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Baseball team wins middle game, loses series at the Ballpark

Feb. 13, 2001

Cal State Fullerton earns road-series win

By AMETHYST HENSLEY

Sports writer

The No. 23-ranked Baylor baseball team (4-3) sandwiched a win in between two losses over the weekend against No. 19-ranked California State University at Fullerton (3-5).

'We were hoping to win the series if not a sweep,' pitcher Josh Scott said. 'We need to come together as a team. All of our players know the adjustments we need to make and we need to show what kind of character we have.'

Gusty winds bit through the ballpark all weekend, aiding pitchers on both sides in keeping the ball in field for no home runs.

Friday, pitchers Derek Brehm and Jon Smith kept hitters in check and stifled any offensive dominance.

The Bears were first to get on the scoreboard in the second inning when first baseman Mike Huggins scored off left fielder David Murphy's triple to left field. For the rest of the game, the Bears could not cause any more damage and went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position.

The Titans put all the numbers up on the board that they needed in the fifth with run-scoring singles from center fielder Chris Stringfellow and second baseman David Bacani.

'I think they've got a very disciplined team offensively and most of their hitters are difficult to pitch to,' head Coach Steve Smith said. 'I think in that regard they've got a better line-up than we do.'

Saturday's game began with the Baylor Ballpark's dedication ceremony.

In seven innings, pitcher Steven White (2-0) gave up only two hits while walking four batters and striking out five.

Titan pitcher Nick Lovato (0-2) struggled against Baylor's bats and Cal State Fullerton errors provided the Bears with runs.

In the third inning, Mike Huggins got lucky on a hit to Shawn Norris at third that got him on base from a wild throw to first. The error allowed center fielder Chris Durbin and second baseman Trevor Mote to score.

The Bears scored their other three runs in the fifth after Mote's single, catcher Kelly Shoppach reached base on an error. Huggins drove the two runners in with a double to left field, advancing the score to 4-0. David Murphy's double to left field brought in Huggins to give the Bears a comfortable 5-0 lead.

Saturday's game was Baylor's highest scoring day with five runs, more than Friday's and Sunday's run totals combined.

'Hitting is a function of mechanics and confidence,' Smith said. 'I think it's more of a mental approach than a physical one.'

Unfortunately, confidence was lacking in Sunday's game as Cal State Fullerton shut out the Bears 5-0.

Titan pitcher Kirk Saarloos (1-2) remained hot all nine innings, and allowed only three singles and one walk. He had seven strikeouts, one below his record.

'He [Saarloos] challenged us all day,' Mote said. 'We weren't aggressive enough in the first innings and we could never get anything going. We need to tip our hats to him, but also learn from him.'

Josh Scott started for the Bears, going six innings with only five hits, two walks and two runs.

The Titans scored first in the second inning when right fielder Kyle Boyer tripled and then scored on shortstop Mike Rouse's single. Boyer crossed home plate again in the fourth from Chris Stringfellow's double.

The Titans sealed the win in the eighth with three runs off a combination of hits and errors.

'We didn't take many good swings,' Coach Smith said. 'It's always disappointing when you lose a series at home. Hopefully this is something we can learn from. With the wind, basically we're a fly ball-hitting club right now, and that's not going to get it done. I don't think we'll have any easy games until we make some changes.'

Baylor will return to action Wednesday when it hosts Southwest Texas State University. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Baylor Ballpark.