By Krista Pirtle
After a week off from play, the Baylor softball team is back in action tonight as it hosts a double header against Florida International University. The Lady Bears then open conference play against No. 21 Texas A&M on Saturday.
After playing 12 games in as many days, a three-day break was necessary to revitalize the Lady Bears.
For junior third baseman Megan Turk, the break was “a blessing” and provided her with time to go home and see family and friends; however, when the team got back to the field on Monday, it was ready to go.
“I think it was good for everybody to get a break from each other,” sophomore pitcher Whitney Canion said. “But I think when we came back to practice on Monday, everyone was excited to get back out there.”
This was just what head coach Glenn Moore planned for his players, hoping to give them a breath of relaxation before the conference season.
“It was nice to get a three-day break,” Moore said. “I think it was set up at a good time. I scheduled [FIU] to hopefully knock off any dust before conference play that would occur from the break.”
Even though the Lady Bears will face a tough team to open Big 12 play, the team is not looking past its doubleheader against Florida International.
“They’re a pretty good team,” Turk said. “That’ll be really good for us to see where we are going into conference, what we need to work on before Saturday, what can we improve on in our game and our energy.”
Florida International has a three-pitcher rotation like Baylor. On the offensive side, they are led by junior Ashley McClain and her .405 batting average.
“They have one hitter over .400, but that’s phenomenal,” Moore said. “Anything over .300 is capable of beating you one out of three times, and there’s several that are over .300. We have to be prepared for two good ballgames.”
The Lady Bears do not have anybody hitting over .400, but they do have six hitting over .300.
While Baylor only knows enough about FIU to compare it to the University of North Texas, with whom Baylor split a doubleheader last Wednesday, the Lady Bears know plenty about the team just down Highway 6.
“Oh, we always know about A&M,” Turk said. “They’ve got good pitching and good hitting. They’re always at the top of our list. They’re a good ball club, but I think we are, too. It’s going to be a good matchup, great game, great series.”
Texas A&M is 26-7 on the season and has already recorded 47 homeruns, led by senior Rhiannon Kliesing, who is responsible for 12 and has a .395 batting average.
The Lady Bears know that once they open up conference play, the season will be far from a walk in the park.
“The whole Big 12 is just going to be a big dog fight week in and week out,” Coach Moore said. “We’re equally matched teams. They swing the bat awfully well. Forty-seven homeruns to this point, going into Big 12 with a half a hundred homeruns is pretty impressive, even intimidating. It’s nice to have them at home that first game, but it’s really going to come down to, what I believe, to whoever brings their best game and doesn’t defeat themselves.”
Baylor starts off their doubleheader against FIU at 4 p.m. today and then they begin conference play at 2 p.m. Saturday at Getterman Stadium.