportunity to win a ball game."
Bearkats starter Caleb Smith (1-3) earned the win after allowing two runs on six hits with five strikeouts in seven innings. Simms picked up his third save, posting two innings while allowing one hit with a strikeout.
Spicer (1-1) took the loss for Baylor, surrendering four runs (three earned) on four hits and two walks with a strikeout in four innings.
The teams complete a two-game series tomorrow in Huntsville, Texas with a 6:30 p.m. CT contest before the Bears open Big 12 play this weekend at Oklahoma State. BU LHP Sterling Wynn (0-1, 8.10 ERA) will matchup against SHSU RHP Tyler Eppler (1-0, 5.11 ERA).
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