By Parmida Schahhosseini
The No. 20 Baylor softball team (15-2) will compete in the Wilson/Demarini Invitational from Friday to Sunday in Tempe, Ariz. Baylor will put its 14-game winning streak, which is tied for the best in program history, on the line as it faces off against North Carolina. Baylor will finish the weekend with a game against Arizona State.
On Friday, Baylor will start with a double-header against North Carolina at 10:00 a.m. and will play North Dakota at 12:30 p.m. North Carolina (11-5) is coming off of five straight wins, including the Carolina Classic. However, they have a 1-3 record against ranked teams. Lori Spingola, 2012 ACC Pitcher of the Year, is 4-3 and has 66 strikeouts in 60 innings. Spingola was also named Pitcher of the Week on Tuesday. The pitching staff collectively has an ERA of 2.24 and the Tar Heels are hitting .292 as a team.
North Dakota (2-4) is coming off an 8-0 loss to Iowa State on February 10. The team is hitting .183, but is allowing its opponents to hit .375. North Dakota doesn’t have a pitcher with a winning record and have a 9.00 ERA collectively.
Baylor will play another double-header beginning with East Carolina (6-8) at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. East Carolina is coming off of five straight losses, but its batting average of .286 is similar to its opponent’s batting average of .287. Pitcher Sarah Christian is the only pitcher with a winning record at 5-3, and she leads the team’s pitchers with a 2.52 ERA. As a team, the pitching staff has a 3.22 ERA, and its opponents have a 4.23 ERA.
Baylor will finish the day by playing Binghampton University (1-3) at 3:00 p.m. Despite its record, Binghampton has been competitive in each of its loses as they lost by an average of 1.3 runs. However, its offense has struggled, batting .184, while its opponents bat .252. Binghampton has consistency in the circle. Its pitching staff has a 2.30 ERA, which allows them to stay competitive in games.
Baylor’s biggest test will come against No. 3 Arizona State at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday. Arizona State has a 16-0 record and is hitting .355 as a team. The Sun Devils are consistent with a 1.06 ERA collectively as a pitching staff. They have five batters hitting around .500, but it’s the middle of the line up causing the damage. Their offense has scored 127 runs while the defense has only given up 18.
Baylor is in a great position to be competitive in the games due to the production in the circle. All of the pitchers have a winning record with a 1.10 ERA. In 12 of their 15 wins, the pitchers have given up one run or less. The offense has taken off since their slow start in the Getterman Classic. Baylor’s batting average is .321 due to the production of sophomore infielder Kaitlyn Thumann, senior centerfielder Kathy Shelton and freshman third baseman Sarah Smith, who have combined for 69 hits, 33 runs and 25 RBIs.