Softball splits pool play but advances to Big 12 Tournament championship game

Junior Regan Green pitches in a 10-2 win over McNeese State on April 10. Courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Nathan Keil | Sports Editor

Baylor softball split its pool play Friday at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament in Oklahoma City, Okla.

The Lady Bears opened with a superb performance, avenging their sweep earlier in the season with a 7-1 win over Oklahoma State. Baylor then faltered in its second game of the day, failing to hold on to a late lead in dropping a 6-5 game to Texas Tech.

All three teams on Baylor’s side of the bracket finished pool play 1-1, but the Lady Bears won the tiebreaker as they allowed the fewest runs of the three teams and therefore, advance to their first conference championship game in program history.

In the opener, junior Gia Rodoni was electric in the circle. Rodoni went the distance, allowing one run on six hits with one walk and nine strikeouts.

The Cowgirls one run came on a solo home run by W. Whitehorn to lead off the second inning.

Baylor wasted little time getting Rodoni some offensive support. The Lady Bears got three in the first and added two insurance runs apiece in the sixth and seventh innings.

In the first, senior outfielder Jessie Scroggins and junior outfielder Kyla Walker each singled to begin the game. Scroggins and Walker each advanced to second and third on a groundout.

Scroggins then scored on when senior catcher Carlee Wallace reached via a Cowgirl miscue in the field. Sophomore outfielder Maddison Kettler put Baylor up 3-0 with a two-out two-run single to left-center field.

In the sixth inning, sophomore second baseman Nicky Dawson delivered a one-out single. Two batters later, freshman designated player Hannah Thompson drilled a two-run shot to left, putting Baylor in front 5-1.

In the seventh, Scroggins led off the inning with a single. After Walker was retired, senior first baseman Shelby Friudenberg hit a two-run shot to left-center, giving the Lady Bears a 7-1 lead.

Oklahoma State tried to muster a comeback in the seventh inning. The Cowgirls led of the inning with back-to-back singles, but Rodoni then struck out the next two batters and then got Big 12 Player of the Year, V. Shippey to line out to Scroggins in center field to end the game.

Shippy was hitless in four at-bats against Rodoni.

In game two, Baylor led 2-0 and 5-4, but was unable to hold on to either lead as Texas Tech came through with two runs in the seventh to get the win.

Junior Regan Green got the start, allowing four runs on seven hits in three innings with two walks and three strikeouts.

Rodoni (22-10) then came in four the final four innings, allowing two runs on seven hits with four strikeouts, but took the loss.

Baylor took a 2-0 lead in the second inning thanks to an errant throw and some aggressive base running.

With one out in the inning, Dawson walked and then stole second. On the steal attempt, the throw was offline and went into centerfield, allowing Dawson to come around to score.

Kettler then singled and stole second, putting herself in scoring position. Thompson then delivered an RBI single, putting Baylor up 2-0.

Texas Tech responded with three runs in the third on a two-run double and a sacrifice fly.

Baylor tied the game at three on a fielder’s choice bunt from Wallace, allowing Walker to scamper home after she singled to open the inning.

Texas Tech loaded the bases with nobody out in the fourth and took a 4-3 lead when the Red Raiders hit into a double play, as Baylor conceded the run.

The Lady Bears came up empty in the fourth, but would regain the lead once more in the fifth.

Walker singled and stole second and scored on a Texas Tech error to the tie game at four. Dawson then delivered an RBI triple, scoring Wallace all the way from first as the Lady Bears went up 5-4.

But Baylor was unable to keep the lead, allowing three singles, a sacrifice bunt and committing a costly error as Texas Tech took the lead for good 6-5.

Baylor managed two runners in the seventh as both Friudenberg and Wallace walked, but Dawson was unable to come up with the tying hit.

Baylor (36-15, 12-6) will play Oklahoma at 4 p.m. Saturday. The game will air on FS2.