By Parmida Schahhosseini
It was a dramatic finish for No. 14 Baylor, but the Lady Bears came out on top with a 5-4 win over the Kansas Jayhawks on Sunday to take sole possession of third place in the Big 12.
Sophomore outfielder Kaitlyn Thumann went 2-4 and hit a critical home run and a sharp hit in the seventh to score junior first baseman Holly Holl for a what would eventually be the winning run. Freshman infielder Robin Landrith continued her on-base streak, drawing two walks and hitting a key double.
Baylor (37-13, 8-6 Big 12) was dominant for most of the game, but the Jayhawks came roaring back, scoring three runs at the bottom of the seventh, giving Baylor a sweat. However, a key strikeout by junior left-handed pitcher Whitney Canion prevented a tying run.
Canion didn’t have a dominant game, but did enough to win. Canion struck out five, but walked five, while giving up four runs on seven hits. However, the defense had some key errors late in the game that led to scores.
Baylor’s offense was quiet until the third inning when Canion helped herself, hitting the first single for Baylor through the ride side. Freshman outfielder Justine Young would pitch run for Canion. After an out, Landrith drew a walk, but a wild pitch advanced Young to third. Landrith stole second, and a second consecutive wild pitch allowed Landrith to advance to third and Young to score, putting Baylor on the board first. Back-to-back pop outs to the shortstop ended with inning stranding Landrith at third.
The Jayhawks (30-15, 5-7 Big 12) would respond in the fourth inning when right fielder Cassen Salamone reached on a throwing error by sophomore shortstop Jordan Strickland, and then advanced to second. With two outs and Salamone on third, first baseman Mariah Montgomery singled through the left side allowing Salamone to tie the game.
A double to right center by Landrith ended up being critical after a throwing error by the catcher during Holl’s at-bat, giving Baylor the lead again. Thumann followed with a leadoff home run in the in the sixth to extend the lead. Kansas tried to respond and had runners on first and second after a fielding error by sophomore second baseman Jill Reid, but Canion caught a ground ball and spun to throw it to Holl for the out, ending the threat.
The seventh inning proved to be dramatic with both offenses coming alive. After a ground out, Landrith drew a walk and advanced to second after a ground out by Shelton. Holl singled, but advanced to second on an error by the center fielder, allowing Landrith to score. A second error by the Jayhawks allowed Thumann to reach first, and Holl scored. A fly out ended the inning, but gave Baylor a four-run lead.
Despite keeping the Kansas offense in check for most of the game, Baylor had difficulty closing. Left fielder Maggie Hull drew a walk and advanced to second on a throwing error by Reid when Alex Hugo advanced on a fielder’s choice. After being 0-2, shortstop Chaley Brickey singled to left field leaving the bases loaded. Stein was silent throughout the game, but singled allowing Hugo and Hull to score.
Reid made up for her errors with a catch on a line drive by third baseman Chanin Naudin. With two outs, first baseman Mariah Montgomery singled to right field, allowing another run to score. However, Canion has a huge strikeout to end the game.
Baylor will play its last conference series against Texas Tech beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday at Getterman Stadium. The game will be aired on ESPN.