The Baylor Red Raiders are only two games into their Division II schedule for the 2013 baseball season, and they already face a must-win game.
Baylor split a D-II doubleheader with visiting Brentwood Academy Thursday afternoon, leaving them needing to win Friday's 1 p.m. rubber game or go down one tiebreaker only a week into the season.
In Thursday's first game, Taylor Maxey and Jackson Cooper drove in two runs apiece to offset a big pitching setback for the Red Raiders.
But after being held to four hits while losing 6-2 in the opener, the visiting Eagles jumped on Baylor pitchers Colton Jumper and Swede Umbach for 12 runs and 12 hits in a five-inning 12-2 verdict.
Baylor coach Gene Etter says the region best-of-three format has its pros and cons, not the least of which was his team's desire to bounce back ASAP after Thursday's nightcap loss.
“That was the first game all season where we played poor defense,” said Etter, whose team fell to 6-1 with the loss. “We know we've got to do better against a team of this caliber – especially if we see the same type of pitching we saw in the second game."
That was a tip of the cap to Brentwood Academy's Will Haynie, who caught the opener. While going the distance in the mercy rule-shortened game, he was also in charge at the plate, picking up three hits and a walk in four trips, including a double and two RBIs.
The home team found itself in an uphill climb quickly as Brentwood Academy scored six times in the second inning. Haynie's two-run single was the last and most important of the four hits in the inning. It would also prove to be Jumper's final inning.
“He was a much different pitcher in his first outing,” Etter said of Jumper. “He was able to hit all of his spots.”
Umbach, who had a brilliant clutch mound performance earlier in the week, was clearly running on fumes as he made it through three innings, walking four and yielding a two-run homer to Griffin Garik. Garik finished the game with four RBIs, driving in a pair on two additional infield hits.
Hunter Holland and Maxey had RBIs in the second game for Baylor, while Bryson Crimmins had a triple and run scored.
Things went much more Baylor's way in the opener – even though starting pitcher Maxey had to suddenly depart the game in the fourth inning when his throwing elbow, in his words, “locked up.” The problem was a momentary one, because he was able to stay in the game as the center fielder and went on to have a pair of RBI doubles in the win.
But it required Etter to call on relievers Andrew Belcher and Tanner Hulse earlier than hoped. Both came through as Belcher worked 1.2 innings with no hits allowed and Hulse closed out the win with two shutout innings.
Jackson Cooper had a memorable game for the Red Raiders, picking up a single and double with two RBIs and two stolen bases. Link, Holland and Hulse all had RBIs in the win.
Brentwood Academy 000 110 0 – 2 4 0
Baylor 103 200 x – 6 6 1
Stanker, Swafford (4) and Haynie; Maxey, Belcher (4), Hulse (6) and Link.
Brentwood Academy 060 33 – 12 12 1
Baylor 001 01 – 2 5 3
Will Haynie and Victory; Jumper, Umbach (3) and Layne.