By Parmida Schahhosseini
Baylor softball (5-2) will compete in the Miken Classic from today to Sunday after winning its seventh Getterman Classic this past weekend. The Lady Bears continue their 12-game homestand and they are 12-4 all-time in the Miken Classic.
The pitchers have started the Getterman Classic strong. Junior left-handed pitcher Whitney Canion has started the season strong with a .38 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 18.1 innings. Freshman right-handed pitcher Heather Stearns has shown great promise in her three starts, which included a no-hitter against Northern Illinois on Saturday. She was the sixth freshman in Baylor history to have a no-hitter. Stearns has a 1.65 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 17 innings.
“I thought our pitching was terrific once again,” head coach Glenn Moore said. “We have to start being more aggressive at the plate, but I am proud of this team’s effort.”
After winning their first game of the season, Baylor lost to putting them at 1-2. The Lady Bears bounced back after realizing that something needed to be done. The leadership stepped up, giving Baylor the edge it needed to finish off the right way.
“We had Holly Holl. She called us into a huddle before we went out and hit that inning and she was like, ‘We need to make a change,’” freshman catcher Bailey Chalmers said.
That was enough to get the team going as Baylor responded with a four-game win streak heading into the tournament, but itstill have work that needs to be done. Moore hopes to see more runs scored to help out the pitching. Despite the wins, Moore said the team needs to be more aggressive. He had them work on drills like sliding in the mud to get the team in the habit of sliding for bases.
Baylor will begin the tournament playing its first game of the double-header against Northern Colorado at 3 p.m. today at home. Northern Colorado went 2-3 in its opening tournament, hitting .257 as a team. They dropped their last game to South Dakota State, which ended up costing them the tournament win. Northern Colorado pitcher Kelci Cheney leads the pitching staff with a 0.78 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 18.0 innings. As a team, they have an ERA of 2.58 and 28 strikeouts. Baylor’s pitching staff combines for 1.15 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 48.2 innings.
The key to winning this game will be for Baylor to continue its work on defense, but improve the offense. The pitching will also need to be strong, but Baylor has the experience, returning three pitchers for a combined 135 career wins. Stearns has also improved from her first start.
“I felt much more comfortable in the circle tonight,” Stearns said. “I just concentrated on each pitch and what I needed to do.”
In the second game of the double-header, Baylor will face off Pacific, who has a perfect 3-0 record. Pacific’s pitching staff combined for 0.33 ERA, 13 strikeouts and two shutouts. In the three games they played, they had 27 hits, seven doubles and 17 runs.
On Saturday, Baylor will play in another double-header, but itsecond game depends on how it finishes. Their first game will be against Texas A&M Corpus Christi (1-4) at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at home. Their pitching staff combined for 5.82 ERA and 35 strikeouts in four games. In five games, they had 24 hits and 11 runs.
Baylor will finish off the day playing in bracket play depending on where every team finishes. The top-ranked team will faceoff the fourth-ranked team at 3 p.m. and the second-ranked team will play against the third-ranked team at 5:30 p.m.
The tournament will finish off on Sunday with the consolation game at 9 a.m. and the Championship game at 11 a.m. to determine the tournament winner.