WACO, TX — The No.15-ranked Baylor baseball team extended its winning streak to six games after taking both ends of a doubleheader over Kansas State Saturday at Baylor Ballpark.
The Bears finished off a 4-3 win from Friday night’s suspended series opener and returned to the diamond to take Saturday’s regularly scheduled game 11-6.
Baylor (32-12, 14-5 Big 12) used home runs from Nick Loftin and Andy Thomas between the two games to down the Wildcats (22-26, 6-11 Big 12) and maintain its spot atop the Big 12 standings.
In Friday night’s series opener, the Bears made two uncharacteristic errors in the first inning that the Wildcats took full advantage of, as Terrence Spurlin hit a three-run homer with two outs to put the Bears in a 3-0 hole early.
The Bears answered back in the bottom of the first inning, as Thomas delivered a two-out bloop single to pull the Bears within one, 3-1.
Baylor starter Paul Dickens started to cruise after the first, facing the minimum in the second and third, and following with zeros in the fourth and fifth innings.
The Bears tied the ballgame up in the bottom of the fifth inning, as Loftin connected on his sixth homer of the year, a two-run shot to make it a 3-3 ballgame before the first weather delay of the game. After Loftin's homer, the game was delayed for 56 minutes due to lightning.
The game picked back up in the bottom of the fifth with new pitchers for both sides. Baylor's LHP Ryan Leckich took over in the top of the sixth and put up a zero, but play was stopped again in the bottom of the sixth and would be suspended for the next day.
Upon resuming play on Saturday, Josh Bissonette strolled to the plate with two men already aboard and singled to load the bases for the Bears. K-State reliever Mitch Zubradt then walked Cole Weaver that allowed the go-ahead run to score and made it to 4-3, Bears.
From there, the Baylor bullpen put up three zeros as Leckich, Luke Boyd and Kyle Hill combined to shut down the Wildcats’ offense. Leckich earned the win and improved to 4-0. Hill tallied four strikeouts in 1.2 scoreless innings and picked up his seventh save of the season in the victory.
In game two, the Bears had no delay in getting on the scoreboard, putting a five-spot up in the bottom of the first. Richard Cunningham singled in a run and later scored on a two-run homer from Thomas. Bissonette added an RBI double and the Bears got one more off a Kansas State error.
Kansas State answered back with a pair of runs in the top of the second, but BU starter Jimmy Winston was able to limit the damage and then put up zeros in the next two frames to see a 5-2 Baylor lead through to the bottom of the fourth inning.
Cole Haring extended the Bears lead with an RBI knock in the bottom of the fourth and Wildcats starter Caleb Littlejim was called for a balk that scored Thomas and made it 7-2. After K-State went to the bullpen, the Bears added another three runs on a run-scoring single by Bissonette, a wild pitch, and an RBI knock by Weaver to go up 10-2.
In the top of the sixth, the Wildcats chased Winston from the mound as part of a four-run inning, trimming the Baylor advantage to 10-6. The Wildcats threatened once again in the seventh, but reliever Daniel Caruso buckled down to strikeout the side after hitting a batter and walking the next.
Caruso carried that momentum into the eighth as he put up another zero and collected two more K’s, totaling a career-high five punchouts in his outing. Thomas provided an insurance run with an RBI single in the bottom of the inning before Boyd came on to shut things down in the ninth.
*Baylor has won six games in a row. It’s the Bears’ third winning streak of at least six games this season.
*After sitting through a 56-minute rain delay, game one between the Bears and Wildcats was suspended Friday night and then resumed on Saturday.
*Game one’s come-from-behind victory was Baylor’s 16th comeback win of 2019.
*The Bears are now 21-6 when scoring first this year, as they did in game two.
*Baylor has scored double-digit runs in 15 games this season.
*The Bears have tallied double-digit hits in 27 games this season, and have outhit their opponents in 29-of-32 victories this year.
*145 of Baylor's 321 total runs in 2019 have come with two outs, including eight of Baylor’s 15 total runs on Saturday.
*The Bears have hit 182 home runs in 211 games under fourth-year head coach Steve Rodriguez, including 44 homers in 44 games this season.
*Josh Bissonette has collected 10 hits over the course of his last four games. He’s hitting 10-for-19 for a .526 clip over that stretch.
*Richard Cunningham extended his hit streak to 16 games.
*Andy Thomas extended his hit streak to 16 games.
*Thomas reached base in all five of his plate appearances in game two.
*Shea Langeliers has a 14-game hit streak.
*Davion Downey has a five-game on-base streak.
*Cole Weaver has a five-game on-base streak.
*Paul Dickens has recorded at least five strikeouts in each of his last 10 starts.
*Baylor has won each of Jimmy Winston’s last three starts and scored 53 runs in the last 37.2 innings that Winston has been on the mound.
*Ryan Leckich made his team-leading 24th appearance of the season. He threw 2.1 scoreless innings in game one, his 20th scoreless outing of the year and eighth consecutive scoreless appearance, and picked up his fourth win of the season.
*Daniel Caruso made his 21st appearance of the season, throwing two scoreless in game two. He struck out five batters, a career high.
*Luke Boyd appeared in both games, moving his total to 21 outings on the year.
*Kyle Hill made his 21st appearance of the season, going 1.2 scoreless innings and striking out four in game one. He added his seventh save of the season, remaining perfect in seven save opportunities in 2019.
*Hill is now tied for 3rd all-time on Baylor’s career appearances leaderboard (91).
*Hill is in fourth place on Baylor’s career strikeouts-in-relief leaderboard (137).
*Hill is on a 30.2 scoreless inning streak dating back to the 2018 season, the longest since Logan Verrett’s streak of 28 scoreless innings in 2011.
*Hill now has 22 consecutive scoreless outings dating back to the 2018 season.
STAT OF THE DAY
8 – Eight of the last nine recorded outs in game two were strikeouts, between relievers Daniel Caruso and Luke Boyd.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
On having a good approach at the plate all day…
"First, the continuation game is a little nerve-racking, because you’ve got three innings and you’ve got to figure out how to score. And luckily, we were able to do it right away. And then stop them from scoring. There’s a momentum shift, and you just carry that momentum right into the next game. And our guys had really good at-bats all day today. Even some of our outs were lining out everywhere. So, all I’ve got to do is sit back and go, ‘Hey, just keep swinging it well.’ And then if we have to do some stuff, we will. But really happy with the at-bats our guys are taking lately.”
- Baylor head coach Steve Rodriguez
On the bullpen finishing strong in game two…
We’re out here a long time trying to get guys to stay energized. You kind of go down after the first game and then you’ve got to try to get back up. And it’s tough. It took Caruso a little bit of a while to find his command, and he found it, which was great. And then, of course, Luke Boyd comes in and does a phenomenal job finishing the game off. It was really outstanding.
- Baylor head coach Steve Rodriguez
The Bears and Wildcats will close out the three-game series Sunday at 12:05 p.m. at Baylor Ballpark. The game will be senior day for Josh Bissonette, Richard Cunningham, Cole Haring, Kyle Hill, TJ Raguse and Cole Weaver.