Facing a seemingly insurmountable deficit heading into the bottom of the sixth inning against Kentucky, Baylor coach Glenn Moore began to wonder if his team was destined to lose.
Moore’s hope, and the Bears’ fortunes, changed just as his son, Ty, provided some foreshadowing.
“With three outs to go, and thinking there’s not much hope, I turned to my little boy in the dugout and I said, ‘You’re not going to cry after this, are you?’ he said, ‘Cry? We’re going to win.’”
Baylor scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh and one more in the eighth, capping a dramatic 8-7 victory over Kentucky in a Women’s College World Series elimination game on Saturday at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
“Wow, I won’t forget that one until I forget who I am,” Moore said. “These girls are incredible. They just never quit believing. For five innings we weren’t even in the game. That’s why you play seven, I guess."
Trailing 7-0 through 5 1/2 innings, the Bears got the comeback started with a three-run sixth. Robin Landrith tied the game in the seventh with a two-out, two-RBI double off the wall in left center. It was only Landrith’s second double of the season.
“I was down two strikes, two outs and so at that point I was just like, ‘well, this could be my last at bat of the season, don’t strike out looking,’” Landrith said.
Kaitlyn Thumann started the Baylor eighth with a double to right center. One batter later, Kentucky catcher Griffin Joiner fielded an Ari Hawkins sacrifice bunt and threw to first. The ball glanced off Hawkins’ hand just in front of the base, deflecting into right field as Thumann came around to score the winning run.
Baylor didn’t advance a runner past first base off Kentucky starter Kelsey Nunley until the fifth inning. Heather Stearns pitched 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to get the win.
Krystal Smith, Emily Gaines, and Ginny Carroll homered for the Wildcats, who were making their first WCWS appearance and finished the season 50-19.
Baylor (49-15) will play Florida at noon on Sunday, and must beat the Gators twice to make the championship series.