By Shehan Jeyarajah
Senior Day is always a special day for Baylor softball, but it could not have ended in better fashion for Baylor’s four members of the Class of 2014.
Senior first baseman Holly Holl hit a home run in the first, senior left fielder Liz Paul, usually a relief pitcher, added the first home run of her Baylor career and No. 14 Baylor (36-12, 9-4) completed the weekend sweep of Kansas (29-19, 3-9) in a commanding 10-0 victory over the Jayhawks in five innings on Sunday afternoon.
Holl has struggled at times this year, only hitting .266 coming into the game, but today was her Senior Day. With freshman second baseman Ari Hawkins on base, Holl took a few wild swings that flew foul. In the seventh pitch of the at-bat with a full count, Holl ripped one over the center field wall for her fifth home run of the season.
In her four years as a Bear, Paul had never hit a home run, largely due to lack of opportunity. Playing most of the year as a relief pitcher, Paul had only 57 total at-bats and six this season leading into Sunday’s game. She looked shaky in her first at-bat in the second, but she wanted it in her second. With Browder on first and no outs, Paul launched a bomb over the left field foul pole for the first homer of her career.
The Paul shot began the fireworks for Baylor in the fourth inning. Freshman center fielder singled in the next at-bat, and junior right fielder Kaitlyn Thumann blasted a homer to left center for her first career home run at Getterman Stadium.
Ari Hawkins and Holl hit singles and senior catcher Clare Hosack added a walk to load the bases, still with no outs in the fourth. In the next at-bat, sophomore second baseman Sarah Smith was hit by a pitch from Kansas pitcher Alicia Pille to drive home a run, the fifth of the inning to that point.
After junior shortstop Jordan Strickland fouled out to second for the first out of the inning, sophomore designated player Linsey Hays earned a bases-loaded walk for another Baylor run. Paul added a sacrifice fly to left for her career-high third RBI of the game. After Cargill walked to once again load the bases, Thumann singled up the middle for the eighth run of the inning to give the Bears a commanding 10-0 lead.
After that, it was three up and three down for the Jayhawks on the way to a decisive Big 12 victory.
All three seniors who batted scored a run, and senior left-hander Whitney Canion earned the win after throwing a complete game shutout. The win was Canion’s third win in three days.
Baylor dominated Kansas in virtually every facet of the game for the series. The Bears held the Jayhawks to only one run in three games, and forced them to strand 24 runners on base throughout the course of the series.
The Bears will return to action at 6 p.m. on Tuesday with a mid-week home game against North Texas and against on Wednesday at 5 p.m. with a game against McNeese State at Getterman Stadium.