Blazing Hot Start: Baylor softball begins season 8-2 after sweeping Getterman Classic, opener

Freshman pitcher/shortstop Aliyah Pritchett beats out sophomore third baseman Lou Gilbert with a diving catch on an infield hit during Baylor’s 8-3 victory over Prairie View A&M Sunday at Getterman Stadium. DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor

By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Writer

Baylor softball finished their four-day six-game weekend with six wins and a Getterman Classic championship in hand. Thanks to their hottest start in two years, sophomore third baseman Lou Gilbert said the Lady Bears head into the second half of their 13-game home stand with a raised confidence level.

Part of that confidence comes from the sheer number of players they can throw in at different positions. Senior Taylor Ellis played shortstop and catcher. Freshman Aliyah Pritchett played shortstop and pitched. Freshman Emily Hott played left field, shortstop and second base, a position she hadn’t practiced at all since joining the Lady Bears.

Hott was pushed into second base Sunday after senior second baseman Nicky Dawson was held out as a precaution after tweaking her leg earlier in the weekend. Head coach Glenn Moore said there was no doubt Hott would be able to handle the task.

“We simplified it a little bit so that she could play more relaxed and not have to worry about responsibilities as much and play her game,” Moore said. “We knew she could play it. She’s got all of the abilities to play it.”

That mixing around of the lineup and the fielders can also have negative effects on the team. Moore said the offense may have suffered over the weekend from moving people around too much.

“I handicapped them a little bit, moving people around and putting people in and out,” Moore said. “Rally Killer is what they call me. We get a kid going, and I sub for them. But right now is when you need to find out when you can do what, and you won’t have those options later on.”

A lack of offensive production doesn’t matter too much when the ace pitchers of the squad are pitching gems left and right. Redshirt senior righty Gia Rodoni, a nominee for the Baylor Lariat Sports Weekend Spotlight award for her performance in the Getterman Classic, said she is only more invigorated when the team’s offense isn’t producing.

“It definitely keeps me more focused,” Rodoni said. “Knowing that I have to keep it a close ballgame just keeps me hungry and reliant on my team that they’ll get me runs eventually.”

After her eight-inning, 16 strikeout performance Saturday, Moore said achievements like that don’t come around often, and it was good to take advantage of one this weekend.

“For her to finish a game and for us to win it in extra innings the way we did, you can’t script it much better,” Moore said. “You need those types of games and you need to find a way to win them, and we did.”