STILLWATER, Okla. – In recent games, Baylor’s hitters have carried a heavy load. On Saturday, the mound men picked up the slack.
Montana Parsons produced six shutout innings and the bullpen made things interesting before eventually finishing things off, as the Bears took down Oklahoma State, 3-2, to claim their third series win in their last four weekends of action. Baylor (31-17, 10-10) evened up its Big 12 record, and will go for its first road conference sweep since April 13-15, 2012, against Kansas State.
Baylor coach Steve Rodriguez said what makes Parsons special is his unique ability to stay cool even the most heated of moments.
“Even if guys are on base, I don’t think his heart rate ever gets above 75,” Rodriguez said. “That’s what makes him really good, is that he’s able to maintain his composure, stay under control. A lot of guys, their heart rate will be going all over the place, but it doesn’t do that for him. He knows guys are going to get hits on good pitches.”
Baylor scored all three of its runs in the fourth inning. Shea Langeliers led off the inning with a single. Two outs later, Aaron Dodson made sure Langeliers wouldn’t be stranded when he crunched a two-run home run over the Reynolds Stadium wall in left-center.
Yet the Bears weren’t done, as freshman Davis Wendzel made it back-it-back jacks with a solo blast down the left-field line. The homers continued a muscle-flexing trend for the Bears, who have 22 homers in their past 21 games.
Dodson was a switch-hitter until a month ago, when Baylor’s coaches moved him strictly to the left side. The change has paid off, as Saturday’s round-tripper extended his career-best total to eight on the year.
“The biggest thing on Doddy is that he’s been receptive to coaching,” Rodriguez said. “We haven’t known him that long, but for him to trust us to try to go left on left … I’m really happy when guys do that.”
Parsons (5-2) pitched a beauty for the Bears. The junior right-hander showed a Houdini-like ability to escape trouble. Oklahoma State (24-23, 6-13) put the leadoff batter aboard in four of the six innings that Parsons pitched, but in each of those instances Parsons battled back to get out of the inning.
He used the strikeout as a weapon, fanning six Cowboys, but also received some aid from his sure-handed defensive mates. In the sixth, Parsons issued a leadoff walk to freshman second baseman Ryan Cash, but the OSU runner was later erased when Baylor turned a 5-4-3 double play.
Parsons especially praised the heady play of second baseman Josh Bissonette.
The Cowboys forced the issue, breaking up the shutout by getting to Baylor’s bullpen in the seventh. Alex Phillips surrendered a two-run homer to Trevor Boone, and OSU pulled to within 3-2.
But OSU couldn’t complete the comeback. Kyle Hill issued a four-pitch walk to start the eighth inning, but rebounded to pick up a pair of outs before handing off to Troy Montemayor. The BU closer nailed down the third out of the eighth and then closed out the win in the ninth with a little help from his defense. Montemayor yielded a one-out walk to OSU’s Cade Cabbiness to bring the winning run to the plate.
No worry – as Montemayor induced a ground ball that led to another 5-4-3 double play to seal the win and give the closer his 11th save of the year.
Baylor will go for the sweep in Sunday’s 1 p.m. finale. Cody Bradford (5-4, 4.57) gets the starting nod on the mound for Baylor opposite OSU’s Blake Battenfield (2-4, 4.91). The game will be televised on Fox College Sports.
“A road win is nice, a road sweep is even better,” Rodriguez said. “We’re going to go get some food in our stomachs, get a good night’s sleep and come out tomorrow ready to finish it off.”