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The No. 20 Lady Bear softball team passed its first real challenge on Sunday as it defeated No. 3 Arizona State 6-2 in the final game of the Wilson DeMarini invitational. Baylor handed the Sun Devils their first loss of the season, as Baylor faced its first ranked opponent of the season.
Freshman left fielder Linsey Hays had a big day going three-for-four with a 2-run homer in the first inning to put Baylor on top first. Other freshmen came up big as third baseman Sarah Smith and freshman right-handed pitcher Heather Stearns each had a solo home run. Freshman second baseman Robin Landrith extended the lead with a 2-run homer of her own in the forth inning.
After a slow start from junior left-handed pitcher Whitney Canion, she settled in and pitched an effective game with 11 strikeouts after giving up two early runs.
Baylor started on offense the way it wanted to: with a lead off base hit from sophomore right fielder Kaitlyn Thumann. After a strikeout by Arizona State pitcher Dallas Escobedo, Hays hit a 2-run homer to centerfield. Smith followed with a double to left center. After a wild pitch during Stearns’ at bat, Smith advanced to third. However, back-to-back strikeouts put Arizona State on offense.
Canion struggled early in the game as her first six pitches she has six walks so junior catcher Clare Hosack went to talk to her, which led to Canion’s first strike. However, Canion threw two more balls for back-to-back walks. Those walks came back to haunt her as Johnson scored on an errant throw from Landrith after Coyle advanced to third base. Shortly after, Freeman hit a sacrifice fly to center field, allowing Coyle to score. Canion responded with back-to-back strikeouts, but not before the damage was done.
Canion found her strike zone in the second and got four strikeouts in the second and third inning, preventing any further damage after back-to-back solo home runs from Smith and Stearns in the top of the third inning.
Landrith hit the fourth home run of the day for Baylor, hitting the 2-run homer to right field after a base hit from Strickland. Shelton successfully bunted as she slides head first for the base hit. Hays also had a base hit after the ball went off the third baseman’s glove, but after another out, Baylor went back on defense.
Arizona State tried to respond and get its dynamic offense going, and back-to-back base hits with one out put Canion in a jam. However, Canion continued to be consistent in the circle with her off speed pitch, but the Sun Devil offense was off balance, causing back-to-back strikeouts ending the threat.
Baylor never allowed Arizona State to get into the game, which prevented its offense to get going. Driving off of high energy, Baylor tried to get them out quickly, to keep their offensive possessions short, preventing any change in momentum. Baylor will play Purdue at noon on Saturday in Getterman Stadium.