On Friday night, the Baylor Bears won the opener of their three-game series with the 24th-ranked Houston Cougars 4-2, led by staff ace Daniel Castano, who threw seven shutout innings, allowing just five hits and two walks with six strikeouts.
Offensively, led by catcher Matt Menard and his towering home run to left in the sixth, the Bears had just five hits, but they made the most of those five hits and took advantage of Houston mistakes to give Castano enough support to get him his second win of the season.
They scored single runs in the fourth, sixth, eighth, and ninth, and it’s those last two runs that will haunt Houston. The run in the eighth came home on a Darryn Sheppard sac fly after two men reached on back-to-back errors by shortstop Jose Reyes and second baseman Allonte Wingate. The run in the ninth scored without a hit being recorded after Josh Bissonette walked, stole second, was moved to third on a groundout, and then touched home on a passed ball.
Houston got a solid start out of their ace, Andrew Lantrip (7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 K), but the offense just never really was able to mount any extended rallies until it was too late. The two runs came across in the ninth on a Connor Wong two-run homer, making those two late unearned runs loom even larger.
For Baylor, this is their fifth win in a row after a 1-3 start. Meanwhile, for Houston, this is their fifth loss in a row.
Listen to this episode of the College Baseball Central Podcast for my extended thoughts on Baylor’s win.