WACO, Texas – No. 12/15 Baylor baseball finished off a four-game sweep of the Holy Cross Crusaders with a 6-1 win Sunday afternoon at Baylor Ballpark.
Sophomore outfielder Davion Downey turned in a 2-for-3 performance with a two-run home run to see the Bears improve to 4-0 on the young season.
The Bears struck first in the bottom of the fourth inning when Cole Haring drove in Downey with a single for the game’s first run. Josh Bissonette added an RBI knock later in the inning to push the score to 2-0.
The Crusaders (0-4) scored their only run of the game in the fifth inning off a bases loaded walk surrendered by Baylor starter Anderson Needham.
The freshman right-hander Needham took the hill for the first time in his collegiate career and gave the Bears 4.2 quality innings with six strikeouts. He allowed just the one run on two hits and walked four batters.
Baylor hung a three-spot on the scoreboard in the bottom of the seventh inning after four batters strung together hits. Nick Loftin singled and later scored on a Davis Wendzel double, Downey homered, and Ryan Bertelsman picked up his only base hit of the day.
There was more in store for the Bears in the eighth as Bissonette tallied his second knock, Kyle Harper recorded his first career hit, a double, and Richard Cunningham picked up an RBI with a groundout to make it 6-1.
The bullpen duo of lefty Ryan Leckich and Luke Boyd bridged the way for Loftin to take over on the mound in the ninth. In his third career pitching appearance, Loftin threw a scoreless inning and struck out one batter.
The win completes Baylor’s four-game sweep of Holy Cross, the Bears’ first four-game sweep since 2011 when they defeated Louisiana Tech in all four games.
*Baylor improves to 99-73 under fourth-year head coach Steve Rodriguez. Coach Rod will go for win No. 100 Tuesday night at Texas State.
*The opening weekend series sweep is the Bears’ first since defeating Niagara in three games on Feb. 17-18, 2017. Baylor started the 2017 season 10-0 and won 15 of their first 17.
*This is Baylor’s first four-game series sweep since taking all four from Louisiana Tech on March 10-13, 2011.
*The last time the Bears opened a season 4-0 was in 2017 when they started 10-0.
*Freshman RHP Anderson Needham made his collegiate debut, tossing 4.2 innings and racking up six strikeouts. He only allowed one run on two hits and walked four batters.
*Nick Loftin made his third-career appearance on the mound, throwing a scoreless ninth inning and picking up one punchout.
*Davion Downey hit his first home run of the season and fifth of his career.
*Kyle Harper recorded his first career hit and first career caught stealing.
*Cole Haring stole two bases, a career best.
*Baylor was hit-by-a-pitch twice today, moving the season total to 12 on the season.
*Josh Bissonette extended his on-base streak to 11 games going back to last season.
*Loftin extended his on-base streak to 11 games going back to last season.
*Downey has a seven-game on-base streak and six-game hit streak going back to last season.
*Loftin and Downey recorded their third multi-hit games of the season and Bissonette tallied his second multi-hit game of the year.
STAT OF THE DAY
.538 – Davion Downey raised his batting average to .538 after his 2-for-3 day at the plate.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
On making his collegiate debut…
“I was definitely more nervous in the bullpen leading up to it, just getting ready, but when I stepped out on the field and threw that first strike, everything just came together and started feeling great.”
- Baylor freshman RHP Anderson Needham
The Bears will travel to San Marcos for a Tuesday night tilt with Texas State at 6:00 p.m.
For tickets, visit: https://baylorbears.com/sports/2018/9/11/tickets.aspx [baylorbears.com]. For updates on the program follow @baylorbaseball on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.