Baylor softball hosts Baylor Invitational Tournament

Photo credit: Penelope Shirey

Beginning Friday, Baylor will welcome in Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, the University of Massachusetts, and Saint Francis University in the Baylor Invitational Tournament.

On Wednesday Baylor softball head coach Glenn Moore won career game No. 800 when the Lady Bears swept a doubleheader against McNeese State.

Moore was appreciative of all those who have contributed to the accomplishment after the game on Wednesday.

“I never got a hit or threw a pitch in any of those 800, so I’ve got to thank my players and coaches for that,” Moore said. “I’m very proud of and blessed to have the opportunity to coach at the places I’ve coached. I’m certainly very happy to be at Baylor, and to have gotten most of those wins here.”

This weekend, Moore will have his first chance to add to it as the Lady Bears play host to the Baylor Invitational at Getterman Stadium.

Senior pitcher Kelsee Selman, who enters the weekend with a 4-2 record and a 1.79 earned run average, is looking forward to getting the North Texas loss out of her system by getting back to work and just trying to throw strikes.

“That kind of hurt a little bit. I hate to lose and with North Texas for a third time in a row hurt,” Selman said. “I’m looking forward to getting back out there and working on things I need to improve on. I’m focused on throwing strikes and letting them hit the ball and letting my defense do the work.”

Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville enters 8-2 overall, hitting .262 as a team and averaging five runs per contest. Both of its losses this season came on the road at No. 2 Auburn, one of which went to extra innings.

The University of Massachusetts comes to Baylor 2-3 overall and has lost its last three contests, failing to score a run in all three games.

Saint Francis University is 8-2 overall, hitting at a .281 clip at the plate. The Red Flash also split a two-game set with Fordham, who beat Baylor in its season opener in Tucson, Ariz.

For Moore, this tournament allows Baylor to see some new teams and continue to work on the right combination of lineups to help manufacture some more offense.

“New teams in this tournament. There is history with some of these teams, especially with UMass, as they have a history of being very successful in the sport. They are certainly very competitive,” Moore said. “All we are trying to do is get our identity and find out what we’re capable of. We’re still trying to figure out a combination of lineups that works, so we can manufacture more runs and give our pitchers a bit of a cushion in there.”

One of the issues that Baylor is trying to sort out is the offensive production in the middle of its lineup. The third, fourth and fifth hitters in the Lady Bears’ lineup are only hitting .246 as a group and have 17 of the team’s 109 total hits.

Regardless of the offensive woes in the middle of the lineup, junior outfielder Jessie Scroggins is confident they are coming around.

“I think our offense is coming along well. We do need to put some pieces together but I think we’ll be fine in the long run,” Scroggins said. “I think when it comes down to crunch time, our big bats will show up when they need to.”

The biggest bat thus far or Moore and the Lady Bears has been sophomore outfielder Kyla Walker. Walker is hitting a scorching .600 at the plate with 21 hits in 35 appearances. She has extra base hits as well, contributing two doubles and the team’s only two triples. She is quick and puts pressure on the defense by constantly putting the ball in play as she has only one strikeout on the season. She also has been a nightmare on the bases for opponents, stealing six bases in seven attempts.

With her early season success, Moore sees as her as one of the best to have ever worn a Baylor uniform.

“She’s a phenom. You heard it here first, she might be the best hitter we’ve had here,” Moore said. “When she fails that 4 out of 10 times that she’s failing right now, it eats her alive and she doesn’t just lose it, she learns how to go back in there. Getting her out twice in a row is a feat for any pitcher. She’s unbelievable.”

Baylor will look to continue to ride Walker’s bat and hope the bats in the middle of the lineup will wake up beginning at 3 p.m. today against SIU-Edwardsville. The Lady Bears will then take on UMass at 5:30 p.m. tonight. The Lady Bears will then take on Saint Francis University at 10 a.m. tomorrow morning.