WACO, Texas – Behind a strong effort on the mound from Daniel Castano, Baylor baseball claimed a 4-3 win over Incarnate Word on Wednesday evening at Baylor Ballpark. The Bears' (15-13) two wins against the Cardinals (7-19) in the last two days moved their 2014 home record to a stellar 14-3.
Freshman left-handed starter Castano tossed a gem as he only ran into trouble in the second and seventh innings. In the second, a leadoff double came around to score on an error for an unearned run. In the seventh, another error and a walk had runners in scoring position after a sacrifice bunt but Castano induced a ground out and fly out to escape.
Other than those two frames, Castano retired the side in order in four of the first five innings en route to establishing new career highs of seven innings pitched and five strikeouts. After the two-out walk in the second, he sent down 11 straight UIW hitters.
Baylor answered UIW's second-inning run on a bases loaded walk by Lawton Langford that tied the game. The Bears then took the lead for good in the third as Matt Menard started the rally with a one-out walk and Aaron Dodson followed with a single. After a wild pitch scored Menard, Darryn Sheppard walked to set up Nate Goodwin's RBI single.
In the seventh, BU added an important insurance run on a Duncan Wendel double that scored Langford after a leadoff walk. The run proved to be big as the Cardinals scored on a double from Jason Stone and single from Jesse Hoover in the eighth off Drew Tolson.
However, the same duo that secured last night's win did the same for the second straight day. Doug Ashby came into the eighth to get the final out and Josh Michalec worked a flawless ninth for his 11th save.
Earning the win was Castano (3-1), who allowed just two hits and two walks. UIW starter Chris Jones (0-1) took the loss after giving up three runs on three hits and five walks in 2.2 innings.
*Baylor is now 14-3 at Baylor Ballpark this season, which is its best home start since doing the same in 2012.
*Baylor is now 2-0 all-time against Incarnate Word.
*Baylor is now 4-0 against the Southland Conference this season and 205-111-1 overall against current members of the league. The Bears also topped Lamar and Houston Baptist earlier this season.
*Brett Doe's career-long, nine-game hitting streak came to an end. It was the longest hitting streak any Baylor player has had this season by four games.
*Matt Menard extended his career-high on-base streak to eight games, but his career-high-tying four-game hitting streak ended.
*Logan Brown has now reached base in a season-high four straight games.
*Doug Ashby extended his career-high scoreless appearance streak to 12 and has yet to give up an earned run all season. During the stretch he's thrown 12.1 innings while allowing 11 hits and five walks with seven strikeouts.
*Josh Michalec is now a perfect 11-for-11 in career save chances as all 11 saves have come in 2014. He entered the week ranked third in the NCAA in saves. He's closed out 11 of Baylor's 15 wins with six of the saves coming in multi-inning efforts.
*Daniel Castano set new career highs of seven innings pitched and five strikeouts. In his first four collegiate starts, he has yet to give up more than three runs in a start. As a starter, he is 2-0 with a 1.31 ERA while allowing six runs (three earned) on 14 hits and five walks with nine strikeouts in 20.2 innings and has held hitters to a .189 batting average.
STAT OF THE GAME
11 – The amount hitters in a row Daniel Castano retired from the second through sixth innings.
TWEET OF THE GAME
@UmpireBear: Little overcast but still a beautiful day for @BaylorBaseball #GoBears #SicEm
"Daniel [Castano] pitched well today. We needed it. He ate up a lot of innings with not a ton of pitches and was effective at the same time. He's the best fourth starter we've got right now. Bullpens only keep games close. You've got to have a backend, but to get to a backend you've got to have a starter. I don't think many people are going to win games or championships with starters going three or four innings."
– BU head coach Steve Smith
Baylor hits the road this weekend to face Texas in Big 12 play. Games are slated for 7 p.m. CT on Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.