WACO, TX — The Bears jumped out to a lead in the first inning with a leadoff home run from Nick Loftin, his first of two homers on the day, and never looked back, defeating visiting Abilene Christian, 6-3 on Wednesday evening at Baylor Ballpark.
The Bears (11-4) blasted three home runs on the day, two off the bat of Loftin, his first two of the season, and a third off the bat of Josh Bissonette, as they scored six runs on eight hits to earn the win. Both Loftin and Bissonette led the team with two RBIs apiece, while Andy Thomas and Chase Wehsener each drove in one apiece.
On the mound, the Bears were looked sharp in a predetermined staff day. Junior righty Luke Boyd got his first start since February 2017 and took advantage, facing the minimum in two innings of work and tying his career-high with four strikeouts. He was followed by Blake Helton, who put up a zero in a career-high three innings of work. From there, Jacob Ashkinos, Ryan Leckich, Daniel Caruso and Kyle Hill each threw one inning of work. Hill earned his second save of the year in the victory.
Loftin led off the game by taking a 1-0 offering from ACU (9-7) starter Drew Hanson over the left field wall to give the Bears the early 1-0 lead. From there they did not look back and never trailed en route to victory.
Loftin made it a 2-0 game all by himself with his second home run of the game, another solo shot, this time to lead off the third inning. It is his first-career multi-home run game.
The Wildcats got one back in the sixth inning with a solo shot by Dalton Dunn off reliever Ashkinos, making it a 2-1 game.
The Bears answered right back, however, scoring four runs on five hits as the Bears mounted a two-out rally, plating all four runs with two outs. Thomas first came through with an RBI single and then Bissonette blasted his second homer of the year, a two-run shot to plate the second and third runs of the inning. Wehsener brought home the fourth run of the inning on an RBI double, making it 6-1 Bears.
The Wildcats added two more runs in the eighth inning as Koby Claborn hit a two-run home run, but that was all the Bears would allow, as Daniel Caruso got out of the inning and Hill entered in the ninth to collect the save.
*Boyd earned his first win of the season to improve to 1-0 on the year.
*Today’s start for Boyd was his first since Feb. 20, 2017, which also was the last win that he earned. Overall, he is 2-0 for his career.
*Boyd’s four strikeouts tied his career-high mark.
*Helton threw a career-long 3.0 innings of work.
*Hill earned his second save of the season, third of his career.
*Hill had one strikeout on the night, now has 113 career strikeouts and is now tied for seventh-most all-time program history. He is one away from sole possession of seventh place.
*Loftin was the only Bear to have a multi-hit performance, with two home runs on the day.
*Loftin’s home runs were his first and second of the season.
*Bissonette blasted his second home run of the year, a two-run shot in the sixth inning.
*Loftin and Bissonette each had a team-high 2 RBI on the day.
*Leckich made his eighth appearance of the season, tying with Jimmy Winston for the most on the team.
*Hill made his seventh appearance of the season, Caruso made his sixth appearance of the year, while Ashkinos made his fourth and Helton made his third.
*Langeliers extended his on-base streak to 18 games, going back to the 2018 season.
*Davis Wendzel extended his current team-high hitting streak to five games.
*Wendzel has now hit safely in 14 of 15 games on the year.
*A. Thomas and Wehsener each had one RBI on the day.
*The Bears have had at least one extra base hit in 14 of 15 games this year.
STAT OF THE DAY
2 – Nick Loftin, who coincidentally wears jersey No. 2, blasted two home runs on the day for the first time in his career. Both were solo shots, coming in the first and third innings.
QUOTES OF THE DAY
On the win…
“It was really great to see so many of our arms go out there and have success tonight. I was really happy with the way the bullpen performed. At the plate, I thought we had some good at bats and I like the way we swung the bat.
- Baylor head coach Steve Rodriguez
The Bears continue with their seven-game homestand as they open up a three-game series with Cal Poly on Friday, March 15 at 6:35 p.m. CT at Baylor Ballpark. The game will be streamed live on facebook.com/baylorbaseball.
For tickets to home games, visit: https://baylorbears.com/sports/2018/9/11/tickets.aspx [baylorbears.com]. For updates on the program follow @baylorbaseball on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.