Baylor softball overcomes early deficit for 5th straight win

Sophomore center fielder McKenzie Wilson led the way offensively for Baylor softball against SFA Tuesday night at the SFA Softball Field. Wilson was a home run away from the cycle, going 3-3 in the box. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Michael Haag | Sports Writer

Baylor softball fought back against Stephen F. Austin State University in a 7-3 win Tuesday night at the SFA Softball Field. The Bears overcame a slow start and got the bats hot to keep the train rolling.

“We had a good productive day on the road,” head coach Glenn Moore said. “I was most pleased with how we refocused after the bad start.”

With the win over SFA (1-5), Baylor (5-0) is off to its best start since 2018, when the squad went 9-0 to open the season. All five wins this year have come on the road.

Offensively, sophomore center fielder McKenzie Wilson led the way as she was a home run away from the cycle, going 3-3 in the box. The team recorded nine hits on the night to keep their bats sizzling through five games.

“The stand out [tonight] was McKenzie Wilson going 3-3 with a double and a triple,” Moore said.

On the mound, the right-handed sophomore tandem of Dariana Orme and Aliyah Binford combined for eight strikeouts and only allowed one run after the first inning.

“The Orme-Binford combination is going to be a deadly one for lineups,” Moore said.

The Bears came out of the gates sluggish, allowing two runs in the bottom of the first inning to trail early. The first two innings saw Baylor connect on only two hits, singles by Wilson and sophomore catcher Zadie LaValley.

The third inning was owned by Orme with a 1-2-3 showcase. Her stout defense put the Bears in position to get hot offensively. Moore was pleased with the team for not putting themselves in too much of a hole which allowed for the shift in momentum.

“We minimized the damage and gave Dari[ana] a chance to get going,” Moore said.

Wilson opened the fourth inning with a double to left-center field. Binford then reached second on an SFA error which brought Wilson home to score. Binford scored shortly after to level the score at 2-2. In the bottom of the fourth, Orme again went three up, three down to put the Bears back at the plate.

The momentum turned up a notch in the fifth when Baylor scored three two-out runs. Wilson drove in a couple with a two-run triple that was shot down the left field line. She then trekked the final 60 feet to score off a single by sophomore right fielder Ana Watson to put the Bears ahead 5-2.

“Offensively, we are getting timely hitting and good momentum from our lineup,” Moore said.

In the bottom of the fifth, Binford made her way in the circle for her first relief of the season. She made sure there was no drop-off from what Orme dished out, as she struck out the ensuing three batters.

The Bears looked to post more runs in the top of sixth, but couldn’t generate anything off a leadoff triple from senior first baseman Kendall Cross. This was Cross’ first triple of her career and the second of two triples for the Bears in the game. To close the inning, Binford put the Lady Jacks away to send things to the seventh.

Wilson stayed hot to score in the top of the seventh and was accompanied by freshman pitcher Kaci West to increase Baylor’s lead to five runs. The Lady Jacks only scored once more which came in the bottom of the seventh, the Bears attaining the 7-3 victory.

Baylor will finally travel back to Waco for their home opening series against the University of Oregon. The Bears will play a double header against the Ducks (5-0), scheduled for Friday at 2:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. at Getterman Stadium followed by a third match on Saturday at noon. All contests can be viewed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+. Baylor is 5-4 all-time versus Oregon, the last match a 7-to-4 run success for the Ducks on Jun. 3, 2017.