By Will Chamblee | Sports Writer
Baylor softball started off its 11-game road trip with a bang, knocking off No. 13 Louisiana 8-1 in Lafayette, La., on Thursday night.
Senior center fielder and leadoff hitter Nicky Dawson led all hitters with four hits in five at-bats, extending her hitting streak to seven games, a team-high. Sophomore left fielder Lou Gilbert contributed three hits as well.
“Tonight we got a glimpse of how good we can be,” Baylor head coach Glenn Moore said. “After the first inning, Gia Rodoni could have beaten anyone. Our offense had a great balance of pressure and power. This was a good win.”
The Bears began the game well, as Dawson hit a leadoff single and then stole second base to put herself in scoring position. Sophomore designated player Josie Bower knocked Dawson in three at-bats later with a ground-out RBI.
Louisiana would answer in swift fashion in the bottom of the first. Ragin’ Cajuns second baseman Kaitlyn Alderink doubled to right-center field and subsequently scored off of a single to right field from cleanup hitter Julie Rawls, tying the game 1-1.
Aside from the blemish in the first inning, Baylor’s senior starting pitcher Gia Rodoni was brilliant, striking out four batters and pitching a complete game.
It didn’t take long for Baylor to reestablish a lead. Freshman second baseman Emily Hott led the second inning off with a single and none other than Dawson knocked her in with her second hit, giving Baylor a 2-1 lead.
Baylor finally put the game to bed with a monster fifth inning, scoring six runs off of six hits. Dawson led the inning off with a single to center field. The next at-bat, Gilbert doubled, scoring Dawson in the process.
The momentum continued with senior first baseman Goose McGlaun, who made it back-to-back doubles for the Bears and scored Gilbert from third. McGlaun would score on a wild pitch later in the inning to make Baylor’s lead 5-1.
Louisiana was forced to change pitchers after relief pitcher Casey Dixon wasn’t getting it done in the fifth inning. However, it didn’t change much for the Ragin’ Cajuns. Senior third baseman Taylor Ellis hit the Bears’ third double of the inning, scoring freshman shortstop Aliyah Binford and junior pinch runner Maddison Kettler.
Baylor’s lead was stretched to 8-1 after freshman catcher Zadie LaVelley hit a single to center field, driving in junior pinch runner Alyssa Avalos. Louisiana was finally able to get out of the inning after sophomore right fielder Ana Watson and Dawson struck-out in back-to-back at-bats.
With the win, Baylor softball procured its first road win over a ranked opponent this season and improved to 6-3. The Bears will stay in Louisiana for the Louisiana Tech Invitational in Ruston, La., where they will take on Tarleton State at noon and the home team at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.