Baylor got its big inning. It just wasn't enough.
The Red Raiders scored six first-inning runs and appeared well on their way to an easy region baseball win Friday against Ensworth, but the visiting Tigers kept scratching and used three runs in the top of the seventh for an 11-8 victory.
The win got the Nashville school above .500 in Division II East/Middle play at 3-2, but the teams square off again at noon today for a doubleheader.
"This series isn't over by a long shot," Ensworth coach Jason Maxwell said. "Baylor's an outstanding team, and they traditionally hit the ball really well."
The Red Raiders did so in the first inning, using five hits -- the big blow a three-run homer from Colton Jumper -- and four walks to get the early advantage.
"In this situation it looked like we were going to pound the ball all night," Baylor coach Gene Etter said. "I didn't expect to do that well, but I at least expected us to keep adding to it."
The Raiders didn't, leaving the bases loaded in the first and two on in the third and fourth innings, until they plated two to get back even with the Tigers, who took an 8-6 lead into the sixth behind catcher Hall Pittman. He hit a two-run homer off Jumper in the third and a two-run single in the Tigers' four-run sixth.
Jumper got the first two Ensworth batters in the sixth but then hit two in a row before Pittman's single and a two-run double by Jackson Smith.
"I told the guys after the first inning that we weren't going to hit a six-run homer but that we just needed to continue to chip away," Maxwell said. "These guys never give up."
There was proof in the box score. Seven of Ensworth's 11 runs scored with two outs.
"We talked about picking each other up. This was our best outing of the year and I was especially impressed with our situational hitting," the coach added.
The Tigers managed to work around five errors, in part by turning a double play and getting the lead runner in seven fielder's-choice situations.
Pittman was the only Tiger with a multihit game, while Baylor's Jumper went 3-for-5.
Contact Ward Gossett at email@example.com or 423-886-4765.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...