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Baylor Baseball Drops Series Opener at Kansas, 3-2

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From Baylor Athletic's Department:

Baylor Baseball Drops Series Opener at Kansas, 3-2

 Garner goes the distance, fans career-high 10

 LAWRENCE, Kan. – A three-run fifth inning doomed Baylor in its series opener at Kansas as it led to a 3-2 loss on a cold, windy and rainy

Friday evening at Hoglund Ballpark.  The loss snapped Baylor's season-high five-game winning streak.

 Bears (25-21, 11-7 Big 12) starter Max Garner turned in a stellar performance but was handed a tough loss, falling to 3-5 on the season.  Amassing a career-high 10 strikeouts in eight innings, he did not give up a hit until the fifth inning.

 Trailing 1-0 after Jake Miller's two-out RBI double in the first, Kansas (28-18, 10-9 Big 12) led off the fifth with a Dakota Smith double on Garner's first pitch.  Three straight Jayhawks bunts then led to trouble.  First was a well-placed sacrifice bunt attempt by Connor McKay that turned into a single.  Ka'iana Eldredge followed with sacrifice bunt attempt that was fielded by BU first baseman Steve DalPorto, who charged in to field and throw home but his toss was just late.  After another sacrifice bunt, Justin Protacio delivered a two-run single to put KU in front.

 "The pitching was good," said BU Head Coach Steve Smith.  "Max, on our side, may have been as good as I've seen him all year.  He competed extremely hard all the way to the end.  We had one inning – a double, three bunts, a single – turns into three runs.  It's the way the game was."

 Garner settled down immediately after as he retired the next nine hitters.  His final line on the day: eight innings pitched, four hits allowed, three earned runs allowed, 10 strikeouts and zero walks.  The senior has now gone two straight starts without surrendering a walk and has not walked a batter in his last 18 innings.  He also has five straight starts of throwing six or more innings and allowing three runs or less, spanning 34.2 innings.

 The Bears scratched back within a run in the seventh thanks to another double by Miller, who led off the inning.  Adam Toth singled to move Miller to third, and an out later, Grayson Porter scored the run on a sacrifice fly in right field foul territory.  Toth tagged up on the play and moved to third on an error, but stayed put after Steve DalPorto walked and pinch-hitter Wes Mercurio flew out to right.

 "The two swings Jake took today were the two best I've seen him take all year," Smith said.  "He was the one guy in the offense today that seemed like he was seeing the ball well.  I do think their guys pitch it well.  They got a very timely hit from their leadoff guy, and that was the difference in the game."

 Baylor also had a chance in the ninth to tie the game.  With one out, Toth reached on an error and stole second base.  However, Duncan Wendel struck out and Porter grounded out to end the game.

 KU starter Thomas Taylor earned the win (5-1) after allowing two runs on four hits and three walks with six strikeouts in 6.2 innings.  Jordan Piche' pitched the ninth to pick up his ninth save.

 The series continues tomorrow at 2 p.m. CT and Sunday at 1 p.m.  The probable pitchers for Saturday are BU RHP Austin Stone (3-2, 2.81 ERA) and KU LHP Wes Benjamin (4-5, 4.10 ERA) while Sunday's starters for both teams have not been determined.

 

-BU-

 Notes: Baylor is 45-11 overall against Kansas, 17-8 in Lawrence and had its four-game winning streak in the series snapped … Baylor is 6-6 on Fridays and 3-7 in series openers … Adam Toth has reached base in a career-high 11 straight games … Max Garner has five straight starts with at least 6.0 innings and three or less runs allowed, covering 34.2 innings … Garner has allowed three runs or less in 11 of 12 starts this season … Garner is the second Baylor pitcher this season to have a 10 strikeout game (Austin Stone on April 27 vs. Texas).

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