Softball falls to Texas State in return from COVID-19 break

Sydney Holman-Mansell pitches against grand Canyon during a March 12 game in Arizona. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Will Chamblee | Sports Writer

After a long break due to COVID-19 protocols, Baylor softball lost 7-5 to a talented Texas State team on Wednesday night. Faulty pitching from the bullpen doomed the Bears to their eighth loss of the season.

“When you’re playing a very good team, you need to play your best,” Baylor head coach Glenn Moore said. “It’s unrealistic to think that we could be at our best with a third of the team out for the last 10 days.”

The Bobcats went to work early, scoring three runs off of senior pitcher Gia Rodoni in the second inning. Singles from Kylie George and Piper Randolph put up three two-out runs giving Texas State the lead. The Bobcats would continue to hit well in the third, as Hailey Mackay hit her fourth home run of the season, knocking Rodoni out of the game and putting Texas State up 4-0.

Baylor would respond with a big third inning of their own. Junior right fielder Maddison Kettler drove in the first run with a single to left field which scored junior center fielder Hannah Smith. Freshman second baseman Emily Hott followed up with another single to left field which scored Kettler, bringing the Bears within two and loading the bases.

The inning wasn’t quite over yet for Texas State, as Baylor tacked on two more runs from a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded and a two-out single from freshman catcher Zadie LaValley that scored senior third baseman Taylor Ellis to tie the game 4-4.

Texas State answered with its second home run in as many innings, this time from Sara Vanderford. The solo shot gave the lead back to the Bobcats at 5-4. Pitching hijinks hurt the Bears once again when a wild pitch from junior Sidney Holman-Mansell scored a runner and extended Texas State’s lead to 6-4.

Baylor continued to show resilience and answered once again in the bottom of the fifth. LaValley hit a deep sac-fly to centerfield that scored Hott and put the Bears within one. But a third home run for Texas State off of the bat of Tara Oltman put Texas State up 7-5 and placed the game out of Baylor’s reach.

“We competed hard but made too many mistakes,” Moore said. “The positive is we got to play. Now we need to fix some things and become more competitive as we enter back into Big 12 play.”

Baylor moves to 21-8 on the season with the loss and will return to Big 12 play on Friday against Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla., where it will look to defend its perfect conference record in a weekend series.