No. 18 Baylor softball routs ACU, 15-6, quickly looks ahead to Texas Tech

Sophomore infielder Amber Toven (36) meets her teammates at home plate to celebrate her two-run home run in the top of the first inning during No. 18 Baylor softball's midweek contest against Abilene Christian University Thursday at Polly Wells Field in Abilene. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Michael Haag | Sports Editor

No. 18 Baylor softball picked up right where it left off following two-straight wins over then-No. 4 University of Tennessee last week.

The Bears put together an offensive onslaught, as they crushed Abilene Christian University, 15-6, in a six-inning run-rule victory, Thursday afternoon at Poly Wells Field in Abilene.

The midweek contest finished less than 24 hours from when the group will open a three-game series with Texas Tech University in Lubbock at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Head coach Glenn Moore said this road trip to West Texas is something he’s “done a few times to break up the trip.”

“You’re going to work out the day before, and that’s kind of the way I look at it — as going up there and getting a good practice in and throwing our bullpen a little bit,” Moore said. “It’s a little scary, because you don’t want to take anybody for granted. And you certainly don’t want to risk losing a game that would really hurt you.”

Baylor (32-9, 2-4 Big 12) tied a season-high in runs scored with 15 on Thursday, a mark that was previously set against the University of Minnesota on Feb. 26. Three of the Bears’ hitters combined for 12 of the team’s 14 total RBI.

That batting trio consisted of junior outfielder Ana Watson (5) and sophomore infielders Amber Toven (4) and Presleigh Pilon (3). Watson finished 3-for-3 at the plate with her first home run of the season, a three-run shot over the right field wall, and she also added a walk.

Toven went 2-for-5 at the dish and mashed her third homer on the year, a two-run thump to right-center field that took place in the top of the first inning, on just the second at-bat of the game.

Collectively, the squad secured the 15 runs on 16 hits, three hits short of a season high that was set in the first game of the season. Baylor only had one batter strike out once for the entire matchup, and the program extended its all-time lead over the Wildcats to 8-0.

The Bears led 7-2 going into the bottom of the second inning, but ACU (10-30, 4-8 WAC) responded with a four spot to narrow the gap at 7-6. Neither team mustered offense until the top of the fifth when Baylor scratched across a solo run courtesy of an RBI groundout, giving it a two-run lead.

The green and gold then scored six runs on seven hits in the top of the sixth to fuel the 15-6 run-rule victory. Before traveling to Abilene on the team bus, Pilon said midweek games are more fun because it keeps the team locked in throughout the week.

“We still need to win them, we have a job that needs to get done,” Pilon said. “But it’s also preparation. We can [do] some things and work on some things to get prepared and ready for the weekend series as well. It’s just extra work that we’re able to have within our schedule.”

The Bears have a swift turnaround, as they roll straight into their weekend series with the Texas Tech Lady Raiders (28-15, 2-7 Big 12) at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Rocky Johnson Field in Lubbock. Including Thursday’s contest, it’ll total four games in four games for the squad.

Moore said Texas Tech is an improved team with its new coaching staff and that “they’ll be tough to play in their park.” He added that Baylor’s pitching won’t be as deep as TTU’s.

“They have more pitching than anybody I’ve seen, I think seven or eight arms,” Moore said. “I’m jealous of that, of course. I like the way they play. They’re going to be a team that we have to really be on our best game to come out of there with some victories.”

Toven said the Bears are feeling confident on their seven-game winning streak and that the recent wins over ranked opponents have given them momentum going into the three-game set with the Lady Raiders.

“Man, beating Tennessee twice, not just once, was definitely really awesome,” Toven said. “We’ve proven ourselves day in [and] day out. Beating Louisiana, same thing. Going into Texas Tech, I think if we bring the same confidence from last week, we can definitely win some games and hopefully a sweep. That’s what we’re all looking for.”