NORMAN, Okla. - No. 17 Baylor (29-9, 3-4) jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two innings, but nine unanswered from No. 1 Oklahoma (33-2, 2-0) proved too much in a 9-3 loss Saturday afternoon at Marita Hynes Field in Norman.
"We punched them in the mouth early but didn't make routine plays that would have kept us in the game," head coach Glenn Moore said. "I really think our at bats were much better today and we were more consistent throughout the game."
Kathy Shelton extended her on-base streak to 20 games and has a hit in 16 of her last 17 games. The senior has a hit in 33 of 38 games this year and has been on base in 36 of those contests. Baylor registered a pair of home runs in the game, as Sarah Smith totaled her fourth and Clare Hosack added her second.
Heather Stearns (9-4) took the loss in 4.0 innings, allowing seven hits, six runs, all earned, walking two and striking out four. Courtney Repka came on in relief, throwing 0.2 innings, giving up two hits, three runs, three earned, two walks and striking out one. Liz Paul worked the final 1.1 innings, giving up a hit and one walk.
"I doubt Heather will face any better lineup than what she faced today," Moore said. "She had them eating out of palm of her hand until she was forced to make extra outs."
Shelton began the game with a triple down the right field line, her first of the season and the third of her career. With Kaitlyn Thumann at the plate, a wild pitch from Keilani Ricketts scored Shelton for the early 1-0 lead. With two outs Sarah Smith stepped up to deliver a solo shot to right center for a 2-0 advantage.
The Lady Bears added to their lead with another solo home run, this time off the bat of Hosack, for a 3-0 lead.
The Sooners took advantage of extra outs in the third, as a BU error led to five OU runs. Stearns got a strikeout to start the inning, making it seven of the first eight retired by the freshman. Brianna Turang followed with a single that chopped over the head of Kettler at third for the first hit of the game. Stearns then induced a little pop up that fell in front of Strickland at short and was mishandled as Lauren Chamberlain reached first. Georgia Casey followed with an infield fly that was never caught by an infielder, falling to the dirt and allowing each runner to advance to scoring position. Shelbey Pendley then hit a double over the head of Hays in left to cut the Baylor lead to one and Ricketts doubled to left center for an RBI to tie the game. Brittany Williams added a two-RBI single off the diving glove of Strickland, scoring a pair to give Oklahoma the two-run advantage.
Baylor fought back and looked to even the game or take the lead, loading the bases in the top of the fifth. Hosack drew a leadoff walk before a pair of BU outs. Shelton registered her second hit of the day, through the right side and Thumann walked to load the bases. Michelle Gascoigne was relieved by Ricketts and she got Holly Holl to strike out to end the threat, leaving the bases loaded.
Pendley led off the fifth with a solo home run for a 6-3 lead, ending the day for Stearns and bringing Repka out of the bullpen. A walk and hit by pitch led to a Williams three-run homer to right, making it 9-3.
The two squads will wrap up the series in front of a national television audience, playing on ESPN at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday.
News Channel 25 KXXV-TV
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