LAWRENCE, Kan. – Missed opportunities led to a Baylor 6-5 walk-off loss to Kansas as the Bears stranded 10 runners in another cold, damp game Saturday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark. The setback secured just the fourth series loss to Kansas (29-18, 11-9 Big 12) for Baylor (25-22, 11-8 Big 12) in 17 all-time series.
The Bears compiled 16 hits on the day but were only able to turn in five runs. They came up empty on three scoring chances in the first, fourth and seventh innings. When Baylor did score, it was just one run each time.
"We got out-competed and we didn't play well," said BU Head Coach Steve Smith. "Anytime you get 16 hits and don't win the ball game you have to screw it up quite a few times, and we did. Give Kansas credit, they competed well."
In the second, Brett Doe notched an RBI single with two outs to give BU a 1-0 lead. But a runner was left on second base. After a Jake Miller sacrifice fly in the third made it a 2-2 game, the Bears had a two-out rally end on a play at the plate as Doe was thrown out on a single to left field by Nathan Orf.
Baylor loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, but only scored one run on an Adam Toth sacrifice fly to once again knot the game, 3-3.
Following another Kansas run, Orf took measures into his own hands to tie the game again. He singled with two outs and then tried to steal second base. A good throw had him out easily but his slide kicked the ball out of the glove. As the ball scampered away, Orf was able to take two extra bases to score.
The Bears had a great chance to add runs in the seventh as Miller singled and Duncan Wendel doubled with one out. But a base running gaffe ended the inning after Toth grounded sharply to first base. Wendel got caught too far off second base, and a run-down ensued, resulting in Miller being tagged out at home.
Perhaps the most costly inning was in the eighth as Baylor had the bases loaded with no outs for No. 2-3-4 hitters Orf, Cal Towey and Miller. But only one run scored as Orf grounded into a double play before Towey went down looking.
"What's frustrating is to have bases loaded and nobody out and have your best guy hit into a double play," Smith said. "That's the game right there. They kind of butchered it up a little bit on the defensive side with the bunts. We had a chance but didn't get enough out of it. When you're playing on the road, you can't leave it to chance. There were just so many things throughout the ball game that were just discouraging from a coaching standpoint."
In to protect a 5-4 lead, Crayton Bare (5-2) had a rare rough outing. The senior, who had saved three of BU's last four games, was touched for five hits for the first time all season and allowed multiple runs for the first time since March 2, a span of 17 appearances. Both runs he gave up were with two outs. Jordan Dreiling drove in the tying run in the eighth on a single that was just off the glove on Miller's diving attempt. A pair of two-out singles in the ninth set up Kevin Kuntz's walk-off single up the middle on a 0-2 count.
After earning the save last night, Jordan Piche' picked up the win (6-2) following two innings of relief.
The teams wrap the series tomorrow at 1 p.m. CT. Both sides have yet to determine a starting pitcher for the finale.
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