By Krista Pirtle
The No. 15 Lady Bears improved on their Big 12 record, now 7-3, as they swept the Kansas Jayhawks in a two-game series in Lawrence, Kan., last weekend.
Pitches were improved and bats were on fire as Baylor outhit and outscored Kansas 25-11 and 17-3 respectively on the series.
Game one started out with a bang as the Lady Bears scored six runs in the second inning, five of them with two outs.
Senior Dani Leal led off the inning with her 12th homer of the year for the 1-0 lead.
Senior KJ Freeland got on with a single and freshman Clare Hosack advanced her to third on a double of her own.
Junior Sydney Wilson’s hit to short looked to end the inning, but a bobble from the shortstop kept Baylor alive as Freeland scored and Wilson made it safely to first.
With Hosack on third, sophomore Kathy Shelton laid down a suicide squeeze and Kayce Walker singled to score Wilson.
With the Lady Bears’ bats hitting their climax, Kansas made a pitching change, from Alex Jones to Allie Clark, whose wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third. Clark’s pitch opened the door for junior Megan Turk to drive a two-RBI single to right to go up 6-0.
Another run came in the fourth as Shelton got on with a single, and after stealing her 24th base of the season to get in scoring position, she crossed home plate via Leal’s groundout for a 7-0 lead.
Sophomore Whitney Canion was done in the circle after striking out the side in order in the fourth.
Kansas finally made it home with a two-run homer from Maggie Hull in the fifth.
Canion wasn’t out of the game just yet, however, as she grounded out to the shortstop but scored Walker, who led off with a single. Freshman Holly Holl got an RBI of her own with a single to center scoring Turk from third.
The Jayhawks scored again in the bottom of the seventh as sophomore Mariah Montgomery knocked in a run with a single.
Baylor made quick work of Kansas in the second game as Canion pitched all five innings, shutting out the Jayhawks and allowing only two hits while walking two and striking out nine. Canion needed only five innings before the NCAA’s mercy rule, giving a win to any team winning by eight or more runs after five innings, was enacted.
With two outs in the top of the first, the Lady Bears went to work as Shelton, Leal and Canion loaded the bases for Holl to clear them with her double to left center, taking command with a 3-0 lead.
Hosack led off the second inning with a double and was knocked in with a single by freshman Shelbi Redfearn.
With Redfearn on first, Canion smashed her fourth homer of the season to right center, making the score 5-0.
Turk made the score 6-0, stealing home on a wild pitch.
The run-rule victory was sealed in the fifth by Shelton’s first career homerun over right field to make it 8-0.
The Lady Bears hope to keep their bats hot as they take a break from conference play and host UTSA at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Getterman Stadium.