Softball nearly secures the sweep; takes two of three in Kansas

Baylor softball won their first conference series of the season taking two of three against the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Joe Pratt | Broadcast Reporter

Baylor softball won its three game series with the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., taking the first two contests 10-3 and 4-3. The Bears aimed to secure the sweep on Sunday but came up short in a 3-1 loss.

The Jayhawks (13-22, 2-7 Big 12) got off to a three run lead in game one. The game was 3-1 in favor of KU heading into the sixth inning — Baylor’s single run coming from a homer courtesy of sophomore infielder Aliyah Binford. Binford then scored on a walk in the sixth with the bases loaded. Sophomore catcher Zadie LaValley also walked and the Bears were within one of the lead. Sophomore outfielder Ana Watson put Baylor ahead with a 2-RBI double. Watson and freshman outfielder Caroline Rowatt came home on a Kansas error, and junior outfielder Josie Bower knocked a single through the infield to bring home two more and extend the lead to 5 runs.

“It took a while to get going and [Kasey] Hamilton was very good today, we haven’t quit all year and have had situations where many teams would have,” head coach Glenn Moore said. “It’s good to see it pay off finally, I’m proud of the fight, now we must build on that.”

Sophomore pitcher Dariana Orme started the game and threw into the fourth inning before being pulled for sophomore Maren Judisch. Orme’s final line was three and a third innings, allowing three runs on four hits and four strikeouts. Judisch was credited with the win in her three and two thirds of work, giving up no runs off of four hits and a strikeout.

The Bears added two more runs in the seventh off of a KU throwing error. The game ended 10-3 and game two started at 2 p.m. CT on Saturday.

Game two was another late game comeback by Baylor in a 4-3 victory. Bower started off the game with an RBI single in the first to give the Bears a 1-0 advantage. The Jayhawks later responded in the fourth with a three run rally making the score 3-1.

“Winning a series is big, especially on the road,” Moore said. “We expected Kansas to put up this kind of fight, but I also expected us to fight, we have all year. Each win helps reestablish our confidence and tomorrow is just as important.”

Sophomore outfielder McKenzie Wilson doubled to center, scoring two which knotted up the score at 3 in the top of the fifth. Binford reached on a fielder’s choice in the seventh which brought what ended up being the winning run in sophomore utility player Emily Hott home.

Orme was in the circle again on Saturday, and went the distance. She pitched the full seven innings and gave up three earned on six hits with seven strikeouts.

The Bears’ momentum was halted on Sunday when they lost the series finale 3-1. Binford pitched in game three and allowed three runs on six hits in six innings. For the third game in a row, the Jayhawks grabbed an early lead. This time, Baylor could not overcome the deficit, as their only run of the game came off of a Bower groundout, scoring Watson from third.

The Bears mustered just two hits from Watson and Hott as the rest of the lineup went silent for all seven innings.

“Kansas was tough today and we dug a hole early once again,” Moore said. “We can’t continue to do that and expect to come back. The game will punish you for that approach, it did today.”

Baylor (20-18, 2-7) returns to Waco on Tuesday for a midweek battle with Texas State University at 6:30 p.m. CT at Getterman Stadium.