FORT WORTH, TX — The No. 18 Bears took an early lead and ever looked back, defeating TCU 6-3 in the series opener on Friday evening at Lupton Stadium.
The Bears (28-12, 10-5) were led by Richard Cunningham, the only Bear to have a multi-hit performance, including a big two-out, two RBI single to break the game open in the eighth inning.
Shea Langeliers and Josh Bissonette also added to the Bears’ offense as each drove home one run apiece as the Bears capitalized on three hit by pitch, two walks and five TCU (23-17, 6-7) errors on the day.
The Bears jumped out early, taking advantage of a one-out walk and a hit-by-pitch as Langeliers drove home the first run of the game on a single.
With a 1-0 lead over TCU ace Nick Lodolo, the Bears added two more in the top of the third, taking advantage of a Horned Frog error and scoring a second on a heads-up base running play as Davis Wendzel drew the obstruction call on a run down.
Baylor starter Paul Dickens was working out of trouble the first few frames, but put up zeros until a leadoff homer for Austin Henry came in the bottom of the fourth, making it a 3-1 ballgame.
The Bears would get that run back in the top half of the fifth on a Bissonette ground out, but the Horned Frogs would plate two to pull within one, 4-3, and the Bears would go to the pen for Logan Freeman, who got out of the jam with a strikeout.
Cunningham’s two-out, two -RBI single in the top of the eighth inning broke open the game, giving the Bears some cushion with a 6-3 game.
Reliever Ryan Leckich, who entered in the bottom of the sixth to get a big strikeout with the bases full of Horned Frogs, tossed a total of two innings in relief, gave way to closer Kyle Hill in the bottom of the eighth with two outs.
Hill made quick work in the eighth, but a walk and a hit brought the game-tying run to the plate with one out before he got two more big outs to preserve the win.
Leckich earned the win in relief, his third of the year, while Hill earned his sixth save of the year. Horned Frog starter Lodolo took the loss to fall to 5-4 on the year.
*The Bears are now 18-6 in games in which they score first.
*133 of Baylor’s 279 total runs in 2019 have come with two outs, including two of six tonight.
*Davis Wendzel extended his on-base streak to 21 games and his hit streak to 12 games.
*Richard Cunningham extended his hit streak to 12 games.
*Andy Thomas extended his hit streak to 12 games.
*Langeliers has a 10-game hit streak.
*The pitching staff struck out 13 batters, the most since they struck out 16 on March 30 at Kansas.
*Kyle Hill made his 20th appearance of the year and collected his sixth save of the year.
*Ryan Leckich made his team-leading 22nd appearance of the year and earned his third win of the year to improve to 3-0.
*Starter Paul Dickens went 4.2 innings, allowing 3 runs on 6 hits with 3 walks and 7 strikeouts in his ninth save of the year.
*Logan Freeman made his fourth appearance of the year.
*The Bears got their third win of the season when not outhitting their opponent.
STAT OF THE DAY
2 – The Bears scored 2 in the third and 2 in the eighth to propel themselves to victory. The 2 runs in the eighth inning came with 2 outs and the hit by Richard Cunningham was his second hit of the day.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
On the pitching staff performance…
“Paul Dickens just had a great start for us. He got his pitch count up a little bit too high and wasn’t able to get out of the fifth inning. But our bullpen came in and were able to minimize the damage. I was really happy to watch them go in and compete and do what they’ve done all year. They [the bullpen] did a masterful job tonight. I think we walked a few too many guys, but at the same time we were able to get out of it. Sometimes you need to win ugly and tonight was one of those days.”
- Baylor head coach Steve Rodriguez
The series at TCU continues as game two is set for 3 p.m. CT on Saturday, April 27 at Lupton Stadium. It will be televised live on FOX Sports Southwest.