By DJ Ramirez | Sports Writer
Baylor softball wrapped up the Puerto Vallarta Challenge with wins over North Carolina and Liberty, although the team took a loss to No. 3 Washington in the final game. The Lady Bears had a win against No. 9 South Carolina and a loss to Brigham Young University on Thursday to end the tournament with a 3-2 record.
On Friday afternoon, the Lady Bears overcame a 9-6 deficit to win 10-9 in extra innings against North Carolina. The game marked the longest Baylor softball game since April 2017.
The Tar Heels struck first with an RBI single down the right field line followed by an RBI double to center. Baylor responded with four runs in the bottom of the second. Sophomore utility player Hannah Smith put the Lady Bears on the board with an RBI double to right field. Freshman catcher Tyler Trott brought in Smith and junior outfielder Maddison Kettler for two more runs. Sophomore second baseman Nicky Dawson then grounded out to shortstop for an RBI to score sophomore outfielder Madi O’Neal who was pinch running for Trott.
North Carolina reclaimed the lead with three runs in the third. The Lady Bears scored another run in the fifth to tie the game at five. After a scoreless sixth and seventh, each team opened extra inning play with a runner on second, per the international tiebreaker rule.
The Tar Heels took advantage and took a one-run lead. Baylor tied it once more in the bottom of the eight with a sacrifice bunt by Trott to score Kettler. North Carolina responded in the ninth with three runs to make the score 9-6.
The Lady Bears fought their way back to tie it at nine on RBIs by freshman outfielder Lou Gilbert, junior first baseman Goose McGlaun and freshman pinch hitter Hannah Thompson.
Sophomore pitcher Sydney Holman kept the Tar Heels scoreless in the 10th with two strikeouts and a line out to second base. Dawson then hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th with the bases loaded to bring in Kettler for the win.
Head coach Glenn Moore said in an interview with Baylor Athletics that even though the team fell into the deficit early, he was proud of how they fought their way back.
“While I wasn’t happy with our approach to that game, which led to the early deficit, I was very happy to see the fight and determination to get back up after being knocked down and win it,” Moore said.
Baylor had the day off on Saturday and returned Sunday to face Liberty and No. 3 Washington.
The Lady Bears defeated Liberty 6-1 to open the doubleheader. Baylor scored five runs in the top of the second inning. Smith struck first once again to score freshman third baseman Kassidy Krupit. Freshman designated hitter Josie Bower brought Smith in with a single to left center. Junior shortstop Taylor Ellis singled to put runners on first and second after which Bower scored on an RBI single by Dawson. Gilbert was walked to load the bases. Dawson and Ellis then scored unearned off a fielder’s choice hit by McGlaun and a fielding error by Liberty shortstop Sarah Robertson.
Krupit sealed the win with a home run over right center in the seventh inning.
The Lady Bears then fell to the Huskies 8-2 to close off the tournament.
Washington got on the board first in the top of the second inning and then added two more runs in the fourth.
Baylor cut the lead to one in the fifth when Smith doubled to score O’Neal. Dawson then grounded out to the shortstop to bring in Kettler.
The Huskies responded with three runs in the sixth and two in the seventh to extend their lead 8-2.
The Lady Bears plated two in the bottom of the seventh but were unable to cash in any runs.
Baylor will face the University of Texas-San Antonio on Wednesday before returning to Waco on Friday for the Getterman Classic.