By Krista Pirtle
Last weekend the battle between the No. 17 Baylor and No. 21 Texas A&M softball teams proved how tough conference play will be in 2011 as they split the series, both with walk-off home runs. Baylor took the first game Saturday, 2-1, in 11 innings and Texas A&M took the second, 6-5.
The Lady Bears hosted Saturday’s game in front of a record crowd of 1,460 who went crazy as junior Megan Turk picked the perfect time to hit her first home run of the season.
It sailed over the left field wall in the bottom of the 11th inning, giving the Lady Bears a 2-1 lead to end the game.
Baylor scored in the bottom of the first inning when junior Kayce Walker stole home with two outs after the catcher misfired to second base trying to throw out senior Dani Leal, who was stealing second to bait the throw.
In the top of the third, a ground ball hit from a changeup came back to sophomore pitcher Whitney Canion, who threw it over freshman first baseman Holly Holl’s head and allowed an Aggie to score.
After that, both teams couldn’t seem to get anyone across home plate. In the top of the 10th, the Lady Bears loaded the bases with two outs, but a grounder to shortstop by sophomore Kathy Shelton sent the game into the eleventh.
Both Texas A&M sophomore Melissa Dumezich and Canion pitched all 11 innings for the teams, with Dumezich allowing two runs off five hits.
Canion proved just as dominant in the circle, allowing only one run off four hits, with two walks and seven strikeouts.
Aggies even series with homer
The second game between Baylor and Texas A&M proved much more offensive, consisting of five home runs and 17 total hits.
It seemed like the Lady Bears were going to sweep the opening series of conference play; the Aggies thought otherwise.
In the seventh, Nicole Morgan hit her second homerun of the game, scoring two runs and robbing Baylor of a win.
Canion pitched all seven innings in this game as well, allowing six runs on eight hits, striking out eight and walking six.
Junior Lindsey Sisk started the game for the Aggies but only lasted four innings as she allowed four runs on three hits. Dumezich came back into the circle for the last three innings.
Baylor started off the second game in College Station strong, scoring two runs in the top of the first thanks to four hits.
Texas A&M scored in the bottom of the fourth with a solo home run to right field by Morgan, cutting the Baylor lead in half 2-1.
In the top of the seventh, Leal hit her second home run of the afternoon to left field, pulling the Lady Bears ahead, 5-4.
The Lady Bears’ next matchup is a doubleheader against Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches. They will resume Big 12 play this weekend, hosting a two-game series against Missouri at Getterman Stadium.
The Lady Bears and Tigers take the field at 2 p.m. Saturday for the first game and meet again at noon Sunday.