Waco, Texas – Taking on the host Bears for the second time in the week, the Pacific softball team suffered a hard-fought, 3-0, loss to Baylor in the championship of the Miken Classic on Sunday, Feb. 17. With the loss the Tigers finish second at the Classic while falling to 6-2 on the year and 3-2 at the tournament. Baylor took home the title as the Bears improved to a perfect 5-0 at their home tournament while improving to 10-2 on the season.
Defensively both teams brought their best as the two traded spectacular efforts throughout the afternoon. In the first the Tigers saw their first big play come from Amy Moore as the senior catcher took care of the threat on the bases by catching Kathy Shelton trying to steal second. The feat was of note as it marked just seventh time in 93 career attempts the Baylor centerfielder had been caught.
In the second it was the freshman at short, Melanie Habib, who showed off her range and awareness by robbing a potential hit up the middle with a runner on with a perfectly timed dive on the hard hit ground ball. Using her free hand, Habib slapped second and with it ended any thoughts of a big inning.
Getting into the fun, the outfielders put on a show in the third as Baylor's Kaitlyn Thumann robbed the Tigers of a two-out hit with a spectacular diving catch. Returning the favor senior Megan Hom took away an extra-base hit in the gap with a diving catch of her own.
Despite all of the stellar defense being played it was a ball the Tigers had no chance to make a play on that put Pacific behind early. Using just one big hit to do the damage, the Bears took the lead off a leadoff homerun by Linsey Hayes in the second as the Baylor cleanup hitter put one up into the wind in left and watched it sail out of the stadium. The home run by Hayes was the first round-tripper given up by Pacific in 2013 and second of the season for Baylor's leftfielder.
The Bears used a pair of singles and a Tiger error to plate their second run of the contest in the 4th. With a runner at second and two outs, Sarah Smith delivered a drive back up the middle to put Baylor up 2-0. They tacked on a third run when Jordan Strickland singled to left to bring home Smith.
For Pacific, the lone threat came in the fifth when the Tigers put runners at second and third with only one out, but a controversial call went against the Tigers and with it the threat and the hopes for a comeback ended. In all, Pacific posted two hits in the game as Moore and freshman Taylor Brink each posted singles to right against Baylor's Whitney Canion.
In the circle, Canion earned the win to move to 4-1 on the year as the all-american went five innings while walking two and striking out four. In relief, Heather Stearns picked up a save with two perfect innings to end the game. On the other side, junior Tori Shepard suffered her first loss of the season as she went 6.0 innings while giving up seven hits and three runs, two of which were earned. Additionally, Shepard struck out five and walked just one while falling to 2-1 on the year.
Pacific will look to rebound in its second tournament of the seasons when the Tigers travel to Clearwater, Fla. to take part in the NFCA Leadoff Classic hosted by USF. Pacific will face No. 21 Hofstra in the opening contest at 10:00 am (PST).