The Baylor batting lineup spent Game 2 of its series against Cal Poly waiting on the right pitch.
They’re still waiting.
Cal Poly pitchers scattered six Bears hits and the Mustangs provided just enough offense to claim a 3-1 victory over Baylor on Saturday afternoon at Baylor Ballpark.
Mustangs starter Bobby Ay and reliever Dylan Villalobos combined for six strikeouts, including four looking, to keep the Bears’ bats as quiet as the weather on a cool, still afternoon.
Baylor coach Steve Rodriguez praised his team for making the right adjustments in a 3-0 victory on Friday night. But Saturday was a different story.
“We just weren’t aggressive on the fastballs,” Rodriguez said. “Their guys kept throwing fastballs and our guys decided not to swing at them today. That’s what I told our guys, that’s very uncharacteristic of our approach and how we go about it. If we get a good fastball, we’re going to try to lay a good swing on it. We had guys not really swinging at it.”
Credit the Cal Poly pitching staff with keeping the Baylor batters off balance. Even Rodriguez was uncertain whether his charges were being too patient or if the Mustangs were just especially crafty.
“It’s one of those things as a coach, you don’t really know how to force them to swing at bad or good pitches because you don’t want them to start swinging out of the zone as well,” Rodriguez said. “But we’ll make the adjustment.”
Baylor (12-5) had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth when third baseman Davis Wendzel sent a one-out single up the middle. Right fielder Davion Downey followed by battling through an 11-pitch at bat that resulted in a single to left. That brought up catcher Shea Langeliers with the tying run on board.
But Langeliers grounded the first pitch he saw to Mustangs’ shortstop Dylan Doherty, who started a 6-4-3 double play to end the Bears’ threat.
Langeliers missed time earlier this season after having surgery on the hamate bone in his left hand. He entered the lineup as the designated hitter last weekend versus Nebraska and is catching again for the first time this season this weekend.
Still, Rodriguez said he wants to see Langeliers batting in high-stakes situations.
“(Langeliers is) still getting his timing,” Rodriguez said. “He’s come back faster than anyone I’ve seen with that injury. He’s going out there and giving me everyhting he’s got. I know that’s going to come. I thought we had the right guy up in the spot. He didn’t hit the ball well, but, I tell you what, I want that guy up again tomorrow.”
Baylor starting pitcher Jimmy Winston got out of a rough first inning in which he walked a pair and gave up an RBI single but surrendered just one run. He then settled down to work scoreless frames through the fourth inning.
The Bears pulled even in the bottom of the fifth thanks to left fiedler Cole Haring’s double into the corner in left.
With nine-hole hitter Chase Wehsener showing bunt, Haring took off for third base. Cal Poly catcher Myles Emmerson’s throw scooted past third baseman Nick DiCarlo and into left field, allowing Haring to sprint home and tie it at 1.
But the Mustangs answered during their next at bat as Tate Samuelson and Cole Cabrera each singled up the middle to start the top of the sixth. After Noah Taylor was hit by a Jacob Ashkinos pitch to load the bases, Rodriguez brought in Ryan Leckich to pitch with the bases loaded and no outs.
DiCarlo promptly singled to left to score Samuelson and Cabrera, but then Leckich shut the door and kept Cal Poly’s lead to 3-1 through the middle of the sixth. Langeliers helped out his relief pitcher by picking off Taylor at second for the first out of the inning.
The Bears and Mustangs (7-10) face off once more in the rubber match of the series at 1:05 on Sunday back at Baylor Ballpark.
With starting pitcher Cody Bradford sidelined for the season with an injury and righthander Hayden Kettler working through shoulder soreness, Sunday’s Baylor starter had still not been decided immediately following Saturday’s contest.