By Parmida Schahhosseini
The No. 15 Lady Bear Softball team will play its last nonconference game of the season against the UT Arlington Mavericks at 5 p.m. today at Getterman Stadium. Baylor leads the series against the Mavericks 51-26-1 with the Lady Bears winning the most recent match up 3-0 on Feb. 22, in San Marcos.
Baylor (25-5) is looking to rebound from the 5-1 loss against No. 20 Hawaii.
However, Baylor has won three of its last four games, including the first game of the double-header against Hawaii in which head coach Glenn Moore got his 500th career win.
“It’s a special accomplishment because of the players and coaches who have made it happen,” Moore said. “I thought we executed very well tonight and I am really happy with this victory.”
Moore will try to add another win to give Baylor momentum before beginning conference play at home Saturday against the Texas Longhorns.
UT Arlington (15-11) played in the San Diego Classic II March 14-18 in San Diego, Calif. finishing 3-3, including an extra-inning loss against Miami.
The Mavericks have two hitters averaging above .250.
UT Arlington’s batting staff has produced 148 hits, but they have given up 160. However, the team averages more runs than it gives up.
“I think we can compete with any team if we have solid pitching, good defense and timely hitting,” UTA head coach Kristie Fox said.
Teri Lyles (14-4) leads their pitching staff with a 1.57 ERA. Lyles has 73 strikeouts but has allowed 84 hits and 30 runs.
Callie Collins (1-7) has struggled allowing 76 hits and 32 runs.
The pitching staff combines for a 2.00 ERA while its opponents have a 2.53 ERA.
Baylor may have lost to Hawaii in its last game, but this team has been able to respond well after losses so far this season.
The team’s only back-to-back losses came early in the season against Illinois State and Sam Houston State.
The Lady Bears’ offense has been able to produce hits, out-hitting its opponents 249 to 112.
Baylor has also been efficient in scoring runs, out-scoring its opponents 145-48 on the season.
Freshman third baseman Sarah Smith has stepped up and leads the Lady Bears in batting average at .443. Smith has also scored 14 runs this season.
Sophomore outfielder Kaitlyn Thumann and senior center fielder Kathy Shelton have also played significant roles in Baylor’s offense. Shelton leads the Lady Bears with 41 hits while contributing 20 runs and Thumann leads the Lady Bears with 26 runs and also has 40 hits to her credit.
The power offense that Moore wants to transition to has been a success due to the powerful hits from players like freshman outfielder Lindsay Hays, who leads the team with four home runs. Hays also has 27 hits and 18 runs.
The speed of freshman outfielder Justine Young has been a key to make Baylor dangerous on the bases. While Young only has three hits, she has scored 10 runs. Moore puts Young in to pitch run for various players because she is a threat to steal bases.
The pitching staff has been consistent throughout the season for a combined 1.25 ERA. Junior left-handed pitcher Whitney Canion (13-3), who came back from an ACL injury, has struck out 132 batters while only allowing 22 runs. She is only one win away from tying Baylor’s career-wins record of 82.
Canion recently eclipsed the 1,000-strikeout mark. She is Baylor’s all-time strikeout leader with 1,008 for her career. She is only the sixth Big 12 pitcher to reach this milestone.
Freshman right-handed pitcher Heather Stearns (7-2) has struck out 76 batters and has only allowed 11 runs.
Senior right-handed pitcher Courtney Repka (4-0) has a .39 ERA and has struck out 19 batters thus far.
The Lady Bears hope to begin conference play on Saturday with a little bit of momentum.