By Cody Soto
No. 17 Baylor softball had 10 hits in its final non-conference matchup against in-state opponent UTSA, but the Bears were unable to score two runs in the ninth inning, dropping a 2-1 decision to the Roadrunners on Wednesday evening at Getterman Stadium.
“The difference was when the game was winnable we didn’t take advantage of it,” head coach Glenn Moore said. “We had good hitters up there who were capable, so I’m disappointed because the win was important. This is our field and we had an opportunity to do it. We did have a lot of hits, but we couldn’t get the runs across the base.”
The Bears (34-13) were led by freshman pitcher Kendall Potts on the mound in the midweek matchup. Potts had five strikeouts and only allowed four hits during nine innings pitched in the loss.
“I was proud of myself for going all nine innings,” Potts said. “It really helps me feel confident and lets me know that I can perform on the field. Change ups were pretty good. We mixed it up very well tonight.”
Senior right fielder Kaitlyn Thumann kicked off the game with a single in the bottom of the first inning, but she was left stranded on second base to end the first frame. Potts and the Bears kept the Roadrunners scoreless through three innings, and sophomore second baseman Ari Hawkins drilled a ball to right centerfield to bring in sophomore left fielder Lindsey Cargill for the early 1-0 Baylor lead.
UTSA answered right back as first baseman Megan Low fired a bomb over center field to tie up the game at 1-1. Junior catcher Robin Landrith made an impressive diving catch to end the inning, but the Bears were unable to create offense immediately afterwards and went down in order.
Senior shortstop Jordan Strickland made three straight catches to keep the score unchanged in the top of the fifth inning, but the Bears still had no luck taking the lead heading into the sixth.
Sophomore pinch runner Riley Browder put the Bears in scoring position in the next frame, but Landrith was unable to keep the game going and made herself the third out for the Roadrunners. Thumann hit a double to left centerfield to kick off the seventh inning, and both freshman first baseman Shelby Friudenberg and Hawkins were walked, loading the bases for Baylor.
The Bears had the chance to win, but a fly ball from both junior designated player Linsey Hays and Strickland to left field forced extra innings with UTSA. Potts and the Bears made quick work of the Roadrunners in the top of the eighth inning, but a sluggish showing in the bottom half of the frame kept the game going.
“We hit the ball well, and we had a line drives caught, but we didn’t have timely hits,” Thumann said. “That’s what ended up losing the game for us. We couldn’t get across the plate, but pitching did phenomenal.”
A single from UTSA’s Randee Crawford made the difference. The hit to center field brought in Courtney Buchmann for the 2-1 Roadrunner lead, and although the bases were loaded, the Bears got out of the bad situation with an out at first base.
Cargill was walked to kick off the bottom of the ninth inning, but Baylor was unable to come up with any runs to prolong the game. Friudenberg and Hawkins both hit fly balls back to back, and Hays was struck out swinging to end the ballgame and give UTSA the 2-1 win over Baylor.
“We’ve got the right hitters in the box most of the time when that’s making place,” Moore said. “If those hitters aren’t going to produce in that place, we’re not going to get it done. We haven’t, and that’s what we need to do.”
Baylor quickly picks up the pace and heads to Lawrence, Kan. for one of its final Big 12 series. The Bears face the Kansas Jayhawks on Friday at 5 p.m. The Jayhawks have posted a similar season to Baylor.
“Kansas is kind of like us,” Moore said. “They’ll play really well one game and the next they will fall flat. I expect them to play their best game, and they’ve got some good stuff. We have to bring everything we have in order to win a series up there.”
Game two will be played at 2 p.m. on Saturday followed by the series finale at noon on Sunday afternoon.