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It was a promising start for the No. 17 Baylor Lady Bears as they took an early lead against the No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners. However, the Sooners responded with nine unanswered runs and Baylor fell to Oklahoma 9-3 on Saturday.
Senior center fielder Kathy Shelton displayed her senior leadership by responding to Friday’s game with a lead off triple in the first inning. Overall, Shelton went 2-4 and scored a run after a wild pitch. Freshman infielder Sarah Smith also had a home run to right center, but couldn’t generate any hits after. Junior catcher Clare Hosack homered to center field, but it was all Oklahoma afterward.
After pitching problems during Friday’s game, it looked good for the Lady Bears as freshman right-handed pitcher Heather Stearns went two innings without allowing any runs. However, in the third inning the Sooners produced five runs on five hits to give the Oklahoma the lead.
Pitching continued to struggle throughout the game, putting head coach Glenn Moore in a situation that he didn’t want to be in. Senior right-handed pitcher Courtney Repka came in relief for Stearns, but she wasn’t effective. Repka had one strikeout while allowing three runs on two hits in less than one inning. Moore made another change and put junior right-handed pitcher Liz Paul on the mound. Paul only allowed one hit in the 1.1 innings she pitched.
Baylor had a 3-0 lead early in the game, but when Oklahoma answered, Baylor’s offense was shut down. Baylor only generated two hits after the third inning as they left players stranded.
In the fifth inning, it seemed as though Baylor had an opportunity. Hosack drew the lead off walk and freshman outfielder Justine Young came to pinch run for her. Shelton also singled through the right side, allowing Young to advance to second. With a runner in scoring position, the Bears wanted to get a run in. However, Oklahoma pitcher Michelle Gascoigne began to struggle, leading to a pitching change in to Keilani Ricketts who proved to be effective against Baylor on Friday. After striking out junior first baseman Holly Hol,l the threat was over for the Sooners as the inning ended.
Early on, Baylor was in the game even when trailing 3-5, but Oklahoma’s productive fifth inning changed the dynamics of the game. Shelby Pendley began the fifth inning with a home run to right center. Moore decided to put in Repka, but after allowing three runs on three hits, Moore seemed to be disappointed in his relief pitching because it had a difficult time generating strikes. After the Pendley home run, two Oklahoma players were on base after drawing a walk and being hit by a pitch. Brittany Williams hit a three-run homer to right field to eventually put the game away. Paul came in to relief, but the damage had been done.
Baylor will finish off its conference play against Oklahoma at 2 p.m. Sunday at Marita Hynes Field. The game can also be seen on ESPN.