Softball notches wins over top-ranked squads

Matt Hellman | Lariat Photographer
No. 27 senior Jordan Vannatta swings at a pitch in a game last season against Prairie View A&M. Behind strong pitching and consistent offense, the Lady Bears stand at 21-3 with four games left before conference play.

By Krista Pirtle
Sports Writer

Over spring break, the Lady Bears softball team landed the No. 22 spot in the national ranking as they brought home some big wins, most notably over No. 6 UCLA and No. 4 Arizona.

Most recently, the Lady Bears went to No. 4 Arizona for a three game series ending Sunday.

In the first matchup on Friday, Baylor blanked Arizona 6-0, thanks to home runs from freshmen Shelbi Redfearn and Clare Hosack and sophomore Whitney Canion, who also pitched seven innings allowing one hit while walking three and striking out nine.

The Lady Bears struck in the second, as Canion homered to right field and RBIs from senior KJ Freeland and sophomore Kathy Shelton built the lead.

Redfearn followed with a home run of her own, her sixth for the year.

The second matchup didn’t prove as friendly for the Lady Bears, as they fell, 9-7.

Baylor had a 7-3 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth, but a five run inning for Arizona turned everything around.

“This is a tough loss because we had it in the palm of our hands,” coach Glenn Moore said Saturday. “Arizona is a good team and they responded in front of their home crowd when they had to. We have to rebound quickly and get ready for tomorrow.”

And that is just what they did on Sunday.

Arizona was leading 2-0 going into the seventh when senior Dani Leal smacked a two run shot over the left field fence to tie the game.

With one out, Freeland bunted her way to first and advanced to third after back-to-back walks. Then, Redfearn sent a shot to right field for the sac-fly, scoring Freeland for the 3-2 lead.

The players were not available for interview while on the road, but Moore echoed their sentiment.

“I am so proud of this team and what they accomplished this weekend,” Moore said after the win. “These kids never gave up today, and we finally wore them down enough to take advantage and come through in the clutch.”

Earlier in the week the team flew to California to take part in the Campbell/Cartier Classic, in which it went 4-1.

Baylor’s first game, against defending NCAA champion and No. 6 ranked UCLA was played after a day full of travel and finished at almost midnight CST; however, the fatigue of the road did nothing to hinder the Lady Bears.

Canion struck out 14, while allowing only three hits, one run and three walks in a 5-1 win.

The game was scoreless through three until Canion hit a two out RBI double, scoring junior Megan Turk from second and giving the Lady Bears a 1-0 lead.

The Baylor bats got hot in the fifth, as Shelton hit a one out single up the middle and scored on a Walker triple to left center, making the score 2-0. Leal then bunted for a base hit to score Walker. With two outs in the inning, Turk hit her second double of the night, scoring Leal for the 4-0 lead.

Leal added to the Baylor lead in the top of the seventh, smashing a solo homerun, making it 5-0.

At the Campbell/Cartier Classic, Baylor also beat No. 23 Fresno State, Cal Poly and San Diego State. Its lone blemish came in a 7-1 loss to Long Beach State.

The Lady Bears are back home to face the University of Texas at Arlington at 5 p.m. today.