By Shehan Jeyarajah
Baylor softball may not win them all, but they sure like to keep things interesting. Their opponent, the Houston Cougars, had won 11 straight heading in, including impressive wins over both Texas and Texas A&M at Cougar Softball Stadium.
When the dust cleared on Tuesday, Baylor split a double-header, ending Houston’s streak with a 3-0 win in extra innings, but having its offense fall short in a 3-2 loss in the second game.
“Houston played very hard and was a good team,” coach Glenn Moore said. “We would’ve liked to come away with the sweep, but I think today really prepared us for the weekend ahead.”
Things were scoreless in the first game all the way up until the eighth inning in Houston. Baylor’s offense was not able to muster a hit through seven innings. In fact, sophomore pitcher Julana Shrum had a perfect game going through regulation time. But just like in many other games this season, Baylor’s offense came to life at the right time, and the Bears pulled out a 3-0 victory.
In the scoreless top of the eighth, junior third baseman Sarah Smith walked and senior first baseman Holly Holl advanced her to second with a single. In the next at-bat, junior shortstop Jordan Strickland smashed an RBI double to right field to score Smith and advance Holl to third for the first run of the ballgame for either team.
Baylor kept the train rolling with a sacrifice ground from pinch hitter Liz Paul to score sophomore outfielder Justine Young and advance Strickland. Freshman outfielder Christy Lisenby added a base hit up the middle to drive Strickland home, and give Baylor a commanding 3-0 lead heading to the bottom of the eighth.
Sophomore infielder Katie St. Pierre hit a single off of left-hander Whitney Canion, but just like the first three times that Canion allowed a hit, nothing came of it. Baylor went on to win by that 3-0 margin.
Neither side got a runner on base until the third inning in Houston, when St. Pierre hit a single off of Canion that went nowhere.
In the fifth, Smith reached base following an error from sophomore shortstop Selena Hernandez, but Holl flied into a double-play to end the inning without the runner advancing.
St. Pierre once again singled in the sixth, and Houston looked to perhaps get some offense going when Hernandez singled as well in the next at-bat with no outs, but Canion wiped the slate clean with three straight strikeouts to end the inning.
Despite her no-hit bid through seven innings, Shrum took credit for the loss in the 3-0 Baylor victory.
Canion recorded the win after pitching eight scoreless innings and only allowing four hits and 13 strikeouts.
Strickland led the way for the Bears with a hit, an RBI and a run scored. Lisenby and Paul each also added RBIs.
St. Pierre had three hits in three at-bats for the Cougars, but only one other player got a hit for the Cougars.
After taking care of business in the first game, Baylor struggled to keep the momentum going in a 3-2 loss in the second game of the double-header.
Baylor had some ground to make up heading into the seventh, but for a while it looked as though they would do just that.
With one out, junior pinch hitter Sarah Crockett singled up the middle and Linsenby walked to move runners to first and second.
Freshman second baseman Ari Hawkins replaced Crockett on second, and freshman second baseman Riley Browder replaced Lisenby on first. Junior right fielder Kaitlyn Thumann doubled to right field to drive home Hawkins, move Browder to third and cut the lead to 3-2.
With runners and second on third and only one out, sophomore pinch hitter Bailey Chalmers came to bat in place of freshman Lindsey Cargill.
Chalmers grounded out the third baseman, bringing up sophomore left fielder Linsey Hays with the game on the line.
Unfortunately, Hays was unable to get a hit and flied out to end the game, 3-2.
Houston did most of its damage in a big third inning for the Cougars on sophomore right-hander Heather Stearns.
Freshman third baseman Jordan Rains had a single and St. Pierre added her fourth single of the day to advance runners to first and second. Hernandez then singled herself to load the bases.
Senior left fielder Kendra Cullum was hit by Stearns’ second pitch of the at-bat to drive home a run.
After junior right fielder Tiffani McKnight flied out for the first out of the inning, catcher Haley Outon hit an RBI single to drive home St. Pierre for the first run of the day for the Cougars.
Stearns them retired two straight to get out of a bases-loaded jam with only one run.
Senior pitcher Diedre Outon allowed Holl to hit an RBI double in the fourth to drive home senior catcher Clare Hosack, but the Cougars replaced Outon with Shrum once again, who ended the inning.
The Bears will come back home this weekend for a weekend Big 12 Conference series against No. 13 Oklahoma, the defending College World Series Champions.
The Bears will play the Sooners at 6:30 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday at Getterman Stadium.