Softball veterans, freshmen rise to challenges

Baylor freshman right-handed pitcher Shelby McGlaun has started her first season off with a bang, hitting eight home runs, and has a 6-2 record with an earned run average of 1.95. Photo credit: Penelope Shirey

Baylor softball has tied its best start in program history. The No. 13 Lady Bears are 35-6 overall with an 8-1 record in Big 12 play.

Head coach Glenn Moore has relied heavily on his seniors to set the pace for the team this season. Pitcher Kelsee Selman has been tremendous for the Lady Bears this season in the circle. She has posted an 18-3 record with a 1.32 earned run average (ERA) in 127 1/3 innings of work. Opponents are hitting just .182 against her and she has struck out 126 to just 23 walks.

Infielder/outfielder/positional savant Lindsey Cargill has been nearly unstoppable at the plate for the Lady Bears. She is hitting .484 and leads the team in on-base percentage at .529. She leads the offense with three triples and 38 runs scored, eight more than sophomore outfielder Kyla Walker’s 30.

Cargill is also problematic for defenses because she doesn’t get herself out and is incredibly hard to strike out, only going down on strikes in 124 at-bats.

Cargill, who recorded six hits in last weekend’s sweep of Iowa State, has currently hit safely in 19 consecutive games, which is tied for most in school history.

Cargill insists she is just trying to do her part in moving runners around for the bases and providing opportunities for the team to score.

“There’s no holding back,” Cargill said. “I’m just trying to move runners, get on base and do everything I can to help the team win.”

But it isn’t just the seniors who have elevated their game to get Baylor to this point, but also the work of several important freshmen: pitcher/infielder Shelby McGlaun, infielder Taylor Ellis and outfielder Maddison Kettler.

McGlaun leads the team with eight home runs and is second with 28 runs driven in. She is hitting .286 on the season, but Moore believes that her average is not an accurate indicator of how good a hitter McGlaun has been this season.

“She can do a lot of different things,” Moore said. “She hits the ball hard and is probably one of the most snake-bit hitters that we’ve had in a while. I’m a big believer in the law of averages, and they’ll start falling more often for her.”

McGlaun has also served as the team’s No. 3 starter in the circle. She has posted a 6-2 record in 16 appearances with an ERA of 1.95 in 57 1/3 innings.

Ellis’ versatility has been on display this season for Baylor. She has seen time mostly at shortstop but also at second base and as catcher for the Lady Bears. She is hitting .278 in 72 at-bats, contributing 20 hits, three doubles, driven in 11 runs and scored 16 times.

Moore said Ellis has matured immensely as a player throughout the course of the season and is playing excellently in Baylor’s recent stretch.

“Every game, you see the kid grow. She plays hard,” Moore said. “She is playing very mature ball right now. I certainly like what she’s doing. We’re asking a lot out of her.”

Kettler, who has started all but one game in left field for Baylor, has been extremely efficient offensively. Kettler is fourth on the team in batting average, hitting .370 with 44 hits, nine extra base hits including one home run, and she has driven in 15 runs for the Lady Bears.

As the Lady Bears hit the home stretch of their season, which includes weekend series against the top two teams in the Big 12, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, and push for postseason play, Moore will need both his veteran leaders and his young talent to be hitting on all cylinders.

Baylor will take on Texas State at 6 p.m. today in San Marcos. They will then be off this weekend before hosting a midweek doubleheader with Houston beginning at 4 p.m. next Tuesday.