By Shehan Jeyarajah
After taking a loss in its first Big 12 Conference game to Texas, No. 12 Baylor softball traveled to Lubbock to play a three-game series on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Bears handily recovered to sweep a hot Red Raider squad to move to 3-1 in conference play and to a hefty 27-6 on the season.
Baylor’s bats came off the bus ready to go as the Bears run-ruled Texas Tech 14-1 in six innings on Friday night in the series opener.
Senior pitcher Whitney Canion and senior reliever Liz Paul combined for six innings of lock down softball, combining for only two hits, one run and one walk allowed. Paul and Canion combined to retire 13 of the last 15 batters. Canion had 12 strikeouts against only 19 batters faced, the 24th such game of her career.
One week after being named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week, Texas Tech sophomore Gretchen Aucoin took the loss after allowing five earned runs and seven hits in only three innings.
In the second game on Saturday afternoon, Baylor struck first, but the Red Raiders did not go away quite as easily in a tight 6-4 victory for the Bears with sophomore pitcher Heather Stearns on the mound.
Unlike the offensive exhibitions that occurred in the first two games, Sunday afternoon’s game turned into a pitcher’s duel between Canion and Aucoin. The senior outdueled the sophomore on this day, and Baylor took home a 2-0 victory and series sweep over the Red Raiders.
Aucoin struck out all three batters she faced in the top of the first, and Canion appeared to falter early after allowing a single to sophomore infielder Samantha Camello, the second batter she faced.
From that point on, Canion blanked the Red Raiders. Save a seventh-inning walk allowed, Canion retired every batter she faced, for nine strikeouts and 99 total pitches in the one-hitter.
“I’m very pleased with the performance this whole weekend,” softball coach Glenn Moore said. “I thought the team came ready to play this weekend with outstanding pitching performances and back up by enough run support, great run support early on and enough to finish out the weekend with a win today.”
The weekend sweep of the Red Raiders was the first three-game road Big 12 conference sweep in Baylor history. The Big 12 began playing three-game series in 2012.
“It’s difficult to win a series on the road, much less get a sweep, so I couldn’t be happier with the way we performed this weekend,” Moore said.
Hosack smashed four home runs to move into a tie for eighth place on Baylor’s all-time home run list. The Bears had eight homers in the series. Canion only allowing two hits and one run in 12 innings pitched, striking out 21. Baylor will return home to face Lamar at 6 p.m. today at Getterman Stadium in Waco.