Softball takes series against McNeese State

Sophomore Aliyah Binford pitched six no-hit innings in the final matchup between Baylor and McNeese to help the Bears take the series. Photo courtesy Baylor Athletics

By Joe Pratt | Broadcast Reporter

Baylor softball took two of three in its series with McNeese State on Friday and Saturday. The three-game slate started on Friday night when the Bears took down the Cowgirls 5-2 at Getterman Stadium. Head coach Glenn Moore touched on his team’s ability to cash in on McNeese’s errors.

“I’m very pleased with the overall play today. The difference in this game was that we were able to capitalize on a few mistakes. We’ve been on [the] other side of games like this several times this year.”

Sophomore outfielder Ana Watson lifted the Bears to their 14th win of the season. Sophomore pitcher Dariana Orme won her fifth of the year after going the distance and allowing one earned run along the way.

“I think we’re getting better every game,” Moore said, “We’re showing signs of being more confident and we still have infielders that weren’t here today that will be in most of our lineups that will solidify it even more.”

Game two began noon Saturday in a hard-fought 5-4 win for the Cowgirls. After giving up one in the top of the first, Baylor responded with a 4-run rally including an Aliyah Binford RBI-double. The sophomore infielder ended up coming around to score on a Watson groundball which couldn’t be fielded by the McNeese infield.

“You come out here with a series win and we’ve been through some adversity with this team, and to overcome that [and] to get the series win I think I’m pretty happy with the way the kids competed,” Moore said.

Freshman pitcher Kaci West was handed her first loss of the year. West struggled out of the gates and was removed from the game after 4.1 innings of effort, allowing three earned runs off of three hits. Zero Cowgirls were sat down by way of a West strikeout, but her earned run average remained a steady 2.33.

“We recruited her [as] more of a hitter and a defensive player than a pitcher,” Moore said. “We thought she would work into a three [or] four type of pitcher for us and that’s probably where she is right now, but she’s certainly showing potential to be a pitcher that we would throw against a good team.”

The Bears maintained the three-run lead until the top of the fifth when the Cowgirls added four of their own. With runners on the corners, McNeese’s senior outfielder Toni Perrin knocked a double into the gap making it a 5-4 Cowgirls advantage. The Bears strung together a base hit and a walk in the bottom of the seventh but failed to match McNeese’s mark.

“I told the team, ‘Yeah, it’s always disappointing when you lose and I hope it always is disappointing, but out of respect for the game, you’ve got to understand that these teams have good players too, and they’re going to come to play, they expect to win,’” Moore said.

Binford came in relief for West in the first contest of the doubleheader, and was then in the circle for all seven innings of game two. In the series finale, Binford pitched six no-hit innings until allowing a single before retiring the next three to secure the series win.

“I’m exhausted and I didn’t expect to come in this third game,” Binford said, “It was kind of interesting going into the first game seeing what they can and cannot hit … it was enough to show me like ‘Okay, I’ve got them on their toes.’”

Binfiord didn’t just outperform on the mound, she also blasted a two-run homer in the bottom of the first, and scored a run in the sixth after Watson’s double. Binford finished three for three from the plate and struck out six from the mound.

“I thought we would get about four or five innings out of her, but she was cruising pretty good,” Moore said. “She’s got her swinging with that as well, so when you have her doing all those things, [and] playing on defense, you’ve got to watch her closely but I thought her stamina was good.”

The Bears (15-10) continue their homestand on Tuesday. Tarleton State University (17-8) comes to Getterman stadium for another doubleheader at 5 p.m. CT and 7:30 p.m. CT.