LAFAYETTE — Baylor scored six unanswered runs on three two-out, two-run extra-base hits to beat host Louisiana-Lafayette 6-2 and force a win-or-go-home game Sunday night at the NCAA softball tournament’s Lafayette regional.
Baylor pitcher Heather Stearns (21-12) rebounded from a shaky start to retire the Cajuns in order in four of her last five innings. While she was taming the Cajuns bats, the Baylor offense woke up.
The Bears were efficient in the latter stages of the game, scoring six runs on just five hits in the final four innings against Cajuns starter Christina Hamilton (12-3).
The Cajuns struck first, but they couldn’t connect on the big hit to put a big number on the board.
A walk sandwiched between a pair of infield singles brought a run home in the first inning, but a strikeout and a groundout stranded a pair.
It was more of the same in the next inning, when the Cajuns connected on three straight singles to load the bases with one out. They scored a run on Shellie Landry’s ground out to first base but stranded another two when Lexie Elkins flew out to center field.
The Cajuns were trying to win with the 100 tiny cuts approach. Baylor busted out the hammer.
After Hamilton issued a pair of walks to put two on, Baylor third baseman Sarah Smith tied the score with a triple into the right-field corner past a diving Aleah Craighton.
Cleanup hitter Shelby Friudenberg broke the tie two innings later with a two-run blast to straightaway center, and Kaitlyn Thumann added some insurance with a two-run double down the left-field line in the bottom of the sixth.
Stearns retired her final seven batters, allowing only one ball to leave the infield.