By Shehan Jeyarajah
No. 12 Baylor softball jumped on Louisiana Tech early and often in a five-inning 10-1 trouncing of the Lady Techsters at Getterman Stadium on Thursday night.
Senior pitcher Canion threw four innings of shutout ball and sophomore designated player Linsey Hays added a grand slam and a career-high five RBIs to push the Bears to an easy win in their first non-tournament home game of the season.
“Definitely feeling the effects of being in a charter bus for 10 hours,” senior first baseman Holly Holl said. “It’s definitely nice to be playing on our home field in front of a home crowd. We were just very relaxed.”
Senior pitcher Whitney Canion struck-out three straight Lady Techsters to open the game. Junior right fielder Kaitlyn Thumann hit a lead-off double and advanced to third after a groundout from freshman infielder Ari Hawkins. She scored on a single from sophomore designated player Linsey Hays. Junior third baseman Sarah Smith drove in Hays on an RBI double to make it 2-0 after one.
“You do that in the first inning and the other team’s going to be on their heels,” Canion said. “You kind of saw them make a few plays where they freaked out; from the first inning, we had them on their heels.”
Canion walked one Louisiana Tech batter, but struck out another to blank the Lady Techsters to start the second.
Freshman center field Lindsey Cargill doubled in the bottom of the second and Thumann singled to advance her to third.
After Thumann stole second, freshman second baseman Ari Hawkins reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases. That set up Hays’s bases-loaded blast to put Baylor up 6-0.
“It was actually outside, a little bit high,” Hays said. “Perfect pitch for me to drive it and hit it out over left field. Those are those sweet pitches you like to see as a hitter.”
After Canion held the Lady Techsters again, senior first baseman Holy Holl homered in the first pitch of the bottom of the third.
“It’s been a rough year for me personally to start, but I’ve just got to take a deep breath,” Holl said. “I know how to hit, and I can hit the ball, I just had to put a swing on a good pitch. It takes a big hit like that to remind yourself that you can do this; that you’re here for a reason.”
Freshman center fielder Lindsey Cargill walked in the next at-bat, and junior right fielder Kaitlyn Thumann made it to second to put runners on second and third.
Freshman second baseman Ari Hawkins reached on a fielder’s choice and Cargill scored.
After a muffed throw, Thumann scored and Hawkins advanced to third. Senior catcher Clare Hosack hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Hawkins and put Baylor up 10-0 after three.
Louisiana Tech right fielder Janine Godwin hit a lead-off home run in the fifth inning to cut the lead to 10-1, but Baylor held on to win by run-rule after five.
Hays led the way with two hits, two runs and five RBIs in three at-bats for the Bears. Holl added a home run in two at-bats.
Thumann’s Big 12-leading batting average moved to .485 after three hits in three at-bats. Thumann is hitting .630 over the last eight games.
Canion moved to 9-3 after allowing two hits and striking out eight in four shutout innings.
Louisiana Tech pitcher Anna Cross allowing six runs for the loss.
“It was good to be home, but I guess we don’t really want to play here, because this one was over in a hurry!” Baylor coach Glenn Moore said.
“Really impressed with the way we set the tone early. The first inning, probably the best start we’ve had to a game this season. Whitney’s going out and putting up zeros.”
The Lady Bears will return to action from March 14-16 as they take part in the USF Spring Break Invitational in Clearwater, Fla.