Softball splits doubleheader with Oregon

Sophomore utility Emily Hott helped Baylor softball take the first of two games in their doubleheader with No. 12 University of Oregon on Feb. 18 at Getterman Stadium. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Joe Pratt | Broadcast Reporter

Baylor softball (6-1) split its doubleheader against No. 12 University if Oregon (7-1) Friday afternoon at Getterman Stadium. The Bears took the game one 3-0, while the Ducks responded with a 8-4 win in the second contest.

“I couldn’t be happier,” head coach Glenn Moore said. “I feel confident throughout our lineup, and even with a couple on the bench, that we can get quality at-bats and production out of them.”

The first match of the day was all Baylor. Boosted by sophomore outfielder Ana Watson, the Bears brought three runners across the plate in the bottom of the third. Sophomore outfielder McKenzie Wilson scored on a groundball to short which ended up being the difference in the game. Wilson then added to the lead with an RBI single to center, and sophomore pitcher/infielder Aliyah Binford came across the plate on a steal to give Baylor the upper hand.

“I think we were very aggressive at the plate and with this new team,” Watson said. “It’s very exciting to see that kind of outcome.”

Sophomore pitcher Dariana Orme pitched a complete game shutout, the sophomore allowed just four hits while striking out six. The three tallies in the third were enough for Moore’s team to secure the first game.

“I did have a lot of my stuff, it was on,” Orme said. “But when I would get a ground ball or a problem, my team just came on and did what they were supposed to do. So that just kept me going and allowed me to throw strikes.”

The second game began shortly after the conclusion of the first. Binford got the nod in game two, delivering over five innings in the circle.

“Aliyah with her off-speed is a very great combination and playing behind that,” Watson said. “[She] has confidence in the circle and that’s what matters.”

In the top of the third of game two, Binford worked herself into a jam. After loading the bases, the sophomore retired the next two batters to keep the score at zero. However, Oregon’s junior utility Vallery Wong worked her at-bat to a full count, where she grounded the ball sharply to third base where sophomore catcher Sydney Collazos couldn’t secure the tag, making it a 1-0 lead for the Ducks. The inning concluded with Binford’s fourth strikeout of the game.

The fourth inning began with Collazos’ hard-hit single. Binford then came to the plate and smoked a ball into deep right-center, out of the reach of Oregon’s sophomore utility Hanna Delgado. However, a baserunning error by Collazos halted the Bears’ rally as she was late to second, and the Ducks retired the next two batters in order.

“We’re moving some players around, so you’re gonna see some mistakes,” Moore said, “They’re really correctable things, we were just over aggressive.”

The Bears scored their first run of the game in the fifth when senior outfielder Rhein Trochim slid home on a wild pitch. In the top of the sixth, the Ducks pulled away after a three-run homer from Oregon’s freshman infielder Paige Sinicki, extending their lead 6-1. Junior pitcher Rachel Hertenberger replaced Binford after her five and a third innings of work, allowing six runs on six hit in a 109-pitch effort.

“Give a big shout out to Aliyah, [she] was phenomenal,” Moore said. “If we played better defense, she would have been fine. It was not Aliyah that cost that game and she continued to keep her composure. She didn’t transfer the blame, she just kept pitching, I’m really proud of what she did.”

Oregon added two more in the seventh. Baylor battled back in the final inning, racking up five more hits and three more runs. But despite comeback efforts, the Ducks held on to the lead for a final score of 8-4.

“You saw it in the first and second game at the end there, in the last inning,” Watson said. “We put some balls in play that were tough, but I think we’re going to keep going if we keep scrapping, keep pushing the ball deep, having great at bats and things are going to be fine.”

The Bears and Ducks are set for a noon start on Saturday at Getterman Stadium to decide the winner of the three-game series.