By Shehan Jeyarajah
It was a game of missed opportunities as No. 12 Baylor softball stranded seven runners on the way to falling to No. 13 Oklahoma 3-2 in the first game of the three-game weekend series against the Sooners.
Senior pitcher Whitney Canion struggled with walks, but held the Sooners to only three hits on the day, all in the decisive fifth inning.
“Whitney pitched well enough for us to win,” softball coach Glenn Moore said. “We were unable to make the most of our chances.”
Despite being no-hit through four, Oklahoma did its damage in the fifth inning. Catcher Whitney Ellis singled off of Canion to lead off the inning and designated player Leslie Miller smashed a two-run homer to left-center field to score the first two runs off of Canion that had been scored in 22.1 innings. A few batters later, right fielder Callie Parsons reached base on an error from Baylor freshman Christy Lisenby, setting up an RBI triple from shortstop Georgia Casey to give Oklahoma a 3-1 lead.
“I was really on except for that fifth inning,” Canion said. “When it rains, it pours. I gave up that one single, and I thought it was a good pitch to the DP, but she just got a hold of it. Other than those two pitches, I thought I had a hold of it.”
Baylor had multiple opportunities early, but could not take advantage. Left fielder Kaitlyn Thumann and designated player Linsey Hays both walked to open the game and catcher Clare Hosack singled to left to load the bases with only one out. Junior third baseman Sarah Smith hit into a fielder’s choice and senior first baseman Holly Holl struck out to end the inning scoreless.
“We had our opportunities and we didn’t capitalize on them, while they had few opportunities and capitalized on all of them,” Holl said. “That was the difference in the ballgame.”
Baylor once again had an opportunity in the bottom of the fifth, but could not come away with more than one run. With two outs on the board, freshman second baseman Ari Hawkins doubled up the right field line and Hays walked to put runners on first and second. After Hosack was hit by a pitch, the bases were loaded with Smith up to bat, and she delivered an RBI single this time around. Holl came up again with the bases still loaded, and struck out for the second time with the bases loaded.
Baylor’s only other run of the game came on a home run by Holl in the bottom of the fourth inning.
“I was 0-2 on that one,” Holl said. “You don’t usually expect something good to hit on an 0-2 count, but I think I was just so frustrated from the previous at-bat and being down in the count that if it was a pitch I could hit, I would hit it hard. I knew it was going.”
Oklahoma pitcher Kelsey Stevens allowed five hits and two earned runs in three innings on the way to earning the win. Canion allowed two earned runs and three hits in a complete game loss against one of the most potent lineups in the Big 12.
The Bears will return to action on Saturday against the Sooners at 4 p.m.