Lady Bears sweep series against Cowgirls

Softball vs Illinois State at Getterman Stadium on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013. Matt Hellman | Lariat Photo Editor

Softball vs Illinois State at Getterman Stadium on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013. Matt Hellman | Lariat Photo Editor
Softball vs Illinois State at Getterman Stadium on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013.
Matt Hellman | Lariat Photo Editor
By Parmida Schahhosseini
Sports Writer

The No. 16 Baylor Lady Bears (33-10, 6-5 Big 12) swept the Oklahoma State Cowgirls (24-20, 2-7 Big 12) this weekend with a 5-2 win Sunday. Baylor was down two, but scored five unanswered runs for a win.

“It was very much needed,” head coach Glenn Moore said. “Hard to do, as we knew it would be, but the way we did it, coming from behind I think can go a long way.”

Baylor kept the game close throughout to allow for an opportunity to score runs. The Lady Bears struggled offensively, but a triple down the right field line from senior center fielder Kathy Shelton in the sixth inning gave Baylor the spark it needed.

Shelton went 3-2 and scored two runs. Junior first baseman Holly Holl is continuing to play well, hitting a critical two-RBI double to give Baylor the lead.

“I’m really confident with my swing,” Holl said. “I’m finally actually seeing and swinging at good pitches and laying off the bad ones.”

Junior left-handed pitcher Whitney Canion (18-6), who was on the mound after Stearns began to struggle in the third, allowed only one hit and one walk.

“Just coming in and trying to keep the close, and then seeing us score and have that big inning, that was pretty awesome,” Canion said. “Going into the seventh inning, I just thought no drama, and I thought I worked ahead there, but it was just really nice to see this team fight like that today.”

Stearns started the game striking out the first six out of seven batters, but began to struggle when Cowgirl right fielder Erika Campbell singled to the left side. Stearns then allowed a walk. With a runner in scoring position, Cowgirl catcher Tamara Brown singled to left center, allowing a runner to score. After a ground out, Oklahoma State first baseman Tarah Ettinger walked intentionally to load the bases when Samantha Chrisman was hit by pitch, allowing another score. A fly ball to left field ended the inning, but the damage was done.

With two outs, Baylor tried to respond as sophomore second baseman Jill Reid hit the first base hit for Baylor. However, she was caught stealing second to end the inning.

With Canion on the mound, Baylor retired the three batters to get back on offense. Shelton singled up the middle and stole second with Thumann at the plate. Thumann singled to right field and advanced to second on the throw. Shelton moved to third with no outs. Back-to-back groundouts put Baylor in a hole, and the Lady Bears were unable to hit a sacrifice fly ball.

However, Baylor caught a break as Shelton scored on a wild pitch and Thumann advanced to third. Freshman left fielder Linsey Hays drew a walk, leaving runners on the corners. Baylor stranded two after a fly ball to right field.

The consistent pitching and defense kept Baylor in the game. Canion allowed her lone walk in the fourth inning, but the runner got out on a fielders choice. Hosack threw out a runner who tried to steal second, ending the threat.

Oklahoma State pitcher Kat Espinosa, who was pitching her third straight game, began to wear out and Baylor took advantage. Shelton hit a triple and Thumann drew a walk. With no outs, Holl hit a two-RBI double down the left field line, allowing Shelton and Thumann to score. Freshman outfielder Justine Young pinch ran for Holl. A sacrifice bunt by freshman third baseman Sarah Smith advanced Young to third and Hays was hit by pitch to put runners on the corners. A bunt by sophomore shortstop Jordan Strickland scored Young, and Hosack followed with a single down the right field line allowing Hays to score. Canion retired the three Oklahoma State batters for the win.

Baylor will play a double header against North Texas beginning at 4 p.m. Wednesday in Denton.