It’s not always about hitting the ball on the screws and belting it off or over the wall. Sometimes it’s just about putting the ball where the opponents aren’t standing.
The 24th-ranked Bears took care of that effectively against visiting Stephen F. Austin, as they consistently found holes on their way to a 10-0 run-rule win at Baylor Ballpark on Tuesday. The Bears banged out 14 hits, and the top five batters in the order finished 12-for-20 (.600) with eight RBIs.
The game went only seven innings due to the previously agreed-upon 10-run rule.
Baylor catcher Shea Langeliers was especially locked in, going 3-for-4 with a three-run home run and four RBIs in all. Langeliers also showed off that howitzer of a right arm he owns when he threw out SFA’s only attempted base stealer of the night in the top of the sixth. He has now thrown out 11 of 21 attempted base thieves on the year.
Andy Thomas and Richard Cunningham also whacked three hits apiece. Baylor coach Steve Rodriguez said in a postgame radio interview that having Thomas and Langeliers in the middle of the BU batting order is a luxury a lot of teams would love to have.
“Shea’s getting in a groove, and watching him hit a ball like this is really impressive, but Andy’s swing is such that he can hit anybody at anytime,” Rodriguez said. “It’s just a matter of his timing. But he’s on plane really quick, and he stays on plane for a long time. It makes it easy for him to be able to get hits. It’s just a matter of swinging at strikes at that point.
“But both of those guys in the middle of our lineup have pretty special offensive power, and an attitude and approach where opposing teams really have to figure out and be careful of what they’re doing.”
Meanwhile, the Bears (27-12) made sure all those hits would stack up nicely, as three pitchers combined on a three-hitter. Freshman Blake Helton (2-2) recovered nicely from a rough outing last weekend against Texas Tech, as he logged three innings, giving up only one hit.
“As a freshman, that’s huge,” said Helton’s battery mate Langeliers. “You go to Tech, and Tech’s a really good hitting team. Sometimes you’re going to get hit in the face. For him to come out tonight and pound the zone, and go three scoreless, it’s awesome, especially for a freshman.”
Tyler Thomas struck out three and walked none in a two-inning stint in relief of Helton, while Daniel Caruso closed out the night with two scoreless innings of his own.
Baylor already led 4-0 when the Bears busted it open with a four-run sixth. With two men on base, Baylor plated one off an infield grounder from Thomas. A batter later, Langeliers got a hold of one, depositing a no-doubter deep over the left-field wall for a three-run blast, his fourth of the year. The ball traveled an estimated 427 feet with an exit velocity of 107 miles per hour.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Bears clinched the run rule when Davis Wendzel punched a two-run infield single to push the score to 10-0.
For the visiting Lumberjacks (18-23), starter Joseph Sgambelluri suffered the loss, giving up seven hits and three runs over four innings of work.
Coming up next for Baylor will be a weekend series with TCU (23-16) in Fort Worth beginning Friday. The Horned Frogs dropped a 9-3 game to Dallas Baptist on Tuesday.