Baylor rallies late to beat Jags

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WACO, Texas – Baylor overcame a four-run deficit to defeat the University of South Alabama baseball team 10-9 Saturday at Baylor Ballpark.

BU (7-0) scored five unanswered runs with four in the seventh inning and one in the eighth to clinch the series. Baylor right-hander Drew Robertson (1-0) allowed one hit with one strikeout in one inning in relief to earn the win. Troy Montemayor struck out two and allowed two hits in one inning to earn his third save of the season. Jaguar right-hander Matt Peacock (0-1) suffered the loss in 1 2/3 innings, allowing one run on four hits with two strikeouts and a pair of walks.

USA (4-2) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a leadoff home run – the third of his career – by Drew LaBounty.

Baylor answered with a run in the bottom of the second to tie the game 1-1 on an RBI single to right field by Josh Bissonette, following a leadoff double by Kameron Esthay and a sacrifice bunt from Davis Wendzel.

Baylor loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the fourth on a single and a pair of walks. USA right-hander Nick DeSantis struck out Richard Cunningham for the first out of the inning before Tucker Cascadden reached on a hit by pitch to force home the Bears' second run of the game for a 2-1 advantage. Steven McLean followed with an RBI sacrifice fly to right-center field for a 3-1 Baylor lead.

The Jaguars responded with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth to tie the game. LaBounty led off the inning with a double to the left-center gap, and moved to third on a groundout to second by Paul Russo. Travis Swaggerty drew a one-out walk then stole second before Wells Davis delivered a two-run double down the right field line to tie the game 3-3.

USA pushed across three runs in the top of the sixth for a three-run lead. Jared Barnes gave South Alabama a one-run advantage with a leadoff home run – the seventh of his career – to left field. LaBounty and Russo drew consecutive one-out walks before Davis delivered a two-out RBI single back up the middle to plate LaBounty for a 5-3 Jaguar lead. Will Luft followed with an RBI single through the right side of the infield to score Russo and double the USA lead at 6-3.

The Bears answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth on a two-run double down the right field line by McLean to cut the Jaguar lead to 6-5.

South Alabama pushed its lead to four runs in the top of the seventh on a two-out RBI double down the right field line by Russo that scored Barnes and LaBounty, who both reached on walks earlier in the inning. Swaggerty followed with an RBI double down the right field line to score Russo and extend the Jag lead to 9-5.

Baylor responded with three runs in the bottom of the seventh on an RBI double to right field by Esthay and a two-run double to right field by Cunningham to cut the USA lead to 9-8. A wild pitch from Jaguar right-hander Matt Peacock allowed Cunningham to score later in the inning and tie the game 9-9.

The Bears scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI infield single to shortstop by Bissonette that plated Aaron Dodson, who reached on a triple earlier in the inning.

"We swung the bats well," USA head coach Mark Calvi said. "I thought (Zach) Melton was doing okay, and he rolled his ankle but he gutted through it; he gave us what he had. His ankle just stiffened up, but he gutted through it. Our bullpen, which we think is a very reliable part of our team – I had no problem going to it early today. We didn't get enough of our leadoff outs.

"I give Baylor credit, but we didn't do enough pitching today in the second half of the ballgame. We lost the last nine outs, and when you do that then it is hard to win. We had our chances, we just didn't play clean enough baseball. Our kids fought, clawed and played hard all game long, it just didn't go our way today. This one hurts, but the good teams have to let it go, correct mistakes and show up tomorrow. Baylor is not going to feel sorry for us tomorrow. We need to go out and play good baseball, better baseball than we played today, and finish games off a little bit better."

Six Jaguar hitters recorded multiple hits in the game, led by LaBounty who went 2-for-3 with a double, one home run, one RBI and four runs scored. Barnes finished 2-for-4 with a double, one home run, one RBI and two runs scored. Russo went 2-for-5 with a double, two RBI and two runs scored, and Davis added two hits, including a double, and three RBI.

The series will conclude with game three Sunday at 12:05 p.m. First pitch for Sunday's contest was moved up from 1:05 p.m. due to weather expected to move into the Waco area.