Home field on the line: Softball hosts KU in series with postseason implications

The No. 21 Lady Bears take on Kansas in their last home regular season series starting at 6:30 p.m. today at Getterman Stadium, a series that could possibly decide if the Lady Bears play any postseason games at home.

“It’s a big series. They are good; they have good hitting, good pitching. This will be a huge series for us, and last-time series for us seniors forever. It will be a big deal for us this weekend,” said senior pitcher Heather Stearns. “These four years have been great. We have a chance at hosting, but it might be the last chance to play on this field and it’s a bit emotional, a bit sad.”

The Lady Bears (36-12, 7-4) are coming off a solid mid-week win against Texas State and will need to continue with their A-game if they want to end senior weekend on a high note.

“I think Big 12 play always prepares you for tournament play. One of the top conferences year in and year out, and we have not only quality opponents in the Big 12, but we have quality opponents to play mid-week,” said head coach Glenn Moore. “We just played a strong Texas State team, but I think we are doing the things necessary to make us as competitive in postseason as possible.”

The Jayhawks (27-13, 4-2) have also had the momentum going for them after their Oklahoma matchup, winning seven straight games and outscoring opponents 60-6 since then.

“Coach [Megan] Smith has his team playing really well and as for the last few years, we were fortunate to do well against them last year, but they beat a lot of people last year and they are beating a lot of people this year,” Moore said. “They are certainly moving in the right direction. They are definitely going to be a tough opponent for us this weekend and we are going to really have to be prepared.”

With four seniors playing in what could be their final series at home, everyone is determined to play their best to give the seniors who have done so much for the program the proper way to go out.

“Four seniors who aren’t just wearing a uniform, they are contributors,” Moore said. “They are contributors to Baylor’s reputation off the field, great ambassadors for this school. Very blessed to have student-athletes like these four. Bittersweet obviously, but to see them go is going to be sad. To have the opportunity to have our paths cross at a certain time in our lives is a blessing. They are certainly four that we are going to miss.”

With Stearns in the lineup to pitch, she knows how valuable it will be to hit her marks and adjust quickly if her team wants any chance to take home the series.

“I think we are just going to need to execute in every aspect. We need to pitch great and play great defense. They have a great pitcher, so our hitters will just need to really study their pitcher and make adjustments as the week goes on,” Stearns said. “I think they are just a team that just isn’t going to give up.”

The Lady Bears will also take on the Jayhawks at 5 p.m. Saturday followed by a noon game on Sunday.

“We just want to go out each day and play good ball. We haven’t played up until just recently as well as we thought we were capable of, and I think we are going in the right direction right now,” Moore said. “We need to focus on the small things, and I think the big things will take care of themselves.”