WACO (June 1, 2012) - Baylor carried a 2-0 lead to the sixth inning, but Oral Roberts took advantage of three doubles and an error to score three runs, and the Golden Eagles held on to win 4-2 in the opening round of the NCAA Waco Regional on Friday night at Baylor Ballpark.
“The game went pretty much as I would have anticipated it to go,” head coach Steve Smith said. “We pitched it well enough to win, and they obviously pitched it well enough. It came down to a few timely hits, or a lack there of, and maybe a couple of errors, that not necessarily all lead to runs, but it led to longer innings and more pitches and things like that. It was exactly what I thought it would be.”
Baylor (44-15) will face UT Arlington (36-24) in an elimination game at 2 p.m. Saturday, and the Bears will have to win four straight games to win the Waco Regional.
“It is no different tomorrow than it has been all year,” Smith said. “We came to play one game and play it one pitch at a time. That is just how these guys have played, and it is how they played tonight. It is the only way to play this game and really be successful.”
Oral Roberts (38-23) got strong pitching from starter Drew Bowen and reliever Joe Spring to get the win. Bowen (7-2) allowed two runs on six hits in 6.0 innings to get the win, and Spring held off a late Baylor rally and picked up a save with 3.0 shutout innings of relief.
The Bears jumped out to an early lead with a run in the bottom of the first, but Bowen limited the damage by escaping a bases-loaded, one-out jam. Nathan Orf led off with a walk, Lawton Langford singled through the right side on a hit-and-run, and Logan Vick followed with a sacrifice fly to get the Bears on the board.
Josh Ludy then singled, and Max Muncy drew a walk to load the bases, but Bowen got Dan Evatt to fly out to shallow right field and struck out Cal Towey to end the inning.
ORU loaded the bases with one out in the second inning on two singles and an error, but Turley got a grounder for a force out at the plate and struck out Nate Goro to escape the jam.
Vick led off the third inning with a drive to deep right field that was caught at the wall, but on the next pitch Ludy hammered a no-doubt home run over the left-field wall to extend Baylor’s lead to 2-0.
The Golden Eagles’ three-run sixth started with a leadoff double, and one out later, Bennett Pickar cut Baylor’s lead to 2-1 with a RBI double. Turley got a flyout for the second out of the inning, and just missed on a two-strike pitch to Logan Domenico before giving up a looping double to right-center field that tied the game.
ORU went in front when Brandon Healy bounced an infield single up the middle and Langford’s throw home went wide, allowing Domenico to score an unearned run. Goro added an insurance run with a two-out solo homer in the eighth inning to cap the scoring at 4-2.
Baylor had chances in the late innings, but the Bears couldn’t scratch across a run. Evatt hit a triple to left-center field that bounced off the wall, just shy of a home run, and he was stranded at third in the eighth. The Bears put two runners on with two outs in the ninth and had Vick at the plate as the potential winning run, but Spring got him to ground out to end the game.
Langford, Ludy and Towey had two hits apiece for the Bears, and Orf drew three walks out of the leadoff spot. Domenico, Jared Schlehuber and Brandon King each had two hits for ORU. Turley (9-1) took his first loss of the season after allowing two earned runs in 5.2 innings.
The Bears are expected to start senior right-handed pitcher Trent Blank in Saturday’s elimination game against UT Arlington right-handed pitcher John Beck.