Baylor Press Release
By: Rachel Caton
WACO, Texas – A three-run fourth-inning wasn’t enough as No. 12 Baylor dropped a tight 6-3 contest to Rice Saturday afternoon at Minute Maid Park in its second game at the 2019 Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic.
Baylor starter Tyler Thomas retired the side in order to begin the ballgame, but found himself in trouble in the second inning as Rice’s Andrew Dunlap took Thomas deep to give the Owls a 2-0 lead.
Rice (4-7) pushed across one more run in the third on an RBI single by Dominic DiCaprio but the Bears (8-2) were able to escape further damage thanks to an outfield assist by Richard Cunningham that nabbed at baserunner at third.
Paul Dickens was the first arm out of the bullpen for the Bears, but he surrendered a solo shot to Rodrigo Duluc in the fourth inning that saw the Owls lead swell to 4-0. Rice would add a fifth run with an RBI knock by Trei Cruz before Baylor came to bat in the bottom of the fourth.
To begin the bottom of the fourth, Cunningham tripled to give the Bears their first hit and subsequently scored on a Nick Loftin sacrifice fly that made it 5-1. Davion Downey later worked a one-out walk and Chase Wehsener followed with a single. Then, Ryan Bertelsman tripled to the wall in the left-center gap, scoring both baserunners and trimming the deficit to two at 5-3.
Dickens was able to settle in on the bump, striking out the side in the fifth inning before turning it over to Ryan Leckich, who punched out two batters in the sixth to keep the score the same.
The Bears were in business again in the bottom of the sixth as Loftin delivered a leadoff double, part of his two-hit day, but two Baylor strikeouts and a deep fly out off the bat of Downey ended the threat.
Josh Bissonette doubled in the seventh to extend his on-base streak to 17 games, but the Bears couldn’t score him. He was one of four Baylor runners left on base.
In the top of the eighth, Rice added another run on an RBI double by Bradley Gneiting, but once again the Bears showed off some arm strength as Kyle Harper and Bissonette teamed up to cut down a runner at the plate.
Rice’s Evan Kravetz earned his first win of the year after going 6.2 innings and allowing three runs on five hits with nine strikeouts. Thomas took the loss for Baylor, his first of the season, and Kendal Jefferies picked up his first save for the Owls.
Baylor will take on Texas State Sunday at 11 a.m. at Minute Maid Park before returning home to Baylor Ballpark for an eight-game homestand.