Kirsten Shortridge earned the win in relief for Baylor as the Lady Bears claimed the Big 12 Championship.
May 5, 2007
WACO, Texas - Chelsi Lake scored on a passed ball in the bottom of the tenth inning giving Baylor a 5-4 win over sixth-ranked Texas A&M in the Lady Bears' regular season finale. Baylor also clinches at least a share of its first-ever Big 12 softball championship.
The Lady Bears could win the conference championship outright with a Missouri loss to Nebraska on Sunday. No matter the outcome of Sunday's game, Baylor will claim the top seed in next weekend's Big 12 Softball Championships in Oklahoma City, Okla., holding the tiebreaker over the Lady Tigers.
"You couldn't script an ending any better," said head coach Glenn Moore. "We have had a lot of walkoff hits and walkoff home runs, so this game fit right in. We had a long game, but we never quit. We went through games like this early in the season and we didn't quit then. I think that experience paid off today."
Kirsten Shortridge (16-3) earned the win in relief, throwing 6.2 innings while allowing just one earned run. Amanda Scarborough (20-6) took the loss for the Aggies allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits in 4.2 innings of relief.
"Every player just believed in each other," said Shortridge. "I was throwing those last innings for my teammates. I was just trying to get ground balls and let them make plays behind me. I expected to win a Big 12 Championship; that's why I came to Baylor. At the beginning of the season, our freshmen got together and said that we were going to come in an make a big impact for this team."
Lake (Keller, Texas) began the tenth frame on second base due to international tie-breaker rules but could not advance as Alex Colyer (Houston, Texas) struck out to lead off the inning. Lake then advanced to third on a passed ball by Beverly Rowan. After Tiffany Wesley (Baton Rouge, La.) also went down on strikes, Lake came home on the second passed ball of the inning.
"Coach (Moore) told me that if I had an opportunity to go on a passed ball to take it," said Lake. "I saw it pop away and I said this is for the Big 12 Championship. To be down 3-1 and fight back and claw back really says a lot about our team."
Two late game rallies kept Baylor (45-12, 14-3) alive, setting up the walkoff run. In the ninth inning, Texas A&M (39-9, 12-6) scratched a run in the top half of the inning on a leadoff double by Jamie Lobpries and an RBI single by Joy Davis.
Baylor was able to tie the game in the bottom of the frame using back-to-back singles by Shortridge (Keller, Texas) and Miriam Romero (Douglas, Ariz.) to lead off the inning. The runners advanced on Ashley Monceaux's (Tucson, Ariz.) ground out. Nicole Wesley (Baton Rouge, La.) hit into a fielder's choice as Shortridge was thrown out in a close play at the plate. Brette Reagan (Magnolia, Texas) then laced a 3-1 pitch into left field to plate Romero, keeping the Lady Bears alive.
"I really just tried to go to the plate with a lot of confidence," said Reagan. "I knew that she was going to throw me a pitch inside, so I just tried to take advantage of it."
After falling behind 3-1 in the fourth inning, Baylor struck for a run in the bottom of the fifth as Romero reached on a fielder's choice, stole second base, and came around on Monceaux's double to deep centerfield, cutting the deficit in half.
The Lady Bears' magic came through in the bottom of the seventh inning as well. Shortridge beat out an infield single and advanced to second on Romero's sacrifice. Monceaux then singled up the middle to score Shortridge and force the game into extra innings.
Baylor struck for a run in the bottom half of the first inning as N. Wesley singled through the right side and stole second base to move into scoring position. Lake's two-out single plated Wesley to give Baylor the early lead.
The Aggies rallied for three runs in the top of the fourth inning, using four straight one-out singles, pushing all three runs across and chasing starting pitcher Lisa Ferguson (For Worth) from the game after 3.1 innings.
The Lady Bears are back in action on Friday at 1:30 p.m. in first round action at the 2007 Big 12 Softball Championships from ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.