COLLEGE STATION, Texas - No. 18 Baylor (40-15) jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first and cruised on the arm of Whitney Canion to a 7-0 win over Arizona (32-25) in the opening game of the NCAA College Station Regional Friday afternoon.
"Whitney pitched a masterful ballgame," head coach Glenn Moore said. "I thought we did a really good job staying patient at the plate and making Arizona throw to us."
Holly Holl went 2-for-2 with a home run, two RBI and two walks, moving to fourth on the single-season walks list (35). Linsey Hays added a two-hit day, while Kathy Shelton extended her on-base streak to 16 games with three walks and three runs.
Canion (24-8) threw her fifth complete-game shutout of the year, striking out seven, walking none and scattering just six hits. The lefty moved into fifth place on the Big 12's all-time strikeout list, now having 1,156.
The win over Arizona marked the first loss for the Wildcats in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament since 2004.
Baylor jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first, scoring all four runs before Arizona recorded an out. Kathy Shelton, Holly Holl and Kaitlyn Thumann each drew walks to load the bases. Sarah Smith stepped to the plate and hit a grounder to short that was fielded and fired home, but not in time to get Shelton for the RBI and 1-0 lead. Linsey Hays followed with a single off the wall in left center that scored Holl before a two-RBI single from Strickland through the left side plated two more for the 4-0 advantage.
Arizona loaded the bases in the top of the second, as a second-consecutive single with one out was overthrown by Thumann in right, allowing both runners to advance a base. A bunt-single from Courtney Rodriguez put runners on every base, but Canion induced back-to-back fielder's choices to get out of the jam.
BU had some bad luck in the third with an inning-ending double play with two runners in scoring position. Linsey Hays led the inning off with a bunt-single and advanced to third on a double to left center from Canion. Clare Hosack then hit a lined shot to left field, but the throw home caught Hays trying to score, ending the threat.
The Lady Bears added one more in the fourth, as Shelton drew a one-out walk and advanced to second on her 38th steal of the year. Holl delivered a single to center that hung up just enough to hold Shelton at second, putting runners at first and third. With two outs, Holl stole second and Smith got hit by a pitch to load the bags, and on an 0-2 pitch to Hays, Nancy Bowling threw a wild pitch to score Shelton for the 5-0 lead.
Canion did her part, retiring 12 straight until hitting Chelsea Goodacre with a pitch with one out in the sixth. She worked out of it with a strikeout and a nice diving catch in foul ground by Thumann in right.
Shelton was again in the middle of a scoring chance, leading off the seventh with a walk, her third of the game. That allowed Holl to belt a two-run shot over left center, her team-tying fifth of the year, for the 7-0 lead.
Baylor will now face host Texas A&M in the winner's bracket beginning at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. The game can be seen live on ESPN.
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