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Veteran Softball Team Has High Expectations in 2014

Baylor begins the 2014 season Friday in Las Vegas, Nev.


Baylor begins the 2014 season Friday in Las Vegas, Nev.

Feb. 5, 2014

2014 Media Almanac

WACO, Texas –
Baylor’s softball team begins the 2014 campaign in Las Vegas, Nev. Friday-Sunday at the UNLV Sportco Kick-Off Classic. The No. 16/18 Lady Bears will play No. 3/5 Washington, San Diego, UC Davis, UNLV and Arkansas in the six-team round-robin tournament.

Baylor is coming off a 42-17 season and a 10-8 finish in 2013. The Lady Bears reached their eighth NCAA Regional tournament under head coach Glenn Moore, but Texas A&M advanced with the tournament win.

As the team looks to 2014, Baylor has a host of veterans, returning starters, and an experienced pitching staff to lean on as the Lady Bears look to return to the Women’s College World Series for the first time since 2011, and win the Big 12 title for the first time since 2007.

Baylor’s schedule is extremely road-heavy with 36 of its 54 games played away from Waco.

The Schedule

Head Coach Glenn Moore:
“Typically we have two tournaments at home that would have balanced the schedule this year a bit better, but we didn’t fill our second tournament. Either way, we really looked to strengthen our RPI as we mapped out the season with opponents that would allow for a talented team to do the best it can in the postseason.”

Non-Conference games to watch for:

• Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, Feb. 20-23, Palm Springs, Calif.
The Lady Bears will play five games at the neutral-site tournament, three of which are against teams ranked in the NFCA Preseason Top 25 (No. 14 Missouri, 2/20; No. 22 Stanford, 2/21; No. 24 California 2/22).


 

 

• Louisiana, doubleheader, April 22, Waco, Texas
Baylor will take on the Rajun Cajuns, ranked No. 13 in the NFCA Preseason Top 25, in a televised doubleheader at Getterman Stadium in a strong non-conference twinbill.

Big 12 games to watch for:

Oklahoma series, April 11-13, Waco, Texas
The Lady Bears get the defending champion Sooners at home this season; a series win would go a long way towards their goal of a Big 12 title, and two wins in one season over the Sooners would be a feat not accomplished since 2004.

• at Texas, May 11, Austin, Texas
If the Big 12 race is close, the regular season finale could have potential for importance in the standings; Baylor would be looking for its first win in Austin since May 15, 2011.

Offense:

Head Coach Glenn Moore:
“I expect to have a much more powerful lineup than the past few seasons. This team has good overall speed, but I expect we’ll be a team playing for the big innings.”

Forty stolen bases from 2013 leave the team with Kathy Shelton’s eligibility exhausted, but Kaitlyn Thumann’s .377 batting average and 30 stolen bases still provide mobility and opportunity at the top of the lineup. Linsey Hays (6), second-year player Sarah Smith (5) and Holly Holl (5) return to the lineup after providing more than half of the team’s 30 home runs last season. Clare Hosack has capable power (12 career HRs) and if Whitney Canion could have a repeat of 2011 (6 HRs), Moore’s prediction of more power could become a reality.

Defense:

Head Coach Glenn Moore:
“I like our infield; I think it’s one of the strongest we’ve had in recent years. Our outfield lost a big leader in centerfield, but the corners come back, and I think freshman Lindsey Cargill will do a good job of trying to replace one of the better defensive centerfielders in the country in Kathy [Shelton].

Freshman Ari Hawkins will be the only new face in the infield at second base while Sarah Smith (2013 Big 12 All-Defensive Team) returns at third, Jordan Strickland at short, and seniors Holly Holl and Clare Hosack at first and catcher respectively. Linsey Hays and Kaitlyn Thumann return to left and rightfield, respectively, while freshman Lindsey Cargill is slated to start in centerfield.

Pitching Staff:

Head Coach Glenn Moore:
“Whitney Canion has had a great offseason, and she comes in as our No. 1, but I have a lot of confidence that we can win against big teams with the 1-2 combo of Whitney and Heather Stearns.”

Canion is Baylor’s all-time leader in wins and strikeouts and is now more than one year and an offseason removed from an ACL surgery that earned her, her second medical redshirt. Stearns is coming off a 12-win freshman campaign with an ERA just over two; and Stearns doesn’t walk many hitters. Liz Paul will provide depth in her senior year with 20 career wins and 40 career relief appearances to bring to the table.

Projected Lineup:

  1. Kaitlyn Thumann, RF
  2. Lindsey Cargill, CF
  3. Sarah Smith, 3B
  4. Whitney Canion, LHP
  5. Linsey Hays, LF
  6. Jordan Strickland, SS
  7. Holly Holl, 1B
  8. Robin Landrith, DP
  9. Ari Hawkins, 2B
    Flex. Clare Hosack, C
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