By Nathan Keil | Sports Editor
Baylor softball capped off its regular season with a 2-0 shutout over Texas Sunday afternoon at Getterman Stadium.
The Lady Bears managed just three hits, two of which coming from senior Jessie Scroggins, and scored twice in the fourth inning, although both runs were unearned.
“Paige [von Sprecken] was spinning the ball a lot. She was getting our righties on her backdoor, but we did what we needed to do to get the win,” Scroggins said. “We got two runs across and were able to hold them for the rest of the game.”
Junior outfielder Kyla Walker had the third Baylor hit, an infield hit to shortstop in the sixth inning.
Baylor got a solid start in the circle from junior Regan Green. Green (11-4), who picked up the save on Saturday night, pitched five plus innings, allowing four hits and one walk.
Junior Gia Rodoni returned the favor, pitching the final two innings in relief to collect her second save of the season, including getting out of a bases load jam in the sixth and a second and third with one out jam in the seventh.
Rodoni allowed two hits and a walk, but struck out three including the final two Longhorn hitters in the game.
Texas out-hit Baylor 6-3 and left on eight runners on base, as the Longhorns threatened in the first, second, sixth and seventh innings against Green and Rodoni.
In the first, freshman infielder Janae Jefferson turned an illegal pitch groundout into a single to center field to open the frame. Texas then moved her into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Von Sprecken then laced a ball to the wall in left-center, but Scroggins chased it down for the second out.
After a walk and a wild pitch put runners on second and third, senior outfielder Randel Leahy drilled balls to left and right field, both missing foul before eventually flying out to Walker in left field to end the inning.
In the second, Texas managed a pair of singles, but a caught stealing and a groundout kept the Longhorns off the board.
After being held hitless and without a base runner for the first three innings, Baylor found just enough offense in the fourth inning.
Scroggins led off the inning with a laser single to right field. Walker then slapped one to third base where it was booted by freshman MK Tedder. A walk to senior first baseman Shelby Friudenberg loaded the bases and sophomore third baseman Goose McGlaun then hit a sacrifice fly to left field, putting the Lady Bears up 1-0.
However, the Longhorns caught Baylor being overly aggressive, catching freshman pinch runner Alyssa Avalos trying to tag up from second base to end the inning.
Baylor head coach said his team’s approach was on target, but a combination of some tricky calls behind the plate and good pitching disrupted the Lady Bears’ rhythm.
“It was kind of an odd day offensively, our approach was good. Von Sprecken was good. We just didn’t see the ball the same way the zone, the umpire saw is the best way to put it. It took us out of rhythm and calls for some bad results,” Moore said. “But I thought our approach stayed pretty consistent from yesterday. I tip my hat to Von Sprecken for throwing such a good game.”
Texas’ next opportunity came in the sixth, but once again the Baylor pitching came up big at just the right time.
Jefferson singled on a line to left field to begin the inning. Moore then turned to his ace Rodoni out of the bullpen to finish off Texas. The Longhorns muffed on a bunt attempt for the first out. Von Sprecken then roped a single to center, McGlaun made an error at third to load the bases.
A fly ball to left proved not to be deep enough, as Walker fired a strike to Wallace behind the dish to keep the runners put. Rodoni then struck out Tedder to end the inning.
“It’s always hard to leave but I knew Gia would come in and do a great job,” Green said. “We complement each other very well. I’ve come in for her before and she’s come in for me before, so we kind of change off.”
Baylor had a chance for some insurance in the sixth, after Scroggins and Walker both singled to begin the inning. Both advanced on sacrifice fly from McGlaun, but were stranded as Wallace grounded out to first base to end the inning.
Finally, in the seventh, Texas made Rodoni work for the final three outs.
Rodoni walked sophomore first baseman Malory Schattle on four pitches. Sophomore shortstop Kaitlyn Slack then laced a double to right field, putting runners on the second and third with nobody out.
Rodoni then induced a pop up to Wallace behind the plate and painted the outside corner for called third strikes to both Jefferson and Hayter to end the game.
“I saw a winner right there. I saw a kid buckle down, her back was against the wall and when she had to come up with a strikeout, she did right there at the end. In that situation, I saw her go to another level,” Moore said.
After the game, Baylor honored its four seniors, Scroggins, Wallace, Friudenberg and injured third baseman Caitlyn Charlton. The four seniors finished this season 10-5 at Getterman Stadium and 75-20 in their career.
“It was awesome and especially on Senior Day. It’s incredible to give the seniors something to look at.” Green said. “Every game is just as important but I also wanted it for them too because they’ve left so much for this program. I know how bad they want it so it helped.”
The Lady Bears completed their first three-game sweep of Texas since the two schools began playing three game series in 2012. Baylor has also won nine straight conference games and five straight games overall.
Baylor (35-14, 12-6) captures the three-seed in the 2018 Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament. The Lady Bears will take on No. 2 Oklahoma State at 11 a.m. Friday on OGE Energy Field at Hall of Fame Stadium and then No. 5 Texas Tech at 2 p.m. Friday on Integris Field in Oklahoma City, Okla.
The Oklahoma State game will air on Fox College Sports and the Texas Tech game will stream only on FloSoftball.