WACO, Texas - Trent Blank pitched 5.0 innings in an emergency start, and No. 25 Baylor's offense jumped out to an early lead as the Bears knocked off Sam Houston State, 6-2, on Tuesday night at Baylor Ballpark.
Blank (4-0) was tabbed to start just 15 minutes before the game when scheduled starting pitcher Tyler Bremer was unable to get loose in the bullpen. Blank was efficient, as he needed just 54 pitches to work 5.0 innings and allow one run on three hits with one walk and two strikeouts.
"Trent (Blank) has gotten off to a great start, and he's throwing strikes" head coach Steve Smith said. "He made that adjustment to his delivery last year at the end of the season. It has probably been really helpful for him to have the whole fall and all the time preparing going into this year, to be comfortable in that delivery. He picked it up really quickly last year and did a nice job with it at the end, but he's way more comfortable now."
Blank earned the win, notching his third victory in the last eight days - he beat No. 15 TCU on Feb. 21, got the win at No. 22 UCLA on Friday and was named Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Week on Monday.
The Bears (7-2) took advantage of an error and a defensive miscue to break a scoreless tie with four runs in the bottom of the third. Lawton Langford's grounder to shortstop was thrown away, allowing him to advance to second, and Langford was safe on a throw at third after Logan Brown reached on a sacrifice bunt.
Nathan Orf and Cal Towey followed with RBI singles, and Max Muncy and Josh Ludy each had run-scoring groundouts to give the Bears a 4-0 lead against Sam Houston State (4-4) starting pitcher Brandon Bergen.
Bergen (0-1) took the loss after allowing four runs - two of which were earned - on three hits in 3.0 innings. The Bears added on two more runs in the fourth inning against reliever Michael Burchett, who worked 2.2 innings and allowed two runs on six hits.
Jake Miller reached on a one-out double down the right-field line, Langford singled through the left side and Brown brought Miller home with a well-placed bunt single. Brown and Langford pulled off a successful double steal, and Langford scored when the throw down to third got away.
Sam Houston State got its first run on a two-out RBI single from Jake Arrington in the fifth inning, and the Bearkats added a second run one inning later when Luke Plucheck hit a one-out RBI triple to the gap in left-center field.
Kolt Browder, Ryan Smith and Miles Landry combined to allow one run over 4.0 innings of relief to close out the win. The Bearkats had a chance at a rally with two singles in the eighth, but John Hale was thrown out from center field by Logan Vick after going too far rounding first base.
Brown finished the game 2-for-3 with a run, one RBI and two stolen bases, Langford scored a pair of runs and Miller and Orf had two hits apiece. Sam Houston State was led by Plucheck, who went 3-for-4 with one RBI, and Colt Atwood and Arrington, who each had two hits.
Baylor returns to action when it hosts UC Irvine and Lamar for the QTI Baylor Classic this weekend. The Bears take on UC Irvine at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and play Lamar at 2 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. UC Irvine and Lamar play each other at 2 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Sunday.