No other pitcher in the Big 12 has had to shoulder as heavy a load as Baylor sophomore Sidney Holman.
While it’s physically taxing, it might be even harder mentally.
After Holman kept No. 15 Texas Tech’s explosive offense under control for five innings, the Red Raiders busted out for nine sixth-inning runs for an 11-2 win on a chilly Saturday afternoon at Getterman Stadium.
The Lady Bears (15-23, 2-10) lost their seventh straight game, and will try to avoid a three-game sweep by the Red Raiders (34-8, 5-6) in Sunday’s 1 p.m. series finale. Holman has started all 12 Big 12 games because injury-plagued Baylor simply has no other effective options.
“We talk about her speeds being up there, but the mental wear and tear of having to go over and over and over is something you can’t really measure,” said Baylor coach Glenn Moore. “We’re seeing that take effect a little bit, and not being able to have anyone come in behind her that can be effective against a Top 25 team is leading to these ugly losses.”
Everything fell into Holman’s lap after ace Gia Rodoni underwent offseason knee surgery that forced her to redshirt this season and Regan Green suffered a rib injury. While there’s still a chance Green could return, time is running out with just 12 regular season games remaining.
Holman (10-15) held the Red Raiders to two runs through five innings. Baylor rallied to tie the game with a pair of fifth-inning runs off Texas Tech’s Erin Edmoundson (15-2), who allowed three hits and one earned run in the six-inning game.
But the Red Raiders teed off on Holman in the sixth as Taylor Satchell opened with a triple to right field followed by Karli Hamilton’s run-scoring double to center to take a 3-2 lead.
Baylor got a brief reprieve when shortstop Taylor Ellis threw out Hamilton at home when she tried to score on Heaven Burton’s grounder, but Breanna Russell drilled a double to left field.
That was the last pitch for Holman, who gave up nine hits and five walks.
“When you see the lineup that many times, it gets a little bit easier for them to see you,” Holman said. “I just really need to step up and make sure my pitches are spinning in the best spot as possible. That might have been a little bit of my problem today.’
Madison Lindsey relieved, but she walked Trenity Edwards, Zoe Jones and Jessica Hartwell to force in a pair of runs. Lindsey was effective earlier this season, but has been plagued by illegal pitches for several weeks and hasn’t been able to get into a pitching rhythm.
“It’s the illegal pitch,” Moore said. “It’s being called and she’s working on it, but it changes everything. Everything she’s doing mechanically. There’s also the mental strain. You see her going from throwing 62 mph earlier this year to 56 or 57 because she’s trying to guide that pitch and control her foot. We’ve been working on it for some time now.”
With Lindsey unable to get an out, first baseman Goose McGlaun came into pitch and Satchell drilled a two-run double to right field before Hamilton crushed a three-run homer over the left-field fence.
Baylor loaded the bases against Edmoundson in the bottom of the sixth, but Ana Watson flew out to end the run-rule game.