By Michael Haag | Sports Writer
When losses begin to stack up, it’s easy to lose motivation and confidence in your craft. Baylor softball recently persevered through a seven-game losing streak to regain inner faith in an 8-0 run-rule win over Lamar University Tuesday evening.
While the Bears (18-17, 0-6 Big 12) have yet to attain a conference win this season, sophomore catcher Sydney Collazos believes the group needed the midweek success to help bolster belief in themselves before a weekend road series against the University of Kansas.
“This gave us the momentum we need,” Collazos said. “We were already motivated, don’t get me wrong, we’re ready to play Kansas. We’ve faced some really tough teams, but we’re ready to get back on top of where we should be.”
Getting the win was crucial to head coach Glenn Moore, as he knew his squad needed a win at all costs.
“We were at a point where we needed to win no matter who it was, no matter how we got it,” Moore said. “It’s not about the opponent anymore. It’s about us and we need to run off some wins here and last night was a good start.”
In terms of outlook, Baylor matches up well with the Jayhawks (12-20, 1-5 Big 12) this weekend. There are a lot of striking similarities between the two, but Moore is firing up his team for the road challenge.
“Kansas is our twin. They’ve done the same things that we’ve done. They’ve had a roller coaster [of a season]; they played well sometimes and other times not so great. We’ve done the same things,” Moore said. “We’re going to be at their park [and] we’re going to have to be on our game. We’re going to go straight up there and work out as soon as we hit the ground and try to prepare for [a] successful weekend.”
While there are shared characteristics, Collazos thinks the Bears have more brewing for them and will keep rolling after Tuesday’s win.
“I just feel like that gives us the upper hand against Kansas because we are close in talent,” Collazos said. “We have the experience right now and we have the momentum.”
When the bats are connecting, teams can run the score up in a hurry. Tuesday’s rout is a testament to that for junior utility Campbell Selman, who said the strong hitting can continue and make a big impact.
“Last night you saw that we strung a lot of hits together which helped us score, and I think that if we just win every inning, we’ll be able to dominate this weekend,” Selman said.”
The early runs have proven to be huge for Collazos and the squad, who are trying to work on having quick starts.
“We’re coming out of the gates hot. We’ve proven to ourselves that we can capitalize, we were ahead the whole time. We run-ruled [Lamar],” Collazos said. “We know we just need to finish how we start, it’s important to do that. I feel like we’ve acknowledged that and we’ve made that a big goal of ours this weekend.”
It’s never ideal to have to break a losing streak, but there is some justification for Baylor since their only two conference series came against the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University. These are two programs that are elite from a conference and national standpoint.
Moore is unpacking those losses and keeping a realistic mindset, while also telling his team they are expected to play better since the slate cools down.
“Obviously when you’re playing the No. 1 team and then No. 6, possibly a top-five team, you start looking for small victories. We’re kind of looking back and kind of grabbing some of those small moral victories, if you will,” Moore said. “I think we will feel like we’re prepared for anybody or have seen the best of the best. So no surprises from here on out. We just know we have to win.”
There is more opportunity for success this weekend, contrary to others. Moore said the team can’t play down to their opponent, given some recent woes.
“We’re in no position to take anybody lightly,” Moore said. “We’ve played well against great teams, and we’ve played poorly against teams that weren’t so good. We have nothing that gives us the right to take someone lightly, and our backs are against the wall.”
This team is no stranger to being the underdog, and Selma said with the way this group has fought against juggernaut opponents, there is still lots to be proud of.
“I think that everyone doubted us,” Selman said. “No one really thought that we were going to go in there and compete that good. And I think that that gives us a lot of respect for the Big 12 and how we stand in the Big 12.”
The Bears open the series versus the Jayhawks at 4 p.m. on Friday at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park. The following two games are set for 2 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday.