(May 23, 2014) The Baylor softball team is within one win of returning to the Women’s College World Series for a third time after a 9-1, run-rule win over Georgia in game one of the NCAA Super Regional round at Jack Turner Stadium Friday.
Baylor’s (46-14) Sarah Smith hit a three-run home run to key a four-run top of the first for the Lady Bears, and Whitney Canion two-hit the Bulldogs (49-14) in her 30th win of the season.
The floodgates opened in the first after Holly Holl reached on an error by Geri Ann Glasco at first base with two outs, scoring Kaitlyn Thumann from second base for the first run of the game. Clare Hosack was hit by a pitch on the next at bat to put runners on first and second for Smith, who hit a towering home run inside the leftfield foul pole for her seventh home run of the season to give Baylor a 4-0 lead.
Georiga tried to rally in the bottom half of the first, but with a pair of runners on Lindsey Cargill caught a deep fly ball from UGA’s Anna Swafford on the warning track just inches in front of the centefield fence to end the threat.
The batter before, Canion struck out Tina Iosefa before inducing the deep flyout on the way to retiring 16 straight Bulldog hitters. Baylor led 9-0 headed into the bottom of the sixth, and Alex Hugo ended Canion’s streak of 16 batters retired with a solo home run with two outs, which ruined Canion’s shutout. Canion retired the next batter to end the game.
She finished with six innings pitche,d two hits, one run, a walk and six strikeouts. She’s surrendered just four runs in 38.1 innings of work in the postseason thus far.
Smith finished 3-for-3 at the plate, Jordan Strickland hit her 12th home run of the year in the sixth inning, a two-run shot, and Holly Holl and Ari Hawkins each drove in runs for the Baylor offense.
Georgia must beat Baylor twice tomorrow to advance to the WCWS while one win will send the Lady Bears to Oklahoma City for the first time since 2011.
Whitney Canion her 30th win of the season, which leaves her one shy of Baylor’s single-season record (Cristin Vitek, 31, 2004; Canion, 31, 2011).
Canion’s victory was the 15th of her postseason career, and she is 15-6 all-time with a 1.84 ERA.
Canion retired 16 straight hitters before Georgia’s Alex Hugo hit a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the sixth.
Sarah Smith’s home run was the 69th for Baylor in 2014 giving the team a single-season record, passing the 2006 squad’s mark of 68.
Smith’s home run was her seventh of the season and second-career postseason home run.
Smith’s three hits tied a Baylor single-game postseason record with 11 other Baylor players.
It was Smith’s fourth game of the season with multi-RBI.
Ari Hawkins had two hits for the second-straight postseason game, and it was her 19th game this season with multiple hits.
Hawkins had an RBI single and drove in her second run of the postseason.
Holl’s RBI hit a double to drive home Hawkins in the third inning, which gave her the team lead with five postseason RBI.
Kaitlyn Thumann walked in the first to extend her on-base streak to a season-high 25 games.
Jordan Strickland’s sixth-inning homer was the 12th of the season for the junior, and her first career postseason home run.
Strickland’s two RBI marked the 10th time this season she’s had multiple RBI.
Baylor is now 3-3 vs. Georgia all-time and 3-1 in Athens, Ga.
Baylor is now 32-19 all-time in the postseason and is now 6-6 all-time in Super Regional games.
STAT OF THE GAME I
16 – Canion retired 16 straight hitters from the first to the sixth innings.
THEY SAID IT
Glenn Moore on Baylor’s performance
I’m just really proud of the way the girls played. I thought we executed our game plan real well, and Whit threw an outstanding game against an unbelievable lineup of hitters; and outfield was all-stars early in the game. Just really proud of the way we played. I thought we did a good job today. We’re halfway there. It’s not time to celebrate. This tournament is just starting, and we’re halfway there. This is not our first rodeo, either. We’ve been there a few times, and they know there’s more business to be taken care of, and there’s a lot of work ahead of us.”
Baylor and Georgia square off again on the flaship station ESPN at Noon, EDT. If Baylor wins, the team will head to its third WCWS, if Baylor loses, the teams will play immediately following game two on ESPN.