OH MERCY! OWLS FLY HIGH OVER BAYLOR, 13-0
Houdini performance by Kelley, 2 HRS, Power Owls
By Mark Anderson
Starting pitcher Chris Kelley had a “wardrobe malfunction” before the game that forced him to change jersey numbers from 21 to 41. But that number 21 jersey wasn’t the only thing Kelley got out of—he got out of jams in the first three innings, and then found what worked to get the Bears out in critical situations.
Kelley pitched 6 innings, giving up only 4 hits, along with three walks and one hit batter, but Baylor couldn’t get it done in the clutch, and Kelley wiggled free time and time again.
In the fourth, the Owls got on the board against Willie Kempf when, with one out, Henley singled to center and went to second on a misplayed ball by centerfielder Chase Gerdes. Savery followed with a single to center to score Henley and put the Owls on the board, 1-0. Seastrunk followed Savery with a single to left, moving Savery up to second. Luna then walked to load the bases, still with only one out. Lehmann hit a deep fly to right that scored Savery and moved Seastrunk to third. Dodson ended the inning by popping out. But Jordan would be heard from later—loud and clear—but the score remained 2-0.
In the sixth, Springston replaced Kempf, and it opened the door for the Owl offense. Henley led off with a single, and Savery singled on a hard hot ball to the left side to put runners on first and second with no outs. Coach Graham lifted DH Diego Seastrunk for Jimmy “Baseball” Comerota, who laid down a bunt towards third base that Springston fielded cleanly. The throw to first was not as clean, pulling the Baylor first baseman off the bag to load the bases with no outs. Luna followed that with a single to center that scored Henley and Savery. Danny Lehmann then hit a deep fly to right to score Comerota. Dodson followed with a walk, but Padron lined out hard to Campbell. At this point, Steve Smith chose to change pitchers, and brought in Weghorst, who struck out Friday to end the inning. The Owls were clearly in the driver’s seat with a 5-0 lead.
In the seventh, the wheels fell off, and the horse ran away from the Baylor Bears. Lembeck, pinch-hitting for Gayhart, doubled to open the inning off new pitcher William Draper. It seemed that Baylor would get some sort of reprieve when Henley popped out to third on a bunt attempt. But then Draper unleashed a wild pitch that moved Lembeck to third. Savery followed that with another single and his second RBI of the game. Jimmy Comerota followed with a single that sent Savery to second and Draper to the shower. New pitcher Tim Matthews was greeted rather rudely as Luna singled to left to load the bases and bring up Danny Lehmann, who singled to left-center to drive in two more runs.
Just when it seemed it could not get any worse for Baylor, it did. Jordan Dodson, Tim Matthew’s teammate in the Cape Cod league last summer, learned from watching Matthews what to expect, and launched a 3-2 pitch from him deep over the leftfield wall for a three run homer. Padron followed with a double to left, and Friday moved him to third on a 4-3 grounder. Lembeck, who led off the inning, flied out to mercifully end it, with the score 11-0.
In the bottom of the eighth, new pitcher Drew Jeffcoat made a throwing error on Tyler Henley’s grounder to put him on second with no outs. Comerota then laid down the sacrifice bunt to move Henley to third and bring up Aaron Luna. If there was any doubt that Luna had lost any power, those thoughts were vanquished when Luna took a Jeffcoat pitch and sent it halfway to the Medical Center for a no doubter homer to make it 13-0.
The next game for the Owls will be Thursday against Memphis. Probable starting pitcher for Rice is Ry-an Ber-ry, but Coach Graham did not confirm that.
Pictures of tonight's game to follow soon, as well as interviews from Coach Graham, Chris Kelley, Aaron Luna, Jordan Dodson, Bryan Price, Jimmy "Baseball" Comerota, and Joe Savery.