West pitches perfect game; Softball sweeps doubleheader with Prairie View A&M

Freshman pitcher Kaci West pitched the first perfect game in program history against Prairie View A&M on March 1 at Getterman Stadium. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Joe Pratt | Broadcast Reporter

Baylor softball was victorious in both games of its midweek doubleheader on Tuesday. Coming off of a 2-2 weekend in Palm Springs, Calif., at the Mary Nutter Invitational, the Bears (10-5) returned to Getterman Stadium to take on Prairie View A&M (0-13). The game one only required five innings in a 9-0 blowout victory, while game two took all seven in a close 3-2 final.

Freshman pitcher Kaci West was in the circle for game one, shutting down Panthers’ batters in a perfect outing. It was the first perfect game in program history, as West pitched all five innings, striking out five, and the defense handled the other ten outs.

“Honestly, I am speechless about it actually. It’s awesome,” West said. “Funny story about that, I was sitting there joking with our athletic trainer before, and I felt good at warmups, and I said, ‘You know, I’m going to go out there and throw a perfect game,’ not knowing that it was actually going to happen.”

A scorching hot start from the Bears gave them a four-run cushion after one. Sophomore utility player Emily Hott came around the bases after defensive miscues by the Panthers’ infielders, followed by a RBI single from sophomore outfielder McKenzie Wilson. Sophomore catcher Sydney Collazos drove in Wilson, and more fielding errors from Prairie View let an additional two runs come across the plate.

“I really have said all year that our bench is going to be pretty deep offensively,” head coach Glenn Moore said. “We’ve just got to find the right combination defensively to be as successful as we can be, and that’s what we’re still trying to do.”

Collazos and Wilson each drove a run in during the second inning for their second RBIs of the game, increasing the lead to 6-0. The Bears added three more in the fourth with help from freshman outfielder Taylor Strain, who finished the game one for three with three RBIs.

West silenced Prairie View A&M’s last three batters to complete her immaculate performance.

“A lot of credit goes to her, of course, and I certainly am proud of her for the fact that she made history tonight. No one deserves it any more than Kaci West,” Moore said. “If it’s a perfect game with all strikeouts, then she gets all the credit, but we had a defense that played really well behind her and she would be the first to acknowledge that. Pitch calling came from Coach (Britni) Newman, I had very little to do with that perfect game. I’m very proud of the team and I’m very proud of Kaci for getting to make history tonight.”

Game two proved to be a tougher test for Baylor. Despite comeback efforts from the Panthers, the Bears held on to grab its second of the day 3-2.

Prairie View scored its first run of the day in the top of the fourth by way of an RBI single. The Panthers still had two runners in scoring position, but sophomore pitcher Maren Judisch retired the next two to limit the damage to just one run.

Strain drove in her fourth runner of the day with an infield single which proved to be the difference in the game.

The Panthers responded with one run the next inning. After scoring one, Prairie View A&M had a runner on second with no outs. But Glenn Moore brought in junior pitcher Rachel Hertenberger, who struck a batter out and forced a double play to end the inning.

Prairie View A&M batters went three up, three down in the seventh to secure the second win of the day for the Bears.

“I just want to prepare for the Big 12, that’s what non-conference does is it prepares you for a very strong Power Five conference in the Big 12,” Moore said. “You have to come to play every day in a conference like ours, so we’ve got to grow a very young team up and that’s our challenge is to get better every time we come out on the field. We’re going to make some mistakes and try not to make the same mistakes over again.”

Next, Baylor is set for a Saturday doubleheader with Texas A&M Corpus Christi, with games beginning at 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. at Getterman Stadium.