No. 21 Baylor Takes First Game of the Series, 3-0
WACO, Texas – Kansas’ first loss in its last eight outings came at the hands of No. 21 Baylor, who halted KU’s seven-game winning streak with a 3-0 shutout on Friday night at Getterman Stadium.
A week ago, Kansas (27-14, 4-3 Big 12) hit nearly .500 on the weekend, but in the first game of the three-game series KU was limited to three hits. The Jayhawks scattered three hits against one of the top pitchers in the Big 12, Baylor’s (37-12, 8-4 Big 12) Heather Stearns, who struck out 10 in her complete-game shutout effort. Stearns is 16-6 on the season after recording the win in the circle against KU.
“Hats off to Heather Stearns, good grief she is a great pitcher,” said head coach Megan Smith. “Early on in the night we weren’t as confident, but as the game progressed we had better at-bats. Tonight was a fact-finding mission for us and that’s the way we are looking at it. We will come back the next two days with more info and be ready to attack. Hopefully, we bring the confidence you saw as the game progressed the rest of the weekend.”
Baylor wasted no time applying offensive pressure in the home half of the opening inning. With two outs on the scoreboard, the Lady Bears advanced a pair of runners into scoring position. Although the Jayhawks were faced with Baylor runners on second and third, sophomore hurler Andie Formby induced a fly out to centerfield to end the threat without harm.
Junior designated player Lily Behrmann laid down the perfect bunt that trickled along the foul line towards third base. Behrmann’s bunt in the second frame marked the first base hit of the night against the Lady Bears. Baylor’s third baseman Sarah Smith snagged a line drive to end the inning with Behrmann stranded at first.
“Lily can do a lot of different things, offensively,” Smith said. “For her to be successful offensively, she needs to be able to do all of those different things. Lily dropping that bunt was key because they dictated the pace for a couple of innings and her doing that slowed it down a little bit for us. She is a versatile offensive player and she showed that tonight.”
The Lady Bears put a run on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the second. With one out and two runners in scoring position, Baylor brought home the go-ahead run via ground out to second base. BU popped up to senior shortstop Chaley Brickey to end the frame.
In the bottom of the third, Baylor increased its lead, 3-0, by hitting back-to-back solo home runs, one to centerfield and one over the fence in right field. After putting three runs on the board, Kansas went to its bullpen and brought in senior Monique Wesley. Formby finished the day allowing three runs and four hits in two and one-third innings pitched.
“I thought that Monique (Wesley) did her job tonight,” said Smith. “They got to Andie and we had a short leash, but Monique came in and was able to stop it, which was great. She kept them off the board the rest of the game and we needed that from her. She was excellent tonight.”
Senior outfielder Shannon McGinley led off the fourth with a base hit up the middle, but McGinley was stranded a first base as the top half of the frame came to a close. Through the first four innings, Kansas stranded just a pair of base runners.
Junior second baseman Taylor McElhaney reached base in the sixth after getting hit by a pitch. She moved into scoring position after advancing to second on a fly out in foul territory, but remained at second as the inning ended.
KU’s offense continued to fight into the final inning. Sophomore outfielder Erin McGinley singled up the middle to lead off the frame, while redshirt sophomore Harli Ridling gave Kansas another base runner after getting hit by a pitch. Despite the pressure, Baylor ended the game by turning a double play. KU stranded four runners on base in the first of three games against nationally-ranked Baylor, including one in scoring position.
Wesley hurled three and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief in her first appearance of the weekend. The Fontana, California product quieted the Lady Bears and halted their offensive momentum, as BU was limited to two hits and a walk in the later innings.
Despite Wesley shutting down Baylor’s offense, the three early runs were enough as the Lady Bears took the first game of the series, 3-0.
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