OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Baylor nearly caught lightning in a bottle twice in a matter of 14 hours, but Florida held off the Lady Bears’ rally and eliminated BU from the Women’s College World Series with a 6-3 win at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium Sunday afternoon.
Baylor (49-16) trailed 5-0 until the bottom of the fifth when the Lady Bears scored three runs to cut the lead to two. A night after the Lady Bears completed the largest comeback in WCWS history with an 8-7 win over Kentucky after trailing 7-0, the magic stopped Sunday after the fifth inning.
Florida (53-12) countered with a run in the top of the sixth, and the Gator’s Hannah Rogers retired the final seven outs of the game consecutively to help her team advance to the championship, best-of-three series Monday.
Baylor’s Whitney Canion took the circle for the final time after a six-year career and took the complete game loss to finish 2014 with a 31-12 record.
“I think she’s the best pitcher in the nation. She’s worn out; she’s given everything to our program,” Baylor head coach Glenn Moore said.
Jordan Strickland drove home a run with a double, and Kaitlyn Thumann had a two-run single to help Baylor try and rally in the bottom of the fifth. Prior to Sunday’s win for Florida, every victory in the postseason had come by shutout. Rogers finished the game allowing only five Baylor hits, three runs, she walked one and struck out two to improve to 29-8.
“We work together so well and we thought we could accomplish anything. We had some good swings and broke thru but fell short” Strickland said.
Baylor’s third appearance in the WCWS ended much like the 2011 team’s run did: in the semi-finals. Baylor was ranked No. 17 in the nation, and seeded No. 13 beginning with the Super Regional round. However, the Lady Bears upset No. 4 seed Georgia in the Super Regional and took down No. 8 seed Florida State Friday before beating Kentucky Friday night.
“I’m extremely proud of this team,” Moore added. “I thought we showed fight and pride to get back to today.”
Along with Canion, first baseman Holly Holl, catcher Clare Hosack and pitcher Liz Paul all put on Baylor uniforms for the final time.
— Baylor Softball (@BaylorSoftball) June 1, 2014