Softball looking to cement seeding, momentum heading into Texas series

Senior Shelby Friudenberg hits the ball and makes a run for first. Friudenberg looks to end her career at Getterman Stadium on a high note this weekend. Baylee VerSteeg | Multimedia Journalist

By Nathan Keil | Sports Editor

It’s hard to believe that having played just 13 games at Getterman Stadium this season, that Baylor softball is preparing for its final home series of the year.

But that is the reality for the Lady Bears as they welcome the Texas Longhorns into town for a two-game set to close out the Big 12 regular season.

Senior first baseman Shelby Friudenberg said that this weekend is crucial not only to keep the team’s momentum going, but also for potential postseason positioning.

“They’re very important games. We’re going to try to finish out strong with two wins against Texas,” Friudenberg said. “It’s kind of up in the air whether we’re going to host a regional or not, but we’re going to be excited.”

Baylor currently sits at No. 15 in the RPI, an important tool used to measure a team’s strength of schedule and help with postseason seeding. The top 16 teams serve as regional hosts for the NCAA Tournament.

But Baylor has another seed that it is concerned with this weekend as the Longhorns make their way to Getterman Stadium. The Lady Bears currently sit in third place in the Big 12 while Texas is fourth. One win this weekend wraps up that third spot for Baylor in next weekend’s Big 12 conference tournament.

Baylor and Texas met once already this season, a 3-0 win for the Lady Bears in Austin on April 17.

Despite getting the win last Month, senior center fielder Jessie Scroggins said that Baylor certainly won’t overlook the Longhorns.

“We beat them the first game but we won’t take them for granted. They played a tough 8-inning game against Oklahoma, so they’re going to come back to Waco ready to play. We can’t take them for granted, just play Baylor softball and come out and work hard,” Scroggins said. “We know their batting lineup and we’ve seen their pitching plenty of times. But sometimes you have good days and you have bad days. You just got to be ready all the time.”

In that game, junior Gia Rodoni was superb for Baylor in the circle. She allowed just three hits, did have three walks, but struck out eight in shutting out the Longhorns’ offense.

Scroggins, who has been the leader for Baylor’s offense all season long, delivered a pair of hits and drove in two runs for the Baylor offense. Scroggins became Baylor’s all-time leader in hits this season and sits 12th in the nation with a .453 batting average, one spot behind her teammate, junior outfielder Kyla Walker at .455.

Scroggins isn’t the only senior breaking records, as Friudenberg has inked herself into the Baylor record books as well. Friudenberg became the program leader in home runs (47) and RBIs (187) this season, something that has been big for Scroggins and the Baylor offense.

“It’s been amazing. I just get on base and I know Shelby is going to hit me in. It helps me out and it helps her out, and that’s been fun and I’m definitely going to miss it,” Scroggins said.

With conference seeding and postseason ambitions still ahead of them, this weekend against Texas is big for both teams. For Friudenberg, there’s no better place to play than in front of a home crowd.

“I’m really excited. The seniors have put in some really hard work on this field, so we’re going to try to go out with a win,” Friudenberg said. “We love playing in front of our home crowd and we’re going to try to give them a show. Hopefully we can host, and if we can’t hopefully some of the fans can travel with us to our games and see if we can make it to the World Series.”

Baylor (33-14, 10-6) enters having won three games in a row, including seven straight conference games while Texas (30-21, 10-6) enters on a two-game winning streak after a midweek sweep of Incarnate Word, but was swept by Oklahoma last weekend.

Game two of the season series begins at 6;30 p.m. Saturday with game three at 2 p.m. Sunday at Getterman Stadium.