WACO, Texas – Baylor put together its best offensive inning of the season by scoring nine runs in the second to fuel an 11-1 win by run rule over West Virginia on Sunday afternoon at Baylor Ballpark. The victory gave the Bears (16-16, 5-3 Big 12) the series in the teams' first-ever meeting, put them at .500 for the first time since March 8 and is their fifth win in the last six games.
The second inning started with Mitch Price's first career homer and seven more hits followed, leading to eight more runs. Two runs scored on a Cal Towey single that was booted in center field and a Nathan Orf single. Then the Bears loaded the bases twice and cashed in with a two-run single by Grayson Porter and two-run double by Jake Miller. Brett Doe followed Miller's hit with a two-run double of his own to cap the scoring. Both Miller and Doe had two hits apiece in the rally.
"[WVU starter John Means] is not a softy," said BU Head Coach Steve Smith. "The guy was throwing in the upper 80s but wanted to throw more off-speed stuff and turn himself into a fly ball pitcher, and today's not a day you want to be a fly ball guy. We got some breaks during that inning. We hit two balls, Cal had one and [Jake Miller] had one, that got in front of the outfielders because they were playing so deep because of the wind. That's what happens. You back up to cut off doubles and you open up the middle of the field. It was going our way today."
With BU starter Austin Stone (2-2) giving up just one base runner in his first two innings, he was able to get into even more of a rhythm with the 9-0 lead. The sophomore ended up with his longest start of his career, throwing six innings while allowing four hits and two walks with three strikeouts in the win. The only of his 72 pitches that was a blemish on the day was a homer by Ryan McBroom with two outs in the fourth inning.
"Austin's got as good an arm as anyone we have," Smith said. "In his defense, on that home run, he got the first two guys out on first pitches. If he had thrown a breaking ball there we all would've been barking at him. So he threw a first-pitch fastball and the guy's swinging. They're not going miss their plane today so they're up there hacking, and he got the home run. But they hit some balls hard and he knows that. We made some nice plays behind us and they hit some balls right at us."
In the seventh inning, Baylor put an early end to the game after scoring on another Orf single and Porter bases-loaded hit-by-pitch. The win by run rule marked BU's second of the season.
Knocking 10 or more hits in all three games against the Mountaineers (17-15, 4-5 Big 12), and doing so for the first time all season, the Baylor offense is heating up with the weather. With a .369 team batting average in the series, Miller led the way by hitting .545. Orf and Doe hit .500 while Towey hit .455, Lawton Langford .444 and Porter .400 with eight RBI.
For the game, Orf paced the offense by tying a career high with four hits to go with two RBI and a run scored. Towey had three hits with two runs scored. Porter drove in three for the second straight game and was 1-for-3 with two walks. Miller and Doe each had two hits, two RBI and a run scored.
Taking the loss for WVU was starter John Means (3-2), who entered the game with a 1.86 ERA in 38.2 innings and nine walks. He left with a 3.15 ERA, gave up his first homer of the season and walked four. In 1.1 innings of work, he allowed six runs on seven hits and the four walks while striking out one.
Baylor continues its season-long 11-game home stand on Tuesday with a 6:35 p.m. CT first pitch against UT Arlington before hosting a three-game series versus No. 10 Oklahoma next weekend to complete the home stand.
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