Baylor Softball Pushes ULL to Brink, but Falls Short in NCAA Reg - KXXV Central Texas News Now

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Baylor Softball Pushes ULL to Brink, but Falls Short in NCAA Regional Final

LAFAYETTE, La. – Baylor's softball team put a scare into the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns with a 6-2 win Sunday to force the if necessary game for a chance to advance to the NCAA Super Regionals, however, La.-Lafayette took the final game 9-1 to advance to the round of 16.

After defeating Mississippi State Sunday afternoon 2-0, Baylor (41-17) needed to defeat the Ragin' Cajuns (42-10) twice on their home field at Lamson Park in front of a rowdy crowd. The Bears set up the evening for heroics as Heather Stearns pitched Baylor past the hosts of the NCAA Lafayette Regional in game one, but the Ragin' Cajuns prevailed in the final game.

Stearns threw 20 pitches to get the save vs. Mississippi State in the elimination game vs. the Bulldogs before throwing 131 pitches to defeat the Ragin' Cajuns to stave off elimination. She struck out four and allowed just one earned run while Baylor's Kaitlyn Thumann, Sarah Smith and Shelby Friudenberg all drove in two runs to help force the if necessary game.

Stearns, entering the final game with 151 pitches on the day, and pitching in three consecutive days, pitched into the fourth inning in the loss with 75 pitches. She was lifted after allowing five runs, four earned in her final appearance of her junior season with the score 3-0. Kendall Potts inherited two Ragin' Cajun runners, and both came around to score. Louisiana-Lafayette combined to score four runs off Potts and Sarah Beth Toben, including a Samantha Walsh three-run homer to end the game early in the sixth inning.

Baylor's only run came on an RBI single from Ari Hawkins in the fifth, and the run scored with the bases-loaded and one out. However, Shelby Friudenberg checked her swing on the next at bat and grounded into a 1-2-3 double play to end the threat of a comeback after drawing the score 5-1.

The Bears said goodbye to Thumann and Jordan Strickland. Both players played 23 career postseason games and helped the Bears to a 2014 Women's College World Series appearance, the third in the program's history.

HIGHLIGHTS

Heather Stearns picked up her sixth career postseason win and 21st of the 2015 season in game one vs. ULL. After the loss to the Ragin' Cajuns in the final game, she threw 226 pitches on the day with a win, a loss and a save vs. Mississippi State.

Jessie Scroggins robbed a home run in centerfield off the bat of DJ Sanders, leaping to keep the ball in the park. The video of her catch was featured on Sunday night's ESPN Sports Center Top 10.

Kaitlyn Thumann, Shelby Friudenberg and Sarah Smith all drove in two runs in game one vs. the Ragin' Cajuns.

Friudenberg hit her 18th home run of the season, a two-run shot that gave the Bears a two-run lead at 4-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Jordan Strickland left as Baylor's all-time leader in postseason hits (27).

Kaitlyn Thumann finished with 229 career hits and left fifth all-time on Baylor's career hits list – she passed Chelsi Lake for fifth with four hits Sunday vs. Mississippi State and ULL twice. Lake had 227 hits from 2004-07.

THEY SAID IT

Glenn Moore

“Very proud of Heather Stearns. She really proved this year that she was an elite pitcher, one of the tops in the country. She battled a very tough lineup this weekend. First and foremost I'm very proud of her putting this team on her shoulders and carrying us all year. That being said, I couldn't be more proud of the fight this team showed in a very hostile environment, they really fought hard the whole weekend. I thought the key was staying in the winner's bracket, and we had a great game Saturday that we let slip away from us in late innings and it was tough to bounce back from that.”


WHAT'S NEXT
2016.


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