By Jessika Harkay | Sports Writer
Baylor softball will travel to Utah for the first time for the Red Desert Classic to compete against Southern Utah, Notre Dame, Utah Valley and CSU Bakersfield this weekend.
In program history, the Lady Bears have only faced two of the four teams — Notre Dame and Southern Utah in 1997. Coming off a win against No. 10 Louisiana (4-3), Baylor improved to 9-7 on the year, and 2-2 against Top 10 opponents. Sophomore catcher Hannah Thompson said the team is building off the Louisiana win.
“That win got us going in the right direction and I feel like not too high and not too low, just going in a straight line,” Thompson said. “I feel like [the offense is] coming. Our lineups were switched around a lot at the beginning and now we’re getting a consistent one.”
Head coach Glenn Moore described multiple lineups coming together and incorporating new players. Moore said junior infielder Nicky Dawson and freshman outfielder Ana Watson are two players to keep an eye on.
In the Lady Bears, last win against Louisiana, Dawson had two RBIs and is hitting at a .357 average. Likewise, Watson is hitting at a .300 average.
This season the Lady Bears are 7-1 when scoring first, and are 6-1 when the opponent scores two or less runs. Knowing this, Moore said it is important going into the Red Desert Classic with momentum.
“We’ve got two wins right now against Top 10 teams at the time we played them,” Moore said. “Having done that, although we’ve played poorly in other games, we know what we’re capable of. If you go into this fourth weekend and you haven’t played Top 25-caliber teams you might have a big record but you really don’t know how good you are. As soon as you lose a game, all that doubt creeps in.”
The Lady Bears look to hold an advantage with a one-game win streak and being the only team competing with an over .500 record (Southern Utah is 1-7, Notre Dame is 7-7, CSU Bakersfield is 5-7, Utah Valley is 3-7).
With a team full of freshmen, Moore also said the matchups this weekend aren’t as challenging as the ones that the young team has been accustomed to so far and that it’s a weekend to install confidence.
“For three weekends now, we’ve played a pretty tough schedule and probably a little tougher than I would have liked with such a young team,” Moore said. “Hopefully we can have a weekend that will allow us to build some confidence and do some things that we couldn’t do against some other teams, including base running things that we weren’t able to do because we’re not getting as many baserunners on, which is kind of our forte.”