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Three Up and Three Down with Baylor vs Oral Roberts

Here are my Three Up and Three Down Recap from the Oral Roberts and Baylor Series that the Bears swept over the weekend.

Three Up

Untouchable – The Baylor bullpen combined for 14.0 shutout innings, holding opponents to a .109 batting average en route to the Bears’ first series sweep on opening weekend since 2008. A total of seven Bears saw action in relief including senior Joey Hainsfurther and junior Miles Landry. Hainsfurther, a stalwart in the Bears’ lineup since his freshman year, made his first appearance on the hill since May 29, 2010. The right-hander primarily worked his fastball, which sat around 91-92 MPH, and occasionally mixed in off-speed pitches. Hainsfurther allowed just one hit while fanning two batters in 2.0 innings of work to pick up the win in relief in game two of the series. Landry, a 6-5, 240-pound righty, had only recorded one out in his Baylor career but worked a flawless eighth inning in the series finale and picked up a strikeout on a nasty off-speed pitch. Landry will be a name to keep an eye on as the season progresses.

The Heart of the Order – Max Muncy (.322) and Josh Ludy (.278) were two of the more productive offensive threats for the Bears last season and were crucial to Baylor’s series sweep this weekend. The duo went a combined 12-for-20 with four doubles, four runs scored and eight RBI against Oral Roberts pitching. Both Muncy and Ludy combined for half of the Bears’ 24 hits on the weekend. More impressively, Ludy caught all 27 innings behind the plate and had two hits, including one double in each of the three games this weekend.

Freshman Debut – Freshman OF Michael Howard showed great plate discipline in two big spots for the Bears. In Friday’s 3-2 win, Howard pinch hit for Dan Evatt in the eighth and drew a bases loaded walk that proved to be the game-winner. During game one on Sunday, Howard again pinch hit for Evatt and again, drew a bases loaded walk. The freshman accounted for two game-winning RBI walks on the weekend and finished the series going 2-for-4 with one run scored, and four walks.

Three Down

Free Bases – Baylor was just 3-22 last season when scoring three or fewer runs but managed to pull out two wins this weekend. The Oral Roberts pitching staff was a big reason behind the Bears’ two come-from-behind wins as the staff issued a total of 15 walks with several coming at inopportune times; namely in the eight inning of game one and two of the series. Conversely, ORU drew just five walks on the weekend and couldn’t capitalize when putting runners on base as the Golden Eagles stranded 17 runners in the series.

Power Outage – ORU had offensive production from CF Kevin Cho and 1B Jared Schlehuber in the two and three hole but that was about it for the Golden Eagles lineup. Cleanup hitter Jose Trevino – a highly-touted freshman – hit just .083 on the weekend while Brandon King had similar numbers hitting just .091. Coach Rob Walton said after the game that he felt his team was a few plays away from taking the series and that he expected his team to battle more effectively at the plate and be more productive throughout the lineup.

Batting Woes – Baylor’s top-of-the-order (Orf, Towey, Muncy and Ludy) was very productive this weekend as they hit at a combined .390 clip with nine RBI and six walks. However, the bottom of the lineup for the Bears went just 8-for-48 on the weekend including a 0-for-17 performance on Friday night. For the Bears to be successful this season, they’ll have to have consistent production throughout their order and will need juniors Logan Vick (1-for-9) and Jake Miller (0-for-10) to have better weekends.