WACO (March 17, 2012) – Logan Vick’s third hit of the game brought home Cal Towey with the game-winning run in the eighth inning, and Baylor clinched a series win with a 4-3 victory over Texas Tech on Saturday afternoon at Baylor Ballpark.
Baylor (13-7, 2-0 Big 12) won the first two games of a conference series for the first time since sweeping Oklahoma State in the final Big 12 series of the 2010 season. Brad Kuntz (2-2) picked up the win by retiring all six batters faced in 2.0 perfect innings of relief.
“Both teams played very well and competed well,” head coach Steve Smith said. “Both of us had a few opportunities that we didn’t cash in on, and that’s because the defensive side and the pitchers are working hard and making pitches. It was a well-played game.”
Towey scored on Vick’s second double of the game, though Vick wasn’t credited with a RBI when Jamodrick McGruder was charged with an error fielding the ball down the right-field line.
Vick also doubled and scored in the sixth inning, giving him a Big 12-best 10 doubles on the season, and he added a single and a stolen base in the second inning.
The game went back and forth, as Texas Tech (12-7, 0-2 Big 12) took a 1-0 lead in the fourth and a 2-1 lead in the third, but the Bears were quick to answer with runs of their own. Baylor tied it at 1-1 when Lawton Langford drove in Michael Howard with a RBI single in the fifth, but Tech went back in front on Barrett Barnes’ two-out single in the sixth.
Towey led off the bottom half of the sixth with a bunt single and scored when Vick doubled down the right-field line. Josh Ludy then flew out to left field, but Vick showed aggressive base running by tagging up and moving to third base. That proved crucial when he scored on Joey Hainsfurther’s grounder to first base to give the Bears a 3-2 lead.
Tech took advantage of a leadoff walk to tie the game in the seventh. Baylor starter Trent Blank walked Reid Redman and then turned the ball over to Dillon Newman out of the bullpen. Blank didn’t factor in the decision after allowing three runs on five hits in 6.0 innings.
Redman advanced to third on a Bryant Burleson single and scored on a safety squeeze bunt from Brennan Moore to tie the game at 3-3.
The Red Raiders had a chance to take the lead in the eighth after the first two batters reached on a single and a walk. Newman handed the ball to Kuntz, who stranded the runners by getting two flyouts and a strikeout.
Towey singled through the right side leading off the eighth and Vick then delivered his game-winning double. Vick advanced to third on McGruder’s error, and Baylor attempted to bring him home on a suicide squeeze bunt, but Hainsfurther was only able to foul off an inside pitch. Two pitches later Vick was thrown out at the plate on Hainsfurther’s ground ball to third base.
Kuntz worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning to close out the win. He needed only 22 pitches to retire all six batters faced in the eighth and ninth innings.
Texas Tech used five pitchers in the game, as starter John Neely last 4.1 innings. Jerad McCrummen (0-1) took the loss after allowing a run on two hits in 0.2 inning.
Vick led the Bears with three hits, and Towey, Langford and Howard added two hits apiece. Scott LeJeune had Tech’s only multi-hit game, finishing 2-for-3 with a walk and one RBI.
Baylor looks for its first Big 12 series sweep since 2010 when the Bears and Red Raiders meet for the series finale at 1:05 p.m. Sunday at Baylor Ballpark. Junior Max Garner is expected to start on the mound for Baylor against Texas Tech’s Shane Broyles.
Notes: Baylor clinched a Big 12 series win with wins in the first two games for the first time since sweeping Oklahoma State May 21-23, 2010 … Cal Towey (8 games), Logan Vick (4 games) and Lawton Langford (4 games) extended hitting streaks ... Vick (10 games), Orf (9 games) and Towey (8 games) extended on-base streaks … Max Muncy has reached base safely in 11 consecutive Big 12 games dating back to the 2011 season … Orf was hit by a pitch for the 8th time this season – he needs only two more to crack Baylor’s single-season top 10 … Muncy made his 102nd consecutive start at first base; he has started 138 of 139 games since joining the Baylor program … Muncy tripled for the 2nd time this season and the 5th time in his career … Vick doubled twice giving him a Big 12-best 10 doubles on the season … Baylor is now 73-74 in the all-time series against Texas Tech, including a 46-27 record in games played in Waco and a 26-33 mark in the Steve Smith era … Baylor is 11-3 at home this season and 49-21 in its last 70 games at Baylor Ballpark, including 21-12 in Big 12 conference games.