By Parmida Schahhosseini
The No. 17 Lady Bears will play the Texas State Bobcats for the second time this season at 6 p.m. today in San Marcos.
The Lady Bears (29-10, 3-5 Big 12) will try to bounce back after losing three straight games against No. 1 Oklahoma. Texas State (9-28) comes in with a two-game winning streak despite its struggles.
This game will provide an opportunity for Baylor to boost its confidence before continuing with conference play Friday.
“That’s what we’re trying to do,” freshman outfielder Linsey Hays said. “[We are] trying to get better every weekend, every game.”
The last time the two teams played, Baylor won 10-2 and the game lasted five innings. Freshman infielder Sarah Smith had a break out game going 3-3 with a home run. Sophomore shortstop Jordan Strickland also had a productive day with three RBIs.
“Our offense allowed us to try some things and open the game up,” head coach Glenn Moore said after the first win. “We got a chance to work on a couple things defensively, and learn from mistakes we made.”
Baylor has been efficient against unranked teams, outscoring opponents 152-43.
The pitching staff has struggled as of late. Junior left-handed pitcher Whitney Canion (15-5) has struck out 173 batters, but allowed 42 runs on 75 hits. Canion has also allowed 52 walks.
Senior right-handed pitcher Courtney Repka struggled against Oklahoma, forcing Moore to put in additional relief pitchers.
Freshman right-handed pitcher Heather Stearns (9-4) has been a good No. 2 option for Moore, striking out 107 batters. Stearns has allowed 23 runs on 49 hits this season, but has only walked 14 batters.
“I am disappointed to not come away from this weekend with a win,” Moore said after the losses to Oklahoma. “We were in every game, but little breakdowns led to big innings. I thought we had good offensive game plans and performances on Friday and Saturday, and we have to get better from this weekend.”
Texas State’s offense has struggled this season, so Baylor has an opportunity to get its pitching staff some confidence. The Bobcats only have one hitter averaging over .300, but have six over .250.
Bobcat senior first baseman Haley Lemons has 11 RBIs and produced 16 runs on 34 hits. Sophomore third baseman Courtney Harris leads the team with 24 RBIs.
Baylor can also take advantage of the Texas State defense because of the runs it allows. Despite producing a lot of hits, it has been outscored 116-193.
Smith has been reliable for Moore.
She got on base twice against Oklahoma on Sunday during her three at-bats. She leads the team with a .312 batting average.
“When someone else hits, I want to hit,” Smith said. “Everybody then just starts hitting.”
Sophomore outfielder Kaitlyn Thumann struggled against Oklahoma pitcher Keilani Ricketts.
However, Thumann has been effective most of the year with a .410 batting average along with a .590 slugging percentage. Thumann also leads the team with 32 runs.
Senior center fielder Kathy Shelton also hits above a .400 and leads the team with 53 hits. Shelton also has 15 RBIs and scored 29 runs this season.