By Krista Pirtle
The No. 14 Lady Bears softball team finally took the field at Getterman Stadium after an eight-game road trip, shutting out UTSA 5-0.
“I’m not sure how we got the shutout,” head coach Glenn Moore said.
Moore was referring to his disappointment in his pitching staff, which allowed the leadoff batter on base each inning.
“But it’s unacceptable to have that many leadoff batters on,” Moore said. “You never saw them fold, but they were one big hit away from damage. They’re better in the bullpen, but they have to bring it to the circle. And that’s what’s disappointing me [is] the inconsistency.”
Freshman Liz Paul started in the circle for Baylor, going 3.1 innings and allowing three hits while walking three and striking out two.
Sophomore Courtney Repka took over in the fourth inning, with bases loaded and two outs. She went to work, forcing the batter to hit a slow roller back to her and tossing it to first for the last out of the inning.
“In the fourth, I felt really good just coming in there and getting out of the jam and allowing us to get some runs,” Repka said.
Still, Moore said he wanted to see more solid performances from both of his pitchers.
“[Paul] didn’t have the pop,” Moore said. “She didn’t have the location. We brought Courtney in and she got us out of a jam, but she needs to be more consistent. She needs to be able to finish it.”
Even though Paul couldn’t find her groove in the circle, she was completely at home in the batter’s box, going 3-3 with two singles and a double.
“I’ve been saying all year the kid [Paul] can hit,” Moore said.
The Lady Bears had a total of 11 hits on the evening, highlighted by senior Dani Leal’s 13th homer of the season.
“I was expecting the outside pitch,” Dani Leal said. “That pitch was right down the middle so I just took it.”
The game started off slowly, as no runs scored until the bottom of the third.
Sophomore Kathy Shelton got on base with a one out single and then stole second. Junior Kayce Walker then drew a walk. With two on and only one out, junior Megan Turk delivered at the plate with a single to left field, scoring Shelton for a 1-0 Baylor lead.
The Lady Bears scored again in the fourth as senior KJ Freeland led off with a single to right field. After a single by Paul and a sacrifice fly to center by senior Jordan Vannatta, junior Sydney Wilson laid down a suicide squeeze to score Freeland and make it safely to first, making the score 2-0. Baylor added insurance runs in the fifth with Leal’s three-run bomb over right center.
Things looked to get interesting in the top of the seventh as UTSA had the bases loaded with one out. Repka delivered the pitch, and senior Kristin Kappler hit a grounder to Leal, setting up the 6-4-3 double play to end the ballgame.
The Lady Bears’ next matchup is a two game conference series against Oklahoma State beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friday in Waco.
As of Tuesday, seven Big 12 softball teams remain ranked in the top 25, with Texas Tech just outside and only Kansas and Iowa State receiving no votes.