Lady Bears fall to top-ranked Sooners
The little mistakes added up for the No. 17 Baylor Lady Bears, who fell to the No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners 8-3 Friday. Baylor was toe-to-toe with Oklahoma until the bottom of the fifth when Oklahoma began to pull away.
Junior left-handed pitcher Whitney Canion struggled inside the circle, allowing seven runs on seven hits and walking six. Senior right-handed pitcher Courtney Repka came in for relief, but the damage had already been done.
Despite a 2-run homer from Lauren Chamberlain, allowing walks did most of the damage. The Sooners drew nine walks with three of them leading to scores.
Sophomore outfielder Kaitlyn Thumann extended her hitting streak to nine games with a single up the middle in the first inning. However, that ended up being her only hit of the night as she struggled against pitcher Keilani Ricketts.
Despite the defensive struggles throughout the game, senior center fielder Kathy Shelton threw a hard ball to junior catcher Clare Hosack to get a runner out at home. However, Canion allowed two critical walks putting the Sooners up two.
Being down was nothing for Baylor as they trailed Iowa State 5-1 before winning the game 7-5. Freshman infielder Sarah Smith got that memo, hitting a hard 2-run home run at the top of the third to even out the score.
Baylor played well early on against the No. 1 team in the country, but the mistakes began to haunt them. Oklahoma had back-to-back base hits and eventually advanced on a passed ball. With runners in scoring position, junior first baseman Holly Holl made a critical error allowing another score, while the base runner reached to first. Shortstop Jessica Vest would bunt successfully, allowing another score as Holl couldn’t make the play. Chamberlain, who had 16 home runs coming into the game, hit another bomb with two others on base to extend the lead. That would be it for Canion as head coach Glenn Moore put Repka in.
However, Repka struck out her first batter, but began to struggle, allowing three walks one of which led to a score.
At the top of the sixth inning, it seemed as though Baylor would rally a comeback. Holl drew a walk and Smith singled up the middle. Sophomore shortstop Jordan Strickland drew a walk and the bases were loaded. Senior infielder Kelsi Kettler hit a sacrifice fly, allowing freshman outfielder Justine Young, who pitch ran for Holl, to score. Hosack was hit by pitch and the bases were loaded again, but Baylor couldn’t capitalize.
Despite Oklahoma’s batting average, the Sooners only outhit Baylor by one. Baylor and Oklahoma stranded players, but Oklahoma drew enough walks to make up for it. Baylor couldn’t because of the struggle inside the circle as well as the defensive errors.
Baylor will have a chance for redemption at 2 p.m. Saturday as the Lady Bears take on Oklahoma again at Marita Hynes Field.