WACO – It took 305 pitches, but sixth-year senior left-handed pitcher Whitney Canion willed Baylor Softball to its fifth trip to an NCAA Super Regional with an epic performance on the mound Sunday at Getterman Stadium. Canion surrendered a walkoff home run in the bottom of the 11th inning as Tulsa took game on of the Waco Regional Championship 1-0 before coming back to lift the Lady Bears (45-14) to a 3-1 victory to clinch a spot in the next round.
Canion threw 175 pitches in the first-game loss matching Tulsa (53-9) starter Aimee Creger pitch-for-pitch, but Catherine Hoerner’s solo home run over the leftfield wall forced the if-necessary game with one out in the bottom of the 11th.
In what might have surprised many at Getterman Stadium Sunday, Baylor head coach Glenn Moore’s lineup for the final game of the tournament had No. 11 back in the circle.
Canion gave up a run in the top of the first inning when Jill Barrett singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, advanced to third on a flyout and then came to score on Erica Sampson’s RBI single to give the Golden Hurricane their only run.
From there, she completed the game scattering eight hits, walked just one and struck out nine to improve to 29-10 on the season. All in all Canion threw 17.1 innings, allowed 14 hits, two runs, walked two and struck out 19 in the two games vs. Tulsa.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pitcher do what Whitney Canion did. I don’t know how, but it was amazing. The team saw that and they rallied behind her. We got what we needed from her, but she gave more,” said Baylor head coach Glenn Moore. “I wanted her to go two or three more innings [in the second game]. I didn’t want to start someone else and her get stiff. Whatever was left I wanted to use it. She just kept going like the Energizer bunny.”
Baylor awaits the winner of the Athens, Georgia regional where NC State and Georgia will battle to advance. If Georgia wins, Baylor would head to Athens, but if NC State wins, the Wolfpack would come to Waco. The Super Regional could start as early as Thursday or late as Saturday.