With Ari Hawkins drilling a three-run double in the seventh inning, No. 13 Baylor finally gave ace Kelsee Selman the breathing room she needed.
Selman went on to finish off an eight-hitter as the Lady Bears sealed a 4-0 win over Texas in the regular season finale Sunday afternoon at McCombs Field.
The Lady Bears (41-11, 13-5) finished second in the Big 12 behind Oklahoma heading into the conference tournament Friday and Saturday in Oklahoma City. Baylor will open against No. 3 seed Oklahoma State on Friday at 11 a.m. at Hall of Fame Stadium.
After winning two of three games against the Longhorns (30-22, 7-10), Baylor coach Glenn Moore hopes his team has polished its resume enough to earn one of 16 NCAA regional host bids.
“Everything points favorably (to hosting) after winning this series,” Moore said. “In my opinion we should have locked it in if we hadn’t already with our resume. It was big because I think Texas is playing its best ball of year. We haven’t necessarily played our best, but I think this might get us going in the right direction for the Big 12 tournament.”
Selman (21-7) beat Texas for the second time after she threw a four-hitter in a 2-1 win Friday at Getterman Stadium. She didn’t walk a batter in Sunday’s game and struck out five as Baylor beat Texas in Austin for the first time since 2011.
“Kelsee was phenomenal and Coach (Britni) Newman did a great job calling the game,” Moore said. “She had to go to her fourth best pitch today, and to be able to beat them tells you a whole lot. They were tough outs, and we knew they’d play their best on senior weekend.”
Following her complete game in a 3-1 win over Baylor on Saturday, Tiarra Davis shut out the Lady Bears in the first three innings Sunday.
When Paige von Sprecken (6-6) relieved Davis in the fourth inning, Baylor broke through for its first run.
Baylor loaded the bases with singles by Kyla Walker, Hawkins and Shelby Friudenberg before Jessie Scroggins hit a run-scoring single.
After the Lady Bears threatened in the fifth and sixth innings, they finally extended their lead with their three-run seventh.
Taylor Ellis opened the seventh with a walk before Lindsey Cargill and Walker reached on singles to load the bases. After Erica Wright relieved, Hawkins drilled a three-run double down the left-field line to push Baylor’s lead to 4-0.
“You get frustrated when you’re not getting the big hit, but we kept putting the pressure on,” Moore said. “Ari’s a senior played with a lot experience and she made a nice adjustment at the plate.”
Texas tried to rally in the seventh as Jade Gotarez and Stephanie Wong singled with one out. Walker then made an outstretched catch after a long run in left-field foul territory on Devon Tunning’s drive for the second out before Randel Leahy flew out to Hawkins at second base for the final out.