By Michael Haag | Sports Editor
No. 18 Baylor softball head coach Glenn Moore said this weekend’s series against Texas Tech University was “wild and crazy.”
The Bears clinched the series with an 8-5 win in Sunday afternoon’s finale at Rocky Johnson Field in Lubbock, but not before scoring 32 runs across the three contests to take two of three.
Even though Baylor went into the weekend ranked second in the Big 12 in pitching ERA during all games, with a 1.73 team ERA, the three-game set versus the Red Raiders ended up being a battle of two high-powered offenses.
“No lead seemed to ever be enough for either team,” Moore said. “You have to have a whole different philosophy and approach to the game up here. I thought we did what we needed to do, and I will take a series win on the road in this league any day.”
Both teams combined for 58 runs and 12 home runs across the weekend.
The green and gold dropped the series opener 10-8 on Friday before winning Saturday’s barn-burner matchup, 16-11. Sunday also marked the Bears’ (34-10, 4-5 Big 12) fourth-straight game, as they run-ruled Abilene Christian University, 15-6, on Thursday in Abilene.
Baylor has now won two conference series this season, with the only loss coming at the hands of then-No. 2 Oklahoma State University, who swept the Bears in Stillwater in late March.
Junior outfielder Ana Watson knocked a home run for the second-straight game on Sunday, which put Baylor in the lead early in the top of the first. This came after junior catcher Sydney Collazos plated junior outfielder McKenzie Wilson thanks to a double to right-center field.
Wilson originally reached on an error and then made her way to second base due to a passed ball. Sophomore first baseman Shaylon Govan was also hit by a pitch before Collazos had stepped up, so Govan was on base but didn’t get brought home by Collazos.
That’s when Watson stepped up to the dish and skied her three-run bomb, giving the Bears an early 4-0 lead. The homer marked Watson’s third in the last four games, and she’s collected 12 RBIs over the course of those same outings.
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Kaci West also doubled in the top of the first, but she was left stranded.
Baylor’s defense held up through the first two innings, as it sent a runner back to the dugout courtesy of a double play in the first inning. Then, junior right-handed ace and starter Dariana Orme recorded two-straight strikeouts to dance out of bases-loaded jam in the second inning.
Texas Tech (29-17, 3-9 Big 12) responded with three runs in the third as a result of consecutive home runs. The Red Raiders came within one run of the Bears, pinning all three of Orme’s earned runs on her in that inning.
Neither squad did damage in the fourth, but Baylor scratched across a pair of runs in the fifth to lead 6-3. Govan put the wheels in motion with a leadoff double to right-center before Collazos was walked. Sophomore outfielder Carolina Rowatt, Collazos’ pinch runner, then moved to third base on a wild pitch.
With just one out and runners on the corners, junior utility Emily Hott singled through the right side to usher Govan home. After one more walk and a pitching change for TTU, a pop-up had the bases loaded with two outs. Texas Tech then walked in the Bears’ sixth run of the game but ended up silencing the remaining threat.
The Red Raiders trimmed their deficit to a single run once again in the bottom of the sixth. The two runs came via a double and an obstruction call at home plate.
Only hoisting a 6-5 advantage, Baylor gave itself some insurance in the top of the seventh when a single from Wilson and a double from sophomore infielder Amber Toven brought home two more, making it 8-5 going into the final side of the game.
Orme, who started the game, came back in to close the contest out. West had pitched 3.0 innings of relief through the sixth inning, but Orme (14-5) struck out two batters in the bottom of the seventh, including the game-ending strikeout to give the Bears their 8-5 win in the rubber match.
Wilson, Watson and Collazos all had a multi-hit game. Four different athletes hit doubles for the green and gold and it secured double-digit hits for the 14th time this season.
After four games in four days, Baylor will return home to host No. 1 University of Oklahoma for a three-game Big 12 series, starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Getterman Stadium.
The Bears are the only team that has defeated the top-ranked Sooners (39-1, 9-0 Big 12) this year, as they knocked them off by a score of 4-3 on Feb. 19 in Waco as part of the Getterman Classic.