Oklahoma has already clinched the Big 12 softball title but Baylor still has a lot to play for entering the final weekend of the regular season.
No. 13 Baylor’s focus now is to polish its NCAA tournament resume.
The Lady Bears will play a three-game series against Texas beginning Friday at 6:05 p.m. at Getterman Stadium and then shifting to McCombs Field in Austin for the final two games Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.
After this weekend’s series, the Big 12 tournament will return for the first time since 2010 May 12-13 in Oklahoma City. The Lady Bears (39-10, 11-4) are No. 10 in the latest RPI which should put them in strong position for one of 16 NCAA regional host sites.
But Baylor coach Glenn Moore is taking nothing for granted. The Lady Bears were No. 13 last year and were sent on the road to play Oregon in Eugene.
“This is an opportunity to shout to the committee we’re finishing strong and we deserve to host,” Moore said. “We’ve played a very tough schedule to have the right to host and we’ve played well against that schedule. But again we were 13 last year, so I don’t want to take anything for granted there.”
The Longhorns (29-20, 6-8) have had a disappointing year, but Moore won’t let his team overlook them. He sees a talented team that has won its last four games.
“Texas is a scary team,” Moore said. “They’re very talented and their pitching staff is very good. They haven’t played exceptionally to their ability any way throughout the year at least until recently. But it looks as though they’re going in the right direction and they’re doing it at the right time for them and not for us.”
Texas features the No. 3 hitter in the Big 12 in Taylor Ellsworth with a .416 batting average with three homers and 23 RBIs. Baylor third baseman Lindsey Cargill leads the league with a .459 batting average.
Texas’ pitching staff features Erica Wright (6-5, 1.78 ERA) and Tiarra Davis (7-8, 2.10 ERA). Brooke Bolinger (7-2, 1.92 ERA) and Paige von Sprecken (6-5, 2.04 ERA) add to the pitching depth.
Baylor will counter with ace Kelsee Selman (19-7, 1.63 ERA) and Gia Rodoni (14-1, 1.78 ERA). The Lady Bears beat Oklahoma State two of three games in last weekend’s Big 12 series.
Moore is concerned about the Lady Bears playing softball in the middle of final exams.
“It seems like it falls on finals week every year we play Texas, and I don’t like it,” Moore said. “I wish we could get around it, find a way to change opponents now and then. But we’ve got to deal with it and be able to play at a high level.”