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.
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.
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.
Along with Canion, first baseman Holly Holl, catcher Clare Hosack and pitcher Liz Paul all put on Baylor uniforms for the final time.
- Jordan Strickland went 1-for-3 at the plate with an RBI double, which gave her 14 career postseason RBI, which ranks second all-time by a Baylor player.
- Strickland, through three years in the postseason, is Baylor's all-time leader in batting average at .446 and hits with 25 (25-56).
- Whitney Canion picked up the loss Sunday, but leaves as Baylor's all-time postseason leader in wins with 16.
- Canion finished her career with 123 wins, which ranked first on Baylor's career list and third all-time in the Big 12's career list for wins.
- Kaitlyn Thumann's two RBI marked the sixth time in 2014 that she had multiple RBI.
- Baylor reached the WCWS semi-finals for the second time in its three appearances in the national tournament, and is 5-6 all-time in WCWS games and 35-21 all-time in the NCAA postseason.
26 – Jordan Strickland took over Baylor's all-time postseason hits lead with a double in the fifth inning. It gave her 26 hits passing teammate Holly Holl for the all-time lead.
STAT OF THE GAME II
123 – Whitney Canion had 123 wins in her Baylor career, two WCWS appearances, she was a two-time all-American, and Baylor's career leader in virtually every major pitching category.
THEY SAID IT
Glenn Moore on Baylor's performance
"Well, I'm extremely proud of my team. We came here to win this thing, and were dealt a big setback on the first day and had to recover from that. I thought we showed incredible fight, pride as we worked our way back to today and won an incredible come-back last night, of course. We didn't take the easy road to get here. I think it prepared us for this, but I doubt many people, other teams, had the road we had throughout the season, including travel adversity and playing on the road against tough teams, strength of schedule and then postseason. I'm just really proud of the way the girls played both sides of the ball, but I have to point out a kid that has given everything she has to our program. Had to endure a lot of joking, because she is on Social Security now, apparently. (Laughter.) She has spent her entire six years and milked everything her body had to give her. She gave it to our program, because she had such a passion to play and to pitch, with little reward after, other than the fact that she just loved the play the game. We, of course, have benefited from that, our players have. And this year I'm really proud of the fact that we were able to put a good offense behind her and break a lot of records offensively and give her the support she needed. But we wouldn't be here without Whitney Canion. She got us here twice in her career, and I'm very proud of her as I am the rest of the seniors. But I'm extremely proud of Whitney."