By Jessika Harkay | Sports Writer
With the return of junior pitcher Regan Green, Baylor softball is looking to squeeze its way into the Big 12 Tournament after snapping an eight-game losing streak with back-to-back shutout victories against Lamar University. With seven games left in the season, the Lady Bears tackle a series against Iowa State beginning Thursday at Getterman Stadium.
Green was the Big 12 Pitcher of the Week in early March. Her performance against Southern Utah was one of the best of her career with 11 strikeouts and a 50% strikeout rate. Yet, shortly after her impressive game, a rib stress fracture took Green out for weeks, leaving the Lady Bears to struggle without one of their leaders.
Junior outfielder Madi O’Neal said Green’s return will allow Green to play a bigger part in guiding the team to success.
“Obviously, Regan has always been a leader on the team,” O’Neal said. “Coming through last year, she’s been a vocal leader, so even though she can’t have a part playing these past few weeks because of her injuries, she’s still been a leader on the bench. And now that she’s on the field, she’s even more of a prominent leader. And we’re just excited for her to come back and see what she can do.”
Head coach Glenn Moore agreed, describing how Green’s return gives the team some options in the lineup.
“The lineups we’ve been facing with top 15 and top 10 lineups – there’s no forgiveness in those lineups,” Moore said. “We’ll be using Regan a couple of innings or maybe one of the other two gives us a little more excitement and some more options. Our hands have been tied. Either it’s going to work or it’s not. We can’t really deviate, but now we can deviate a little and try some things.”
The Lady Bears go into the Iowa State series on a two-game win streak which Moore described as something to have the team feel good about and gain energy.
“You just need to find small victories. I don’t even think those were small victories for us right now,” Moore said. “We’re having trouble getting in sync with each other and just playing consistent fundamental softball, and we were able to do that and put two complete games together. I’m very grateful for the way they haven’t thrown the towel in because it would have been easy to do. When you throw the towel in, anybody can beat you.”
Iowa State comes into the matchup at 24-18 but with only one conference win. Baylor has won the last 11 games since 2015 against the Cyclones and with momentum going into the series, hope to make it 12. Regardless, Moore said Iowa State is a strong competitor.
“We would never take anybody lightly. It would be a joke to say we would take anyone lightly,” Moore said. “But we’re certainly not taking Iowa State lightly just because they only have one win (in Big 12 play). We’ve watched some of the games they’ve played and how they’ve competed. And they competed well against us last year up there when we were a much stronger team. And they always do. They always swing the bats well, and they’ve got adequate pitching, too. We’re going to have to play good ball, still.”
The matchup starts at 6 p.m. Thursday at Getterman Stadium.