By Joe Pratt | Broadcast Reporter
Baylor softball won a pair of games against Sam Houston State on Friday and Saturday at Getterman Stadium. The Bears (22-18, 2-7 Big 12) held the Bearkats (11-33, 4-11 SLC) to just one run on the weekend, taking the two-game series with scores of 3-1 and 7-0.
Sophomore pitcher Dariana Orme started Friday’s matchup with three strikeouts in the first. Orme went five and a third innings, allowing just three hits and one run. Freshman pitcher Kaci West earned her first career save with one and two-thirds innings of relief, giving up no hits and striking out two.
The Bears scored all three of their runs in the first inning which ended up being enough to hold off the Bearkats. Sophomore outfielder McKenzie Wilson walked and stole second as the leadoff batter. Sophomore utility player Emily Hott singled to left, putting runners on the corners for junior outfielder Josie Bower who loaded the bases with a walk. west, batting in the clutch, doubled to right-center to clear the bases.
Sam Houston earned its one run in the top of the second on an infield hit. The Bearkats’ sophomore pitcher Mika Vento pitched all six innings and was responsible for the three runs given up on eight hits. The Orme-West duo held the Bearkats to just three hits on the day.
“This was a very well-played game on both sides, we knew they were better than their record because of all the close games they’ve lost,” head coach Glenn Moore said. “Vento was tough tonight and really pitched a great game not allowing us to put hits together, but we have some hitters starting to show up who have been struggling, so I hope that’s a sign we are about to get things back on track.”
Saturday featured two more excellent pitching performances for the Bears. Sophomores Aliyah Binford and Maren Judisch jointly shutout the Bearkats and gave up just one hit. Binford pitched five innings and Judisch relieved for two clean innings. Moore was impressed with Binford’s performance throwing as well as in the batter’s box.
“She kept them off balance, that’s what she’s good at,” Moore said. “She was outstanding in the circle, and also has been a little frustrated offensively, [and] she came out with that today as well.”
The offense exploded in the third inning for seven runs, but Baylor got on the board in the first for the second game in a row. Bower brought home Wilson on a single to right. Hott started the Bears’ rally in the third with a 2-RBI triple. Hott then scored on Bower’s second RBI-single of the game. West made the game 5-0 with an RBI-single of her own, and junior utility Campbell Selman knocked a 2-RBI double to top off the score at 7-0.
“It’s nice to step out of the conference and see pitching that might allow you a little more success, build your confidence back up,” Moore said. “I was afraid that we’re losing confidence a little bit after being shut down by a couple of pitchers. So maybe today hopefully that jumpstarts us back into being an offensive team.”
The defense shined throughout the weekend, boosted by key double-plays in the infield. The final out of game two came off of a play at the plate after a base-hit to left. Freshman outfielder Caroline Rowatt fielded the hit and sent it to Binford at third who fired a strike to junior catcher Katie Ellington as the game-winning twenty-first out.
“You’re down seven runs, you don’t expect the runners to be going so they really could have been caught off guard the fact that they played through that, played that out,” Moore said. “I’m really happy that they didn’t just give up on those points.”
Moore and his squad hopes to build momentum going into their midweek matchup at UT Arlington on Tuesday, followed by another important Big 12 three-game home series with Texas Tech University.