Softball captures No. 2 Seed with series win over Texas

In this Lariat file photo from a matchup against UTSA on Feb. 16, senior pitcher Kelsee Selman looks to strike out the next batter. Photo credit: Liesje Powers

By Nathan Keil | Sports Writer

No. 13 Baylor (41-11, 13-5) wrapped up its Big 12 season over the weekend, taking two of three games from Texas (30-22, 7-10) and wrapping up as the No. 2 seed for the Big 12 tournament.

The Lady Bears won a thriller 2-1 in Waco on Friday, capping off a 24-2 record at Getterman Stadium this season.

The Longhorns responded with a 3-1 win on Saturday in Austin before Baylor spoiled the Longhorns’ Senior Day with a 4-0 win on Sunday.

The series win was Baylor’s first in Austin since 2011.

Baylor head coach Glenn Moore said the series was big for the Lady Bears as they move forward toward postseason play.

“I’m very proud of this team. They played relentlessly today, with great determination to win this series,” Moore said. “Texas is playing their best ball and it took everything we had to paint this one green. This will give us much needed momentum headed into the Big 12 tournament.”

In Friday’s win, senior pitcher Kelsee Selman (20-7) went the distance in the circle for the Lady Bears. Selman allowed one run on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts and benefited from some timely defense.

Nursing a 2-1 lead with two on and two outs in the seventh and following a sharp single to center field by Longhorns’ freshman second baseman Jade Gortarez, junior outfielder Jessie Scroggins fired a strike to junior catcher Sydney Christiensen, who tagged out Texas senior first baseman Kelli Hanzel to end the game.

Scroggins said she was determined to make the best throw possible in order to give her team a chance at the plate.

“You’ve got to give her the best throw you’ve got and throw her out at home,” Scroggins said. “It’s huge. It’s our last home game, and we want to go out with a bang.”

Texas redshirt sophomore pitcher Erica Wright (6-6) did her best to limit the scoring opportunities for the Lady Bears. Wright held to just four hits with four walks in 3 2/3 innings before making way for the bullpen.

Unfortunately for Wright and the Longhorns, two of those hits came from the Bears’ home run— the first one off the bat of Christiensen in the third inning and the second one from freshman infielder Shelby McGlaun in the fourth.

The Lady Bears managed base runners throughout the game but other than the two home runs, couldn’t advance any of them past second base.

Selman held Texas to no hits until a leadoff single in the fifth. The Longhorns cut the lead in half on a fielder’s choice later in the inning and threatened again in the seventh but were unable to get the tying run across.

Selman believes these types of games are going to benefit the Lady Bears as they approach postseason play.

“It’s just what we needed. Just having games like that where they’re close – where the last inning gets close – is the stuff we need for going further into Regionals and Super Regionals,” Selman said. “I think it’s really important to have games like that to help us out in the long run.”

On Saturday, the Baylor offense sputtered for the second consecutive day, mustering just five hits. Texas used a three run fifth inning rally to post a 3-1 victory over the Lady Bears.

Baylor struggled at the plate against Texas senior pitcher Tiarra Davis (8-8), failing to get a single base runner until Scroggins reached on a Longhorn error in the fourth inning.

In the fifth, the Lady Bears got singles from Cargill and freshman outfielder Maddison Kettler to lead off the frame. Both runners moved up on a sacrifice bunt from McGlaun. Freshman catcher Taylor Ellis then hit a rocket to center field, scoring Cargill, and the throw was just in time to get Kettler to score in a play reminiscent of the game ending play in Friday’s game.

Texas then responded with a run scoring single from senior infielder Devon Tunning and then the two run double from senior infielder Celina Felix.

Baylor had an opportunity in the seventh when junior infielder Shelby Friudenberg and Cargill singled to lead off the frame. Kettler and McGlaun were both unable to advance the runners before Christensen was called out on strikes to end the game.

Sophomore pitcher Gia Rodoni (14-2) took the loss for the Lady Bears, allowing three runs on six hits in 4 2/3 innings. She did not walk anyone or record a strikeout.

On Sunday, the Lady Bears bounced back, riding a strong performance from Selman in the circle and a timely three-run double from senior infielder Ari Hawkins in the seventh inning to secure a 4-0 win over the Longhorns.

Selman (21-7) kept the Longhorns at bay, working her second complete game in three days. She scattered eight hits, struck out five while not allowing a walk.

The Lady Bears made it onto the board in the fourth inning on a single from Scroggins.

The Longhorns threatened the Lady Bears in the sixth inning, putting runners on first and second with one out. After Selman retired the next batter, the Lady Bears caught freshman catcher Taylor Ellsworth leaning too far towards third base and tagged her out in a rundown, ending the threat.

Baylor then put the game out of reach in part due to Hawkins’ double in the seventh inning.

The Lady Bears will take on the No. 3 seed Oklahoma State at 11 a.m. Friday before taking on the No. 6 seed Iowa State at 5 p.m. Friday. Following Friday’s action, all teams will be reseeded and the tournament will then become single loss elimination with the championship game being played at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.