Softball splits doubleheader on opening day of Puerto Vallarta Challenge

Baylor junior infielder Nicky Dawson swings at a pitch on March 20, 2018 at Getterman Stadium. The Lady Bears defeated No. 9 South Carolina 4-1 before losing to BYU 4-3 in the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Lariat File Photo

By DJ Ramirez | Sports Writer

The Baylor softball team opened its trip to the Puerto Vallarta Challenge with a 4-1 win against No. 9 South Carolina. They dropped game two of the opening day doubleheader to Brigham Young University 4-3.

South Carolina loaded the bases with Lady Bears with three straight walks to begin the first inning of game one. Junior infielder Nicky Dawson scored the first run when freshman third baseman Kassidy Krupit walked. Junior shortstop Taylor Ellis hit a sacrifice fly to bring in freshman center fielder Lou Gilbert.

Baylor extended its lead with two more runs in the fourth inning. Junior right fielder Maddison Kettler singled to start off the inning and was then brought in by sophomore left fielder Hannah Smith on a bunt. Smith then proceeded to reach third base on an error by South Carolina’s third baseman Jana Johns. Freshman designated hitter Ana Watson then drove in Smith with an RBI single.

Sophomore right-handed pitcher Sydney Holman got the win in the first game after pitching five innings and allowing only one run. Freshman left-handed pitcher Madison Lindsey took over for Holman in the bottom of the sixth and struck out two of the eight she faced to close out the game.

The win over South Carolina marked the first season opening win over a Top 20 team for the Lady Bears.

The Lady Bears then faced BYU, striking first once more. Junior utility player Goose McGlaun brought in Dawson with a sacrifice fly for an unearned run. The Cougars tied it at one in the bottom of the first and got ahead with three runs in the second.

Dawson and Ellis cut BYU’s lead to one in the fifth inning off a two-RBI single by sophomore designated hitter Hannah Thompson. Ellis had walked to start off the inning and then proceeded to steal second. Dawson singled up the middle to get on base. Gilbert grounded out to bring Thompson to the plate.

The Lady Bears were close to tying the Cougars in the seventh inning but could not bring in the run.

Ellis began the inning with a ground out to third. BYU went through a pitching change after a double by Dawson to left field. Gilbert then singled to through the left side and McGlaun walked to load the bases. Thompson fouled out to the catcher for out number two and then Krupit flied out to the second base to end the game.

Senior pitcher Regan Green took the loss against the Cougars, pitching 3.1 innings and striking out four but allowing seven hits. Lindsey took over in the fourth and did not allow any more hits from the Cougars but walked five of the 13 batters she faced.

Baylor will continue the Puerto Vallarta Challenge in a game against North Carolina at 3 p.m. on Friday and will end the tournament with a double header against Liberty University and No. 5-ranked Washington on Sunday.