By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Writer
No. 19 Baylor softball defeated No. 21 Arkansas 3-2 Thursday after a late comeback powered the team over the Razorbacks. Sophomore third baseman Lou Gilbert went 3/3 at the plate and scored the game-tying run in the top of the seventh.
Redshirt senior Gia Rodoni earned the start for the Lady Bears and pitched five innings of two-run ball. Rodoni’s only runs allowed came off a two-run shot launched in the bottom of the fourth. The senior also threw seven strikeouts with three hits allowed and no free bases.
After Nicky Dawson came out of the game early, Baylor was stuck with the lower production of junior outfielder Alyssa Avalos in the two-hole. Even with just one extra-base hit in her time at Baylor, Avalos notched her first career home run in the third inning with a solo shot over center field. The junior’s bomb was Baylor’s first run of the day, and the only one they would score until the seventh.
Rodoni’s damage came an inning and a half later as the Razorbacks took the lead with zero outs on the board. Junior outfielder Hannah McEwen singled her way up the middle, and junior infielder Braxton Burnside launched the second bomb of the day up and over left field to take the lead.
The Lady Bears went three up-three down the next two innings before a massive, ranking-saving seventh inning. Gilbert opened the inning with her third hit in as many at bats, and senior first baseman Goose McGlaun doubled to left center on the next batter to put runners in scoring position.
Senior catcher Taylor Ellis pinch hit for sophomore catcher Casey Shell, and she singled in her first RBI in the last five games to tie it up. The next batter, redshirt junior outfielder Madison Kettler, doubled over the center fielder’s head to score McGlaun, the go-ahead run. The Razorbacks brought in their third pitcher of the inning, and she cleaned up, but the damage was done.
Freshman Aliyah Pritchett was tapped to pitch in the sixth inning and made it through with minimal trouble. By the time she stepped onto the mound in the bottom of the seventh, the Lady Bears had the lead and the pressure was on her to perform. Pritchett forced two flyouts to deep center before allowing her first hit of the evening as junior catcher Kayla Greene singled up the middle. The freshman put out the fire on the next batter with her only strikeout on the day, pushing Baylor’s win streak to 13.
The Lady Bears will get back to work at 10 a.m. Friday against their highest-ranked opponent of the season thus far, No. 8 Florida State.