By Cody Soto
No. 10 Baylor softball showcased new faces and veteran talent in the team’s season opening tournament Friday afternoon, and despite some sluggish innings, the Bears blew past Wichita State 7-4 and Stephen F. Austin 10-3 at Getterman Stadium.
“We had good moments and we had ugly moments, pretty typical of a first weekend,” head coach Glenn Moore said. “I’m happy to come away with two wins. The competition was very good today.”
The Bears featured three pitchers on the mound during the two matchups, junior Heather Stearns, redshirt freshman Sarah Beth Toban and freshman Kendall Potts. Stearns came away with the win against Wichita State while Toban sealed the victory over SFA.
The Bears turned up the heat in the second inning against the Shockers as sophomore outfielder Christy Lisenby drilled a pitch from Jenni Brooks past left-center field for the team’s first home run of the season.
Baylor took advantage of an error by Wichita State to score two more times in the inning, leading 3-0 heading into the third. However, the Shockers didn’t settle for anything. Wichita State took a 4-3 lead after a Baylor error disrupted the flow of the defense, forcing the Bears to play from behind.
“All three pitchers were challenging us a little bit and we just had to make adjustments at bat,” Hays said. “We’ve definitely picked up where we left off last year, and that’s great.”
The lead didn’t last long though. Lisenby scored another run and forced Wichita State to switch their pitcher, allowing Baylor to retake the momentum. At the bottom of the fourth inning, Hays hit the right field foul pole to bring in a three-run homer for the 7-4 lead.
“I was seeing the ball really well,” Hays said. “I had been struggling up until this point, so it felt really good to come out here and swing the bat really well.”
The Shockers tried to make a late rally, but the Bears held their ground for their first win of the season.
Stephen F. Austin
In the second leg of the team’s doubleheader on Friday, Hays picked up right where she left off from the first game and drilled another home run for the quick 1-0 Baylor lead in the second inning.
Senior outfielder Kaitlyn Thumann also looked hot behind the plate as she nailed three triples in the game, tying the NCAA record for triples in a single game. Her first one came in the first inning and she followed up with the hits in the second and seventh innings.
“That was a phenomenal effort,” “[SFA pitcher Callee Guffey] really baffled us and I was impressed with her. We were struggling to figure her out, but KK looked to be back in her old self. To get three triples in this sport is pretty big.”
Things weren’t easy though. Guffey dished six strikeouts as the Lady Jacks looked to rattle Baylor. SFA scored a home run of its own in the sixth inning in an effort to pull together the win, but luck ran out when Baylor piled up five runs in the seventh inning to take the 10-3 win.
“The ending was big,” Moore said. “Last night, we talked about making a statement in some games. We need to have that mentality, and I thought it put an exclamation point on what we talked about as a team.”
Baylor (2-0) faces Texas A&M Corpus Christi Saturday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. in the final game before bracket play in the 2015 Fairfield Inn & Suites North Getterman Classic.