HOUSTON – A day after Baylor struggled on
the mound, the Bears (5-6) received a valiant effort by redshirt senior
RHP Max Garner in a 9-2 win over No. 12 Rice in the finale of the 2013
Astros Foundation College Classic at Minute
Maid Park Sunday
evening. Garner frustrated the Owls (6-5) for 8.1 innings and racked up
eight strikeouts while being backed up by 12 hits and nine runs from
Garner's first pitch was not a sign of things to
come as it hit Rice leadoff hitter Leon Byrd. Instead, it was the
opposite as Garner tamed the Owls in a career-long 8.1-inning effort,
allowing two runs on six hits and three walks. Giving
Baylor its longest start of the season, just two days after Dillon
Newman threw seven strong, Garner's two runs given up came on the last
pitch he threw – a two-run homer to Skyler Ewing. Prior to that he had
thrown 8.1 shutout frames.
"What a difference a day makes," said Baylor Head
Coach Steve Smith. "That's the way the game is. A lot is predicated on
how you pitch. That's just the nature of our game. Max was
outstanding. He gave up a leadoff hit batter to start
the game and was really, really solid after that. His pitch count was
great, he didn't overthrow. He just did a lot of things so well. I
hated to see him lose the shutout in the ninth."
Garner faced trouble in the first and fifth innings
but stayed composed to walk away unscathed both times. With two outs
and Byrd on third in the first, Garner froze Michael Aquino with a
fastball on the outside corner. Then in the fifth
after two walks were aboard, he induced a groundout and got Michael
Ratterree swinging to end it.
The game actually had a pitcher's duel feel to it
until the fifth inning. With two on and two outs, Lawton Langford roped
a single and Cal Towey followed with a two-run double to left-center
that kept carrying over the Rice outfield.
Up 3-0, Baylor opened up the game with three more
in the sixth on a two-out, three-run homer by Logan Brown. The first
home run of his career, Brown's blast cleared the Crawford Boxes in left
field and was easily the hardest hit ball in
The Bears poured it on in the ninth with RBI singles from Nathan Orf, Adam Toth and Duncan Wendel.
In BU's third straight victory over Rice, Garner
earned his first win of the season (1-2) while Rice RHP John Simms took
his first loss (3-1) after giving up six runs (three earned) on seven
hits and three walks with seven strikeouts in
The Baylor offense received multiple-hit
performances from Orf, Towey, Wendel and Brown. Orf was 2-for-4 with
two runs and an RBI. Towey was 3-for-4 with two RBI, a run and walk.
Wendel was 2-for-5 with a run and RBI. Brown was 2-for-4
with a career-high three RBI, scored two runs and had a triple to go
with his long ball.
"We had a lot of good, quality at-bats, got some
pretty timely hits," Smith said. "Cal had one early in the game.
Obviously, the three-run home run by Logan – he had three or four
quality at-bats, got the homer and triple. He played
really well today.
He hit the ball hard every time up. We had some other guys do the
same. Up and down the lineup our at-bats were pretty good tonight against a pretty good guy in [John] Simms."
Four Bears earned AFCC All-Tournament honors, led
by the Most Outstanding Player in Towey. The senior third baseman went
6-for-10 in three games with six RBI, four runs, three walks, two
doubles and a triple. Along the way, he extended
his career-high streak of games with an RBI to seven and has multiple
RBI in six of his last seven games.
Joining Towey on the All-Tournament team were Orf,
Garner and Newman. Orf went 5-for-10 with five runs, three RBI, a
double and walk. Garner compiled a 2.16 ERA and was 1-0 in his only
appearance. Newman shutout California for seven
innings to pick up a win in his only appearance, allowing just three
hits and no walks with eight strikeouts.
With a 2-1 showing in the tournament for the third
straight time in their eighth appearance, the Bears improved to 13-11
all-time at the 13-year-old AFCC. Baylor also had the most
All-Tournament selections in a tournament that featured
No.1 North Carolina, No. 12 Rice, No. 30 Texas A&M, California and
Baylor returns home with a quick turnaround to
start a five-game home stand, beginning with a 6:35 p.m. CT contest
against Louisiana Tech at Baylor Ballpark on Tuesday, March 5. The Bears also play the Bulldogs Wednesday at 4:05 p.m. before
a three-game weekend set with Illinois.
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