By DJ Ramirez | Sports Writer
Baylor softball will debut its new turf field this weekend when it welcomes Sam Houston State, the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of Texas-Arlington for the Getterman Classic.
The Lady Bears will begin the home opener with a 4-2 record after opening the season with three wins in the Puerto Vallarta Challenge and a 4-1 road win over UTSA on Wednesday.
Baylor went down to Mexico to find some answers to how the young team will shape up this season, especially after losing senior outfielder Kyla Walker and senior pitcher Gia Rodoni to injury, but head coach Glenn Moore said he left the tournament feeling optimistic about how the team will perform this year.
“I was thinking that after losing Gia that it was not a tournament that I would have chosen to play with this young talent, but the way they responded to it, the way they were up for the games, and handled adversity, the challenges, and even digging holes and coming out of them, I thought they showed some maturity,” Moore said. “I think the future is bright. How quickly we get there is the big question.”
The Lady Bears faced some strong competition in Puerto Vallarta, defeating No. 9 South Carolina 4-1 but falling 4-3 to Brigham Young University on Thursday. They pulled back from a 9-6 deficit on Friday for a 10-9 extra innings victory over North Carolina and began Sunday with a 6-1 win against Liberty before falling 8-2 to No.2 Washington.
Junior infielder Nicky Dawson, who is entering the weekend with a batting average of .320, said that the Puerto Vallarta Challenge showed her just how much “fight” the team has.
“We faced a little bit of adversity, but we were able to bounce back,” Dawson said. “Coach Moore always says it’s not about the start but the finish, and so we started kind of down a little bit, but we were able to fight and keep fighting and we came out with the win in a couple of big games in big situations. That’s what’s going to carry the team the rest of the season.”
Freshman pitcher Madison Lindsey was the bright spot out of the bullpen last week, according to Moore. Lindsey pitched in every game and is coming into the Getterman Classic with a 2.84 ERA and 10 strikeouts.
“She certainly baffled some hitters. She’s an up-ball, east-west type pitcher, but she’s got a good off-speed to counter that,” Moore said. “Coming from the left side is something we didn’t have in our bullpen the last couple years and it’s nice to know that she can go against those lineups without fear. She showed that last weekend, and I’m excited about what she can do.”
The Lady Bears will be tested again this weekend in the Getterman Classic where they will face the SHSU Bearkats at 3 p.m. in the opening doubleheader and end the afternoon with a game against Southern Miss at 5:30 p.m. They will continue the tournament on Saturday against UT-Arlington at 12:30 p.m. Moore said Baylor will definitely be challenged.
“A tougher field, than we thought going in whenever it was scheduled,” Moore said. “Have heard some great things about Sam Houston State, expected to have one of their better years. Southern Miss is 5-1, lost their first game last night, so they went 5-0 on the weekend, have some big numbers on the sheets. … It’s certainly not a weekend where we can go ahead and claim the Getterman Classic title. We’re going to have to work hard, and it’s going to make us better.”