Katiyana Mauga hit the 92nd home run of her career on Friday night, a solo shot to right field, and Arizona wound up winning by one run.
Baylor coach Glenn Moore admitted then that Bears pitcher Kelsee Selman made a costly mistake by throwing Mauga a hittable pitch.
Moore wasn’t going to allow Selman to make that mistake again on Saturday, and Arizona’s fans weren’t all too happy about it.
The Bears walked Mauga four times, three of them intentionally. Each time, the boos at Hillenbrand Stadium got louder.
“I mean, that stuff don’t even bother me,” Selman said of the boos. “It just makes me laugh. If it was the other way around, they probably wouldn’t pitch to her either.”
For much of the season, teams hadn’t opted for the intentional walk too many times — before the postseason, Mauga had been intentionally walked only twice, and both came in one nonconference games against Drake. There have been plenty of “unintentional” intentional walks — where a pitcher doesn’t give a batter anything to hit, even if it’s not technically scored as an intentional walk — but not as many as you think.
This time of the year, teams are starting to catch on. It’s safer, they realize, to pitch around Mauga than to her.
“She probably won’t see another pitch” this series, UA coach Mike Candrea said after the game.
Candrea moved Mauga up one spot in the batting order on April 30, from third to second, and has kept her there ever since.
Mauga has hit just .318 since then, though she’s been walked 11 times (five intentional) and hit three home runs. She has six RBIs and a .545 on-base percentage.
With Arizona’s typically potent lineup, Candrea called it a “free base” when Baylor walks Mauga.
“You know, the game is not played with one person,” Candrea said. “Is it frustrating? Yeah, but I kind of understand what they were doing. It’s a matter of the rest of our kids picking up the slack. That’ll happen again tomorrow. She probably won’t see another pitch, but we’ll be ready.”
Baylor is timing O’Toole’s change-up
Teams have had a difficult time solving Arizona ace Danielle O’Toole‘s change-up this season. That included Baylor on Friday night.
Saturday, however, Baylor was ready. O’Toole relieved Taylor McQuillin in the sixth inning after she allowed a double and was quickly cuffed around.
Shelby McGlaun hit a single. O’Toole struck out the next batter, then surrendered three straight hits and four runs. Like that, Baylor took a 6-4 lead.
“I thought it was our advantage to have brought her in when they chose to — probably looking at it from two different perspectives — but I thought of all our lineup, Shelby saw her the best (Friday),” Moore said. “To bring her in at that point in time, it was a great at-bat and they fed off it.”
O’Toole went ahead of Sydney Christensen 0-2 using the change-up, but Christensen recovered and hit an RBI double down the left-field line.
“We knew going in that she threw a lot of change-ups just from yesterday. I knew she was going to throw me a change-up first pitch and I still whiffed really, really bad.” Christensen said. “Then she threw me a change-up and I hit it pretty solid.”
- O’Toole (30-5) will likely start for Arizona on Sunday. It’s unclear whom the Bears will go with between Selman, who’s started both games already, and sophomore Gia Rodoni.