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Bears take 2 in Big 12 opener

Feb. 27, 2001

By AMETHYST HENSLEY

Sports writer

The 18th-ranked Baylor baseball team withstood the College Station test, winning both weekend away games against Texas A&M University, 2-1 and 11-5, respectively. However, the Bears dropped the last game of the series at home 6-8, giving Texas A&M its first road victory.

'How odd is it that we won two games there and they beat us here. The odds of that were pretty slim,' leftfielder Tim Hartshorn said. 'I was pretty confident that we would win the game at home.'

Baylor moves to 11-4 overall and 2-1 in the Big 12 Conference, while the Aggies come out of the weekend 4-7 and 1-2 in the Big 12.

'It was a tough loss at home,' second baseman Trevor Mote said. 'But we'll take the positives of the 2-1 series and focus on putting together an all-around good game.'

Due to weather conditions, the schedule was adjusted to a double-header in College Station on Saturday, and the game at the Baylor Ballpark was moved from Friday to Sunday.

The first game was no walk in the park, stretching into 11 innings. Pitchers Steven White, Justin Taylor and Zane Carlson contributed to the win.

Freshman David Murphy's single to left field drove in the long-awaited run to break the 1-1 tie.

Closer Carlson secured the win and acquired his second save after striking out three Aggies in the bottom of the 11th inning to end the game.

The nightcap appeared to also be a close game in the first four innings. The Bears came alive in the fifth with four runs highlighted by Hartshorn's two-run double. The Aggies cut the lead to 6-5 with a three-run fifth inning.

However, the Bears then took control of the game with a run in the eighth and four runs in the ninth to end the game with a six-run margin 11-5.

Josh Scott (2-1) picked up the win, pitching seven innings with eight hits and two walks.

Both the Aggies and the Bears used several pitchers in the Sunday game.

Baylorstarted with Kyle Edens for four innings, put in Jared Theodorakos for an inning and a half, then Paul Thorpe made a short appearance in the seventh and Carlson took the last of the seventh through the ninth.

Khalid Ballouli took the mound for A&M, followed by Brian Strelitz. But it was freshman Matt Farnum, entering in the middle of the sixth, who shut down the Baylor offense.

The only batter to get on base courtesy of Farnum was Kelly Shoppach with a walk.

'He was a decent pitcher, but we should have hit the ball better,' Hartshorn said.

The Aggies took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning after Jeff Freeman hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Eric Reed. They padded their lead to 6-0 in the fourth inning.

The Bears finally got on the board in the fifth inning with four runs. Hartshorn hit a triple to center field that drove in two runs, Mote hit a single to get Hartshorn in and Shoppach's sacrifice fly allowed Mote to cross home plate.

The top of the sixth looked grim for the Bears, as the Aggies loaded the bases on three successful bunts. However, Baylor squeezed out of the jam with a pop out and a double play by Mark Saccomanno and Mike Huggins.

The Bears added two runs in the sixth, but Farnum prevented any more chances for Baylor to score.

The Aggies got their go-ahead two runs in the seventh and the ninth innings.

Reliever Jared Theodorakos (2-1) took the loss for Baylor, giving up one unearned run on four hits in two innings of work. Farnum (1-1) earned the win for the Aggies.

'It's always good to win, but more than that, it's better to play well,' head Coach Steve Smith said. 'I'm willing to bet [Farnum] won't be in the bullpen for very long. For a freshman, he's as good as we've seen.'

The Bears return to action tonight, taking on Mary Hardin-Baylor at 6 at the Baylor Ballpark.