By Parmida Schahhosseini
The No. 15 Baylor Lady Bear softball team will begin conference play against No. 9 Texas at 2 p.m. Saturday at Getterman Stadium. Baylor finished its non-conference play with a 26-5 record.
Texas (27-4) has six players batting an average of .300 or higher. The Longhorn offense has been explosive as they outscore their opponent 204-56. They also have more than twice as many hits as their opponents.
Senior outfielder Taylor Hoagland leads the Longhorn offense with a batting average of .481 and leads the team in runs at 35. Hoagland also contributed 37 hits and 28 RBIs. Junior shortstop Taylor Thom and junior outfielder Brejae Washington lead the team in hits at 38. Thom and Hoagland also lead Texas with nine home runs.
The Longhorns have four active pitchers and have a combined 1.67 ERA. Pitcher Luna Blaire (13-1), who has a 1.31 ERA, struck out 174 batters while only allowing 19 runs. Two Texas pitchers have yet to lose a game. Kim Bruins (7-0) has a 1.57 ERA and struck out 56. Bruins has given up 43 hits and 12 runs. Gabby Smith (2-0) struck out 12 batters while giving up nine runs.
Baylor’s offense has been improving as sophomore outfielder Kaitlyn Thumann and senior centerfielder lead the offense. Shelton is two steals away from surpassing Baylor’s stolen base record currently held by Harmony Schwllhelm. Shelton leads the team in hits at 41 while recording 20 runs and 14 RBIs. She also has a .406 batting average. Thumann has a .435 batting average and leads the team in runs with 26. She also has 40 hits and two home runs.
Freshmen have also contributed. Third baseman Sarah Smith is batting .443 and has 14 runs and 35 hits. Outfielder Linsey Hays has allowed Baylor to transition to a power offense with her hard swings. Hays leads the team with four home runs and has scored 18 runs and has 27 hits.
Junior left-handed pitcher Whitney Canion (13-3) has struck out 132 batters while giving up 48 hits and 22 runs. Freshman right-handed pitcher Heather Stearns (7-2) has struck out 78 players and has only gave up 11 runs. Stearns has a 1.10 ERA and has experience in closing situations. Senior right-handed pitcher Country Repka (4-0) has struck out 19 batters and only gave up four runs.
Baylor has outscored its opponents 145-48 and out-hit its opponents 249-112.
Both Baylor and Texas have given up few runs while outscoring opponents by large margins. The battle between the pitchers will be a matchup to watch as Baylor and Texas have similar ERAs. The lead pitchers on both teams have also struck out over 100 batters, while giving up minimal runs.