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Baylor pitcher shuts down Rice in Astros Classic finale

HOUSTON -- A day after Baylor pitchers walked 14 batters, the Bears got a gem of a pitching performance from right-hander Max Garner, who shut down Rice for eight innings before allowing a two-run home run in the ninth.

Garner's pitching, and big hits from Logan Brown and Cal Towey, lifted the Bears to a 9-2 drubbing of Rice on Sunday at Minute Maid Park in the conclusion of the three-day 2013 Astros Foundation College Classic.

"I wanted to come out and set the tone," said Garner, who in 8 1/3 innings gave up six hits with eight strikeouts. "I didn't want to give them as many free bases as we've been giving people. I went out to throw strikes."

In Saturday's 15-4 loss to Houston, seven Bears pitchers combined for the 14 walks. On Sunday, the Bears were more in control. Garner walked only three and after giving up a two-run home run to Skyler Ewing, Garner was replaced by Ryan Smith, who got the last two outs.

"This sport is predicated on the mound, and yesterday we didn't have it on the mound," said Baylor coach Steve Smith. "Today, Max was really good. His command was good with all of it. He had three pitches going and did a nice job."

Garner (1-2) struck out Michael Aquino four times. Aquino has four home runs this season.

"My two-seam was sinking a lot, and I had my curveball, slider and changeup all working," Garner said. "I feel if I get all my pitches working, I can work through a lineup pretty well."

Baylor (5-6) scored three runs in the fifth, sixth and ninth innings. Towey was 3-for-4 with two RBIs and Brown, who was moved from leadoff to the ninth spot on Sunday, went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, including a three-run home run in the sixth and a triple in the ninth.

"The biggest surprise of the game was Brown in the nine-hole," Smith said. "He hits four balls hard. Maybe that will jump-start him a bit."

Keenan Cook had two of the six hits for Rice (6-5), which lost all three of its games in the Classic. Rice starter John Simms (3-1) took the loss.

Richard Dean is a contributor to
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