Baylor pitcher Whitney Canion gave up a first inning single. She didn't give up another hit for 41 straight batters.
And finally, in the bottom of the 13th inning, Canion's offense concluded what was an historic performance by both pitchers. The damage was done by first baseman Holly Holl, who lifted a walk-off homerun to left field and sent the Bears to semifinal Sunday with a 1-0 win.
“First pitch was a changeup, looked stupid swinging at that,” Holl said. “Then I had two strikes and she threw it and I hit it. Thank goodness it went far.”
It was the only mistake Missouri pitcher Chelsea Thomas made, but it was a costly one.
For 12 2/3 innings, Thomas kept Baylor off-balance with her devastating changeup and finished the game with 19 strikeouts, one shy of the WCWS record.
“I'm just so proud of her in so many different ways,” Missouri coach Ehren Earleywine said. “She knows it wasn't her fault. We just didn't hit. She pitched brilliant.”
But Canion was just a little better. Over 13 innings of work, she only gave up two hits and struck out 11.
“I know everyone wants to see home runs but I love pitchers duels,” Canion said. “I got so caught up in the moment of us playing, that it didn't even matter what inning it was.”
And by the time Holl's liner cleared the leftfield wall, it was already Sunday morning.
So Baylor gets a little time to celebrate this victory, but they must prepare for a quick turnaround. To advance to Monday's championship, they will need to beat Arizona State twice today, with the first game slated for 2:30 p.m.
“I got to rest up and get ready to pitch again tomorrow,” Canion said. “I might just sleep in my jersey.”