By Ben Everett | Sports Editor
Just before the season started, Baylor softball was hit with some bad news: senior pitcher Gia Rodoni would redshirt the 2019 season while recovering from knee surgery. Rodoni was a six-time Big 12 Pitcher of the Week in 2018 and led the league in strikeouts.
Without their ace, the team needed to find other pitchers to step up.
After going 4-2 in a six-game road trip to start the season, the preseason No. 16 Lady Bears came home to host the Getterman Classic.
On Friday, Baylor swept its two matchups, defeating Sam Houston State 7-0 before downing Southern Miss 3-1. In the two wins, the Lady Bears got some much-needed answers regarding their pitching rotation. Sophomore Sidney Holman got the start and allowed just one hit in six innings pitched. Junior reliever Regan Green closed out the seventh inning without allowing a hit to preserve the shutout. Holman said she was nervous about her first home start of the season, but it all came together.
“We all just worked together really well today, and I think it’s going to be a great season,” Holman said. “My adrenaline was definitely pumping, but it was a good game, and I had a good defense backing me up. So it really helped.”
Green, a transfer from Mississippi State, notched 12 wins and two saves last season in her first year as a Lady Bear. Head coach Glenn Moore said Green is a veteran pitcher who can provide a steady hand throughout the season.
“I sure have liked what [Green]’s done coming out of the pen,” Moore said. “One thing that she’s doing that the others aren’t is she’s working ahead in the count and throwing strikes and giving us a chance.”
Freshman pitcher Madison Lindsey got the start against Southern Miss, only allowing three hits in five innings pitched to give Baylor a 3-1 win.
After a reassuring Friday for the Lady Bears’ pitching staff, Saturday was a different story. Holman, Lindsey, Green and freshman Kassidy Krupit all struggled in two losses to UT-Arlington. Green pitched all seven innings in the 5-2 loss to the Mavericks. All four pitchers combined to give up 10 runs to UTA in the second game of the doubleheader.
After being in prime position to win the tournament, the Lady Bears found themselves playing in the consolation game on Sunday. Moore said the struggles with pitching will not be an easy fix.
“I think there’s a lot of adrenaline going this weekend and we didn’t play our best ball, pitch our best ball because of that,” Moore said. “I’m always disappointed when a pitcher comes in with a lead able to put things away and they throw balls. … We’re going to have to play musical chairs with our bullpen. They’re going to have to be ready and I think they are ready. We just have to find small victories right now with this team.”
Baylor recovered with a 4-3 win over Southern Miss to take third place in the Getterman Classic. Holman got the start, but Lindsey took home the win, giving up zero runs in 2.1 innings pitched. Moore said it is tough to turn around get a win after losing a doubleheader the previous day.
“You’re not going to make a 180-degree turn after a day like [Saturday],” Moore said. “I’ve rarely seen that. Every meeting they had [Sunday] morning they were early for. [Batting practice] they were 10 minutes early for. So that shows a little sign of leadership there and that’s what you need.”
Baylor’s pitchers will take the mound Friday for the Baylor Invitational at Getterman Stadium starting with a matchup against North Texas at 3 p.m.