From Wayland Baptist University Athletics:
After a disappointing end to his previous start
against No. 5 Lubbock Christian, Wayland Baptist ace Tom Bailey brought his
best stuff to the mound on Friday as the Pioneers defeated the Chaparrals 4-1
at Bison Field in the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament.
Wayland (20-35) would get a quick one-two-three first inning, but Lubbock Christian (40-15) threatened in the top of the second. Bailey, who started on the mound for the Pioneers, gave up a leadoff double down the left field line to start the inning off. After a ground ball to shortstop Gregg Veneklasen moved the runner to within 90 feet with one out, it looked as though the Chaps would get on the board first.
Bailey buckled down, however, and picked up a big strikeout to keep the runner at bay. A two-out walk would temporarily extend the inning, but the Perth, Australia native got the next hitter pop up to short to end the inning.
The Pioneer offense put on the pressure in the second as well, as Josh Chinni drew a leadoff walk and moved to second after Veneklasen dropped down a sacrifice bunt. Gaby De La Cruz got a single through the left side of the infield, but Chinni was wisely held at third, putting runners at the corners with one out. Just like his counterpart, LCU starting pitcher Jarrett Porter got a huge strikeout after a missed squeeze play to rule out a sacrifice fly.
With two on and two gone, Steven Polito came up to the plate and on a one-one count poked a ball off the end of the bat into right field. A line drive in the books scored Chinni and gave Wayland a 1-0 lead after two complete innings.
The Chaparrals threatened throughout the game, but Bailey, with the help of his defense, continued to strand runners in scoring position, and many times with less than two outs. In the top of the third, Bailey overcame a runner at second with one out as Chinni caught a line drive to right and doubled off the runner at second to end the inning.
In the fourth, the Chaps got their first two hitters on. After the next batter failed to move the runners on two bunt attempts, Bailey got a pop up to the catcher, a fly ball to left and a strikeout to end the inning.
After a stress-free fifth, Bailey walked the leadoff batter who eventually stole second, but again stranded the runner by getting three consecutive fly outs. In the seventh, Bailey hit the first batter, got a fly ball that Chinni tracked down in the right-centerfield before the Chaps got another single. The next hitter tried to bunt for a hit, but Bailey bounced off the mound and took the out at first.
With two outs and runners at first and second, the junior pitcher fell behind in the count, 3-1. Head coach Brad Bass thought it best to go ahead and put the hitter on first, and the strategy paid off. With the bases loaded, the next batter worked the count full. On the pay-off pitch, Bailey induced a groundball to second baseman Bernie Rosario to get out of the jam.
Runs were just as hard to come by for the Pioneers as they were for the Chaps until Johnny Hendrixson hit his fifth homerun of the year to give Wayland a 2-0 lead in the fifth. Hendrixson also got the seventh inning going with a one-out single, then stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error. Chinni drew a walk before Veneklasen roped a ball up the middle to drive in the runner at third. De La Cruz followed with a single of his own, loading the bases for Chris Buitron.
The sophomore took one for the team, getting hit in the leg to bring home the second run of the inning. The Chaps brought in their third pitcher of the inning to strand the runners on loaded bases, getting a strikeout and fly ball to end the seventh inning, but not before Wayland walked away with a 4-0 lead.
LCU finally got to Bailey, getting two singles and walk, knocking out the Pioneers' starter after the junior faced 30 batters and threw 116 pitches. Jose Urena was brought in to put out the fire and did so in a near flawless manner. Urena got the six-hole hitter to hit a soft line drive right back up the middle. The freshman snagged the ball and promptly threw over to third to double off the runner. The Chaps got a two-run single, but thanks to the previous play, only one run crossed the plate. Urena got a fly ball to center to end the inning, holding on to a 4-1 lead after seven and a half innings.
The Pioneers were quiet in the eighth, but all was well as the three-run lead proved to be enough. Urena went right back to work on the mound, getting the Chaps to go down in order in the top of the ninth, giving Wayland the 4-1 victory.
Bailey, who pitched a great game in his previous start against the Chaps but faltered in the seventh, was able to pick up the win this time against the fifth-ranked Chaparrals. The junior was not without help, however, getting an error-free game from his defense and a clutch save from Urena.
Wayland's fate now lies in the hands of the St. Gregory's Cavaliers, who play No. 15 Oklahoma Baptist at 3 p.m. Friday afternoon. If St. Greg's wins, Wayland will take on the Cavaliers at 6 p.m., but if SGU falls to the Bison, Wayland's season will be over.