By Wendell Barnhouse | firstname.lastname@example.org
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Game Three of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship Wednesday was all about length.
No. 6 seed Baylor went deep four times. The game was delayed by a rain delay that lasted nearly three hours. No. 3 Kansas State rallied from an 8-1 deficit thanks in part to a six-run fifth-inning where the Wildcats scored all of their runs after two outs.
And after six hours, the Bears knew it was worth the wait. Baylor got its postseason off to a successful start with an 11-8 victory at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark.
“It is extremely disappointing to give up a lead like that,” Baylor coach Steve Smith said. “I thought the team showed a tremendous amount of resilience to give up that lead and then retake it.”
The Bears swept Oklahoma State over the weekend to assure their participation here. They kept the momentum going with five quick runs against Kansas State starter Kayvon Bahramzadeh.
Two runs in the first came home via a Brooks Pinckard triple and a Carl Towey double. Raynor Campbell homered to start the second and Logan Vick followed with a two-run shot to right field. That thunder brought the lightning. The game was halted because of a thunderstorm that eventually produced two downpours and a delay of 2:54.
The Bears’ power surge continued after the rain stopped. In the top of the third inning, shortstop Landis Ware made it an 8-1 lead with a three-run homer.
“The guy (Kansas State reliever Matt Applegate) had been throwing me sliders most of the at-bat and he tried to come in on me and I got my hands inside and it felt pretty good,” Ware said.
Baylor starter Logan Verrett started and pitched one inning. After the delay, Baylor went with Shawn Tolleson he was effective until he got two outs on the Wildcats in the bottom of the fifth. The next eight hitters reached – seven singles and a hit batsman. Jake Brown’s single to right capped the rally and tied the game at 8-8.
“If (the rain delay) would have been really quick, I might have run (Verrett) back out there. He was going on an earlier day than normal and I didn't think he was real sharp when he went out there in the first inning. I felt good about putting Shawn (Tolleson) out there because he had a short outing his last time out. He was rested and clearly the first couple of innings he threw, he was effective.”
After forging the tie, Kansas State was unable to execute the shut-down inning. On the first pitch from Wildcats reliever Evan Marshall in the top of the sixth, Vick homered to right field. The Baylor freshman had a “triple crown” night – three at bats, three runs, three hits, three RBI and three walks.
“They took the momentum over and if they kept it there is no telling how this ball game would have ended up,” Vick said. “I knew leading off the inning I was going to have to do something to spark our offense back up. I was just trying to get the ball in play and I happened to turn on it and get it in the air and it kept going.”
Ware completed a four-RBI night with a two-out, run-scoring single in the seventh and Baylor added another insurance run in the eighth.
Kansas State will try to get in the win column when it faces Sunflower State rival Kansas at 3 p.m. Friday. Baylor will face No. 2 seed Oklahoma at 7:30 p.m. Friday.