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The No. 15 Baylor Lady Bears hope to end their season on a high note by sweeping against the Texas Tech Lady Raiders. The series will begin at 7 p.m. today and will finish at noon Saturday in Getterman Stadium.
The Lady Raiders (29-24, 3-12 Big 12) have only won three of their last 15 games, which included a nine-game losing streak. The team has scored more runs than Kansas and Oklahoma State, but its offense has been in a slump, hitting .219 in Big 12 play. Texas Tech does have some power hitters, tying Kansas with the second-most home runs with 11.
Texas Tech has been susceptible to great pitching, so Baylor’s pitching staff must take advantage of the situation. Baylor has a 2.87 ERA, which is the third-highest in the Big 12. The staff has combined for 120 strikeouts and allowed 55 runs. Junior left-handed pitcher Whitney Canion and freshman right-handed pitcher Heather Stearns have put Baylor in positions to win. Combined with senior right-handed pitcher Courtney Repka and junior right-handed pitcher Liz Paul, the pitching staff has 17 games with double-digit strikeouts this season.
Canion and Stearns are both ranked in the top 10 in pitching during Big 12 play. Canion has a 2.54 ERA and Stearns follows with 2.91. However, Canion has a winning record at 6-3, while Stearns is 2-2 in Big 12 play. Both pitchers need to play at their best to not only better their stats, but also to win.
Texas Tech’s pitching is No. 6 in the Big 12 with a 3.67 ERA. All of its pitchers have losing records against Big 12 competition. The ace, pitcher Cara Custer (2-9), has struck out 36, but allowed 61 hits and 41 runs.
Baylor’s offense needs to get a boost from the play of senior center fielder Kathy Shelton. Shelton has 34 steals for the year and is two away from a Baylor single-season record.
Shelton already recorded her name in the record books with her 114 career steals. Sophomore outfielder Kaitlyn Thumann leads the team with a .378 batting average and ties Shelton for the most hits with 62.
Despite her recent slump, freshman third baseman Sarah Smith is still hitting .368 and leads the team with five home runs. In addition to the home runs, Smith has scored 14 runs while contributing 50 hits and 24 RBIs.
Freshman outfielder Linsey Hays and junior first baseman Holly Holl have each hit four home runs. Hays has 31 RBIs, which leads the team.
The Lady Raiders only have four players batting above .250 with Katelyn Williams leading the team with a .275 batting average. Mikey Kenny is batting .237, but leads the team with 9 runs and 12 RBIs in Big 12 play.
Baylor must finish business and take care of Texas Tech and carry that momentum for a lone game against Texas before ending Big 12 play.