By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Writer
Baylor softball improved to 5-2 Friday with a 7-4 win over Prairie View A&M and a 10-2 win over Grand Canyon to start up the Getterman Classic. The Grand Canyon victory also launched head coach Glenn Moore into exclusive territory — the 900-win club.
Redshirt junior righty Sidney Holman-Mansell started off the day for the Lady Bears with five innings on the mound and four earned runs allowed. Holman-Mansell also struck out ten batters and walked three before she was relieved by redshirt senior righty Gia Rodoni. Rodoni finished off the matchup with a lead in hand, pitching two innings of hitless ball with four strikeouts.
Baylor did their damage early, knocking in five runs in the second inning to take a 5-1 lead. Sophomore outfielder Josie Bower began the onslaught with a two-RBI triple into right field, scoring sophomore third baseman Lou Gilbert and junior Alyssa Avalos. Sophomore Casey Shell singled into left to score Bower, and four batters later senior Taylor Ellis drove in two more runs with a double to center field.
The Panthers worked their way back into the game with runs in the third and fourth innings to bring the score to 5-3, but the Lady Bears knocked in two more for the final runs of the day thanks to extra-base hits from Gilbert and Bower. With two hits and three RBIs in the first game of the day, Moore said after the game that Bower’s effort after last spring is starting to show up.
“She’s been working extremely hard in the offseason,” Moore said. “[She] changed her swing mechanics, didn’t have the success in the fall that I think maybe she had hoped for, but she stayed consistent, tweaked a few things and just really kept her focus, and now we’re seeing a payoff.”
Freshman two-way player Aliyah Pritchett started the second game for Baylor and pitched five innings of two-run ball with one strikeout and eight baserunners. The two scores for Grand Canyon came in the second inning off a sacrifice fly and a triple, but Pritchett managed just four baserunners over the final three innings to seal the win.
Senior second baseman Nicky Dawson tripled in a run in the third inning to put Baylor on the board and the Lady Bears cranked out seven runs in the bottom of the fourth to take the commanding lead. Freshman shortstop Emily Hott reached on an error, bringing in two runs, Bower homered in three more and Pritchett singled in two more for the icing on the cake.
In the fifth, redshirt senior Kyla Walker doubled to left to score the ninth run of the evening and Dawson reached on a fielder’s choice to score Hott, the winning run. The Lady Bears would win thanks to a run-rule eight-score lead.
Immediately after the game, the Getterman Stadium video board lit up with a celebration video for Moore’s 900th win as the girls sprayed water up into the air over his head. The video was filled with former players and assistant coaches congratulating the coach on his achievement. After the festivities, Bower said the team had one goal heading into tonight’s matchup.
“A lot of us, you know, we realized … we were at 899 for Coach Moore, so a lot of us wanted to bring it home tonight,” Bower said. “It’s really special to be a part of a legacy like that. It means a lot, and obviously he’s built a really great program here at Baylor, so just to be a little splash in that legacy means a lot.”
Moore and his team will start on their journey to his 1,000th win with a matchup at 12:30 p.m. Saturday against Western Illinois, followed by the semifinal of the Getterman Classic later that evening. Both games will be streamed on ESPN+ through the ESPN app.