Softball cleans through LA Tech Invite

Sixth-year senior pitcher Gia Rodoni struck out a season-high nine batters against Louisiana Tech on Saturday. Baylor swept through its competition, picking up five wins in Louisiana against LA Tech, Tarleton State and UL Lafayette. Courtesy of Baylor Athletics

Baylor softball completed the Louisiana Tech Invitational unblemished on Sunday, beating hosts Louisiana Tech 3-2 and Tarleton State 2-0 en-route to a perfect 4-0 record in the tournament.

Senior centerfielder Nicky Dawson’s hot streak continued, as she hit 4-7 with an RBI and became Baylor’s all-time leader in career triples with 10. Pitching also led the way for the Bears in the double-header, as senior Gia Rodoni and freshman Aliyah Binford both delivered masterful performances.

Heroic defense and pitching propelled the Bears to a 5-1 win over Tarleton State and a 3-1 win over Louisiana Tech in day one of the tournament. Rodoni was her usual self, striking out a season-high nine batters against Louisiana Tech.

“Today we had two hard-fought victories,” Baylor head coach Glenn Moore said about the victories on Saturday. “We were challenged in different ways and still found ways to win. Each time you face these challenges and figure out how to win you grow stronger. Good defense and pitching were the constants that led to our success today.”

The victories on Saturday gave Baylor the necessary momentum to hold off Louisiana Tech on Sunday in a close affair. Baylor opened the scoring in the third inning, as a Lou Gilbert double knocked in a run. But Louisiana Tech quickly responded in the bottom of the third with an RBI double of their own, as Zoe Hicks knocked in third basemen Amanda Gonzalez tying the game at 1-1.

The fifth and sixth innings for the Bears were huge, as Dawson hit an RBI triple in the fifth to break the program record and junior right fielder Maddison Kettler hit a sac-fly to score senior first baseman Goose McGlaun in the sixth.

Louisiana Tech made things tense in the bottom of the seventh, after second baseman Carol Easom hit an RBI single to make the score 3-2 with a runner on third. However, Rodoni was perfect for the rest of the inning, getting the needed two outs in just two at-bats via a strikeout and ground out.

Binford followed Rodoni’s lead, as she put on a clinic against Tarleton State, striking out six batters and only allowing three hits as she cruised to her first career complete game. The Baylor bats had a hard time getting going against Tarleton State. Baylor knocked in both of their runs in the fourth inning, as junior catcher Hannah Thompson grounded out to first base, scoring pinch runner Alyssa Avalos, and freshman second baseman Emily Hott hit an RBI single to bring designated hitter Madison kettler.

With the two wins, Baylor completed its tour of Louisiana 5-0, with a sweep of both Louisiana Tech and Tarleton State. Moore was plenty pleased with the team’s performance over the road trip.

“Five wins in one road trip is a successful trip no matter how you felt you performed,” Moore said. “I like that we were challenged by several different pitching styles that forced our hitters to adjust during games and even at-bats. The highlight of the weekend was seeing Nicky break the triples record.”

Baylor softball’s road trip will continue, as the team will travel to Arizona to face off against No. 11 Arizona State on Thursday at 6 p.m.