By Nathan Keil | Sports Writer
No. 14 Baylor softball had to wait one extra day to begin its quest for a Big 12 championship.
The Lady Bears were scheduled to begin a three-game set with Kansas on Friday when a weather front brought strong storms through the plains of Lawrence, Kan., forcing the teams to postpone the series opener until Saturday.
The weather may have temporarily halted conference play, but Baylor still took the opening series two games to one, winning the opener on Saturday 6-1 and 5-1 in Sunday’s finale. The Jayhawks stole a 6-4 win in extra innings in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader.
Senior pitcher Kelsee Selman picked up all three decisions in the circle for the Lady Bears, recording her 14th and 15th wins as well as her third loss of the season.
In the opener, Selman went the distance, allowing one run on four hits. She struck out eight without allowing a walk.
After giving up an unearned run in the bottom of the first, the Lady Bears picked up their senior ace. Freshman outfielder Maddison Kettler doubled and came around to score on an error by the Jayhawks. Baylor strung together four consecutive singles and took advantage of another miscue by Kansas to take a 3-1 lead in the third.
In the fifth, Baylor used the long ball to attack Kansas. Junior catcher Sydney Christiensen and junior outfielder Jessie Scroggins both hit solo home runs. Senior infielder Ari Hawkins added the third long ball for the Bears in the sixth, a solo shot to left.
In the nightcap on Saturday, Kansas tied the game at four in the bottom of the sixth and scored two in the bottom of the tenth to take a 6-4 win.
Baylor got a run in the first and second and two in the fifth. Scroggins led off the game with a home run to right center field. Senior infielder Lindsey Cargill scored on a groundout in the second. Junior infielder Shelby Friudenberg brought in a run on a single and a fourth run came in on a Jayhawk error.
The Jayhawks tied the game in the sixth on a wild pitch, and junior outfielder Erin McGinley hit a walk off two-run home run in the 10th to earn the win for Kansas.
Kansas head coach Megan Smith said the performance by sophomore pitcher Alexis Reid was gutsy and extraordinary.
“One of the things you are the most proud of as a coach is when a player has not as good of an outing as they should’ve had, but when they get the ball again and do what Alexis[Reid] did tonight,” Smith said on Kansas University’s official athletic site. “That’s the story of Alexis. She went out in our midweek and didn’t have our best but came out today and was fighting. She gutted it out, and that was fun to see.”
Selman came in to pitch in relief, allowing two runs on two hits while striking out four in the final 3 2/3 innings.
Selman was back to her dominant self in Sunday’s finale. She once again went the distance, allowing a single run on three hits while striking out 10.
The Lady Bears got a run-scoring single from freshman infielder Taylor Ellis in the fourth inning before erupting for four more in the sixth.
Christensen delivered a two-run double, Kettler brought in another run with a groundout and Scroggins came around on an error to round out the scoring.
Kansas fell to 19-14 overall and 1-2 in conference play. Despite the home series loss, Smith said her team battled all weekend.
“I thought we fought all weekend, and when you get into conference play, that’s what you have to do against quality opponents,” Smith said on the Kansas University official athletic site. “You have to fight, especially when you play a top-15 program like Baylor.”
Baylor improved to 28-6 on the season, 2-1 in conference play. The Lady Bears will return home for a mid-week matchup with Abilene Christian University at 6 p.m. Wednesday before hosting a weekend series with Texas Tech starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday.