By Cody Soto
The No. 10 Baylor softball team didn’t just need one win to advance to tomorrow’s championship game, but they needed to defeat Texas A&M-Corpus Christi twice on Saturday afternoon.
Despite a couple of errors and a close draw in each match, the Bears came away with a 6-3 win in pool play and a 3-0 win in bracket play over the Islanders to remain undefeated at the Getterman Classic.
“It was a much improved game than yesterday despite a couple of errors in the first game,” head coach Glenn Moore said. “We were facing two pitchers who did a good job, and we stayed patient. Eventually it wore down to the point where we could get hits.”
The Bears made several errors in the first meeting with TAMCC, including costly mistakes where several players missed throws to first base and allowed the Islanders to strike first, 1-0.
Baylor came right back in the bottom of the first inning as sophomore catcher Lindsey Cargill drilled a ball down left field to get on base. Cargill also scored the first run to put the Bears on the board as both teams headed to the second inning tied 1-1.
“Corpus Christ was good,” sophomore pitcher Brooke Seneshen said. “They hit well, they had good defense. They played a good game.”
TAMCC capitalized on yet another Baylor error throwing to first base and ran in another player to retake the lead, 2-1. The Bears didn’t see any on-base action quickly after that, but it was the third inning that made the difference in the matchup.
Junior Linsey Hays’ hit brought in Cargill for her second score of the day, and a left center field homer by junior first baseman Sarah Smith added two more runs on the board, opening up a 4-2 lead.
Sophomore second baseman Ari Hawkins made her way around the diamond for a run, and Cargill stole home for the 6-2 lead in the fourth inning. Another error at first base allowed TAMCC to keep their runner on base at the top of the fifth inning, and the Islanders cut the lead to one.
However, junior pitcher Heather Stearns took over for Seneshen to pitch two scoreless innings for the Baylor win.
“As Baylor softball, we always have to send a message more than other teams do,” Smith said. “We want to put teams early and not give them any false hope.”
Just 30 minutes later, No. 1-seeded Baylor faced the Islanders yet again in bracket play, and the game was a lot tighter than the first time around. Both teams were held to four scoreless innings as both TAMCC’s Liz Carter and freshman Kendall Potts pitched several strikeouts to remain tied at 0-0.
The Bears broke away in the fifth inning as catcher Michelle Sorenson’s error at home plate gave Baylor scoring runs from freshman infielder Caitlin Charlton and sophomore infielder Riley Browder for a 2-0 lead.
Baylor gave up one hit in the sixth inning but didn’t let the Islanders convert it into a score, holding the lead. Senior shortstop Jordan Strickland had her first hit of the season after struggling in the first three games of the season as she drilled the ball down center field to get on base. Strickland was previously 0-for-10 coming into Saturday’s game.
“It got that monkey on her back,” Moore said. “She can relax a little bit, so the hit was big for her. The kid had two home runs in the World Series. She’s been there, and we know she’s coming back. It’s just a matter of time, and you just have to work through that.”
Strickland capitalized on a double from freshman Shelby Friudenberg and ran home for the 3-0 Baylor lead. The Bears held off the Islanders from any type of comeback in the final inning as Potts dished a strikeout and an out at second base ended the game. Potts finished the game with six strikeouts in her first collegiate win at pitcher.
“It was mainly my curveball that was working today,” Potts said. “I learned what I needed to correct yesterday. Throwing a full game feels heartwarming.”
Baylor advances to the championship game of the 2015 Fairfield Inn & Suites North Getterman Classic to play either Stephen F. Austin or Wichita State Sunday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for noon at Getterman Stadium.