Regardless of whatever happens the rest of the way, Baylor pitcher Heather Stearns is going to remember this College World Series for a long time to come. Having not pitched for a month before coming to Oklahoma City the Bears' sophomore righty led them to two wins in the first day of elimination games and has them just two more wins away from playing in the championship series.
After leading Baylor to a 7-2 win over Florida State, earlier in the day as a starter, Stearns came off the bench against Kentucky in the evening session looking at a 7-0 deficit. Little did she know that she was about to be a key figure in a come from behind win for the ages.
Baylor finally started putting the ball in play against Kentucky hurler Kelsey Nunley in the bottom of the sixth and plated three runs off six hits. Sensing a little momentum shift, Stearns sat the Wildcats down in order in the top of the seventh. Baylor's Ari Hawkins opened up the bottom half of the last frame with a home run to left field and then Holly Holl reached on a fielding error but Nunley then recorded a strike out and a ground out to put UK one out away from advancing to Sunday.
With Holl on second, Sarah Smith sent a two-out double into right field to cut the Kentucky lead to 7-5. Nunley walked the next batter, Jordan Strickland, and then Robin Landrith's two-RBI double tied the game at 7-7, sending the contest into an extra inning.
"I never thought they had the momentum until the 7th when they tied it up," Kentucky's Ginny Carroll said afterward, but the Bears clearly had the momentum and Stearns wasn't going to let it slip away. Two pop ups and a strike out put the Wildcats down in order for the second consecutive inning and then two batters into the bottom half of the eighth Baylor's Kaitlyn Thumann was crossing home plate on a throwing error to win the game 8-7.
"I'll never forget this game until I forget what my name is," Baylor Head Coach Glenn Moore said as he addressed the media following the win. "I was determined that I wasn't going out losing," Hawkins said about her final home run at bat. A pro Big XII crowd got the message loud and clear on Saturday night. The Baylor Bears aren't done fighting and this is a day that will be remembered for a long time to come, especially for Heather Stearns.