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Wednesday Daily Bears Report: A Great Big Clumsy Softball Preview

ConnerSaurusRex becomes an expert on college softball in like, two hours.

Thank goodness I have a busy summer. If I wasn't embroiled in summer classes and Homecoming preparations, I'd probably being going bananas every day because Baylor football in McLane Stadium kicks off in only 95 days. 95 long, agonizing days. It is summer, a time when college football bloggers have to come up with any way to entertain themselves. Luckily, this isn't a college football blog, and there are a few other things to talk about, not the least of which is that there was a Perry Jones III sighting in the Thunder's rout of the Spurs last night.

I'm not sure how many Spurs fans we have in the readership, but I know we have some Thunder loyalists who would like to see a Baylor alum get his ring.

Softball Preview

Baylor Softball, led by Coach Glenn Moore and pitcher Whitney Canion, is in Oklahoma City for the Women's College World Series. Here's the full bracket:

Baylor, the No. 13 overall seed, is the second-lowest seed in the series, beating out No. 14 Kentucky, who upset UCLA to make it to Oklahoma City. Game 1 is tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. Central against the Florida Gators.

Florida is an extremely balanced team. Their pitching is extremely solid, and they have consistent defense that rarely makes mistakes. On paper, there is nothing to suggest that they are a significantly better team than Baylor, whereas Georgia had me worried going in. In the circle, Florida relies primarily on ace pitcher Hannah Rogers, who sports a 1.68 ERA and a 26-8 record. Both of Florida's reserve pitchers have seen more action than Baylor backups Heather Stearns and Liz Paul. I haven't watched much Florida softball, so I'm not sure if that's a byproduct of Rogers' lack of endurance, or of Florida's depth. I will say that Florida's domination of Washington can be chalked up to poor play by the Huskies as well as solid hitting by the Gators.

Unsurprisingly, Whitney Canion is key to Baylor's gameplan. Canion has incredible endurance in the circle, throwing 305 pitches in one day against Tulsa in the Regional round, and almost that many over two days in the Athens Super-Regional last weekend. Canion brings an impressive 1.40 ERA, and opposing batters average .192 against her. If Canion has a good day and the rest of the defense avoids mistakes, Baylor can beat any team in the country.

On the season, Florida has four players batting above .300, including one above .400. After that, it dies down considerably. Florida faced middling pitching last weekend against Washington- Whitney Canion will be an entirely new challenge for a gifted offense. Baylor has been getting consistent production all the way down its batting order. In the games I've seen, Holly Holl, Ari Hawkins, and Sarah Smith have stood out, but every starter has had shining moments. If the Lady Bears hit as well as they did against Georgia, it could be a good run.

I'm finding that I really enjoy softball. It's good that the series is planted squarely in the middle of Big 12 territory, and a vocal contingent of OU and Baylor fans should be present to root for the Lady Bears and Lady Sooners. Oh, and be nice to Sam Holl, lest his sister come beat you to death with a metal bat.

TL;DR Keys to the Game:

  • Get Whitney Canion in a groove early
  • Get production from bottom of lineup
  • Match Florida's caution and avoid errors
  • Force the Gators to rotate pitchers; keep them uncomfortable
I... I guess that's pretty much it, folks.