COLUMBIA, Mo. (April 6, 2012) -- Trent Blank allowed only an unearned run in 6.0 innings to lead Baylor to its 13th straight win with a 5-3 victory over Missouri on Friday night at Taylor Stadium.
With the win, Baylor (24-7, 11-0 Big 12) clinched its fourth straight Big 12 series win. The Bears’ 11-0 start in conference play is four wins better than the previous longest winning streak to start a Big 12 season; Texas started 7-0 in 1999.
Blank (8-0) won his 10th straight decision dating back to last season by allowing an unearned run on five hits with no walks and three strikeouts in 6.0 innings. He lowered his season ERA to 1.67 over 54.0 innings. Max Garner pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn his second save in as many nights for the Bears.
“We let him down a couple times defensively, but Trent survived,” head coach Steve Smith said. “He didn’t give in, and I applaud our whole team for that. We survived some assaults. They kept coming at us, we weren’t getting breaks, but you’ve just got to be able to weather the storm and stay at it. I think we did a nice job of that, and I’m proud of our guys for it.”
Baylor got on the board quickly when Nathan Orf led off the game with a solo home run. It was the Bears’ first home run leading off a game since Logan Vick did so against Illinois-Chicago on March 14, 2010. Orf was a sophomore on that Illinois-Chicago team, and this is his first trip back to his home state as a member of the Bears.
Blank allowed a leadoff double to Blake Brown in the bottom of the first, but he got the next three batters to escape unscathed and start a string of 13 consecutive batters retired. Missouri (16-13, 3-5 Big 12) tied the game with the help of a defensive miscue in the bottom of the fifth.
The Tigers hit three straight singles to load the bases with one out, and Dillon Everett’s fly ball to shallow right field was dropped by Adam Toth, allowing Ben Turner to score the tying run. Blank worked out of the jam by getting the next two batters, and the Bears quickly regained the lead in their next trip to the plate.
Lawton Langford led off the sixth with a single and moved to third when Max Muncy followed with a single. Muncy was able to take second base when Missouri tried to get Langford going to third, and Josh Ludy followed with a two-run single to put the Bears back in front. Cal Towey added a two-out RBI double to give the Bears a 4-1 lead.
Toth reached on an error leading off the seventh, stole second base and scored when Langford singled for the second time in as many innings to give the Bears an insurance run with a 5-1 advantage.
Blank turned the ball over to the bullpen to start the bottom of the seventh, and Missouri took advantage of four walks and an infield single to score a pair of runs in the inning, but Tyler Bremer got Turner to ground out with the bases loaded to keep the Bears in front 5-3.
Bremer worked around a one-out walk in a scoreless eighth, and Garner struck out two in the ninth to close out the win. Langford and Orf each had two hits, one run and one RBI for the Bears.
Scott Sommerfeld had the Tigers’ only multi-hit game in a 2-for-5 effort with three strikeouts. Missouri starting pitcher Blake Holovach (5-1) took his first loss of the season by allowing four runs on nine hits in 5.2 innings.
Baylor will look for its fourth consecutive Big 12 series sweep when the Bears and Tigers meet for the series finale at 11 a.m. Saturday. Baylor hasn’t yet announced a starting pitcher, but Missouri is expected to start right-handed pitcher Jeff Emens.