By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Editor
Baylor softball opened its season Friday with an 8-0 win against No. 23 Auburn and a 7-4 win against Louisville. The Lady Bears start the 2020 campaign at 2-0 for the fifth time since 2011.
Baylor started off the day retiring nine of the first 10 Auburn batters before starting their offensive onslaught in the third inning. The Lady Bears posted five runs as senior first baseman Goose McGlaun started the scoring with a double, bringing in redshirt senior outfielder Kyla Walker for the run.
Sophomore third baseman Lou Gilbert, redshirt junior outfielder Madison Kettler, freshman outfielder Emily Hott and sophomore outfielder Ana Watson also notched RBIs in the third frame.
The Bears kept it going in the fourth as senior catcher Taylor Ellis singled in McGlaun for the outfielder’s second run of the day. In the fifth, McGlaun and Ellis each walked with the bases loaded to add two more runs and end the game with a run-rule win.
Redshirt senior pitcher Gia Rodoni pitched four shutout innings with two strikeouts, and sophomore pitcher Madison Lindsey relieved her in the fifth frame as she posted another scoreless inning and a strikeout. The Lady Bears’ defense shut out a ranked team to open the season for the first time in program history.
In the second game of the doubleheader, Baylor fell behind early as the Cardinals posted two unearned runs in the second inning. The Lady Bears followed up with a run of their own in the same slot with Ellis’ first homer of the season.
The Lady Bears let up another run, this time earned, in the top of the third, but they once again came to the plate hot in the bottom half of the inning. McGlaun notched her third RBI of the day on another walk, while Ellis earned her fourth with a single up the middle. Senior second baseman Nicky Dawson scored on account a Louisville error after freshman pitcher and shortstop Aliyah Pritchett reached on a fielders’ choice.
Louisville tied it up in the top of the fourth, but Baylor didn’t let them score again. Walker singled in two runs to jumpstart the offense in the bottom of the sixth and Ellis reached on an error, scoring the final blow for the Lady Bears.
Pritchett pitched 3.1 innings with one earned run, five strikeouts and two walks to open the game. Redshirt junior righty Sidney Holman-Mansell pitched 2.2 innings with one earned run and two strikeouts before Rodoni shut the game down in the top of the seventh with her fifth scoreless inning of the day.
Head coach Glenn Moore told Baylor Athletics after the doubleheader that the performance Friday was a breath of fresh air after the disappointment of last season, saying it also gives a hint of what’s to come this year.
“These wins were bigger than just two W’s in the win column,” Moore said. “These wins were a statement of our expectations. While we know one day will not define the season, we knew this tournament would give us the opportunity to earn respect back. We played well in every aspect of the game with few exceptions. Now we have to get even better because we will be tested again tomorrow and the rest of the season.”
Baylor will gear back up for another doubleheader Saturday as they face off with Missouri at 9 a.m. followed by an exhibition with the U.S. National Team at 2 p.m.The games will be streamed on the NFCA Youtube channel.