By Parmida Schahhosseini
The No. 25 Baylor softball team will look to improve its record on its first road test against Texas State at 7 p.m. today in San Marcos for the Texas Shootout.
Baylor started the season slowly, despite winning the Getterman Classic on Feb. 10. Their offense couldn’t get going, which put more pressure on the defense and pitching, but Baylor responded the following weekend with offensive speed and power as they got more aggressive and began hitting balls. This contributed to their 5-0 sweep of the Miken Classic, putting them at 10-2 for the season.
“I definitely think we got better than last weekend,” freshman outfielder Linsey Hays said after winning the Miken Classic. “That’s what we’re trying to do, trying to get better every weekend, every game.”
“I think this team plays great on the road,” junior left-handed pitcher Whitney Canion said. “I’m ready for some team bonding, just team time on the road.”
Team time is what the Lady Bears need because they are a young team trying to figure out the right chemistry.
After early struggles, Baylor found its rhythm as it had solid games last Friday to Sunday.
After a rough career start for freshman right-handed pitcher Heather Stearns, the nerves left her and she won her next three starts. She also closed a game against Pacific on Sunday by not allowing any runs.
The freshmen contributed offensively, accounting for 21 of the 47 runs scored this season.
Baylor has been playing more aggressive as they are now ranked 12th in the nation in stolen bases per game. Senior centerfielder Kathy Shelton is 86-of-93 for her career and she plans on adding more as head coach Glenn Moore said his offense needs to play with added aggression.
Baylor’s transition to power offense will give the Texas State defense problems because of their inconsistent pitching. Of their five pitchers, only one has a winning record. While they have scored 35 runs in nine games, they have allowed 43. As a team, Texas State has an ERA of 4.86, while their opponents have an ERA of 2.52.
The Texas State offense has two players with five or more runs compared to four players for Baylor.
Baylor’s defense has been playing well, allowing a total of 15 runs in the 12 games they played this season. The 12 game homestand was beneficial for Baylor as they tried to figure out their identity.
“I believe we got better this weekend,” Moore said. “Our pitching continues to be phenomenal, our defense improved and the hitters delivered in the clutch.”
Baylor’s confidence is growing and it continues to show after big games.
Freshman third baseman Sarah Smith played well in her 11 starts with a batting average of .462. Overall, Baylor has a batting average of .299 while allowing its opponents hit just .137.
Texas State has a batting average of just .256.
Moore expects the same effort on the road that they gave at home.
“I am proud that we won our first two tournaments at home,” Moore said. “I am eager to see how we respond on the road over the next couple of weekends.”