By Michael Haag | Sports Editor
Baylor softball head coach Glenn Moore has been with the program for 23 years, and even he hasn’t seen a seven-inning perfect game. Junior right-handed pitcher Dariana Orme threw a career-high 10 strikeouts and pitched seven perfect innings as the Bears scooted past Stephen F. Austin State University 3-0 Friday evening at Getterman Stadium as part of the Getterman Classic.
No runs, no hits and no walks were allowed from the Fresno State University transfer.
Orme, who missed the entire fall due to a right arm injury and nerve damage to her ribs, said she could hardly believe she’s the first Baylor (5-1) player to achieve the feat.
“During the sixth inning, I was like, ‘Dang, this game is flying by really fast. What is going on?’” Orme said. “And I made the mistake of looking at the board. I was like, ‘Is this real?’”
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Kaci West tossed a perfect game in five innings last season in a win over Prairie View A&M University, but Orme was the first to do it in a full game.
“The key was that she kept her pitch count down,” Moore said. “She was somewhere around 10-pitch innings the entire game. She was struggling a little bit, going deep in the count. But she didn’t lose them. That’s typical of her. By the middle of the game, she was missing bats, so we knew the ball was moving pretty good.”
Moore also said it’s hard to fathom that Orme actually did it since softball has evolved into a more offensive sport.
“It’s pretty amazing when you think about some of the good arms we’ve had in here — Heather Stearns, Whitney Canion, Lisa Ferguson, Kelsee Selman,” Moore said. “That just tells you how difficult it is to do that, especially in this day and age.”
Orme, a 2022 All-Big 12 second-team selection, received assistance from her offense when junior outfielder McKenzie Wilson scored on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first inning, courtesy of sophomore infielder Shaylon Govan.
Wilson finished the day 3-for-4 with one run and one RBI.
The Bears’ offense picked back up in the fourth, as junior catcher Sydney Collazos blasted a solo home run down the left field line. It marked Collazos’ third homer of her career. Sophomore infielder Taylor Strain singled up the middle on the next at-bat before Wilson plated her thanks to a triple.
Leading 3-0, that was all the offense Baylor needed, as Orme retired 21 batters on just 81 pitches. Orme struck out the side twice on Friday, in the third and sixth innings.
Strain and sophomore infielder Amber Toven came up with the final two outs, and neither was an easy play. Strain sprinted in from left field to make a nifty catch off a Ladyjacks (5-4) blooper. With one out remaining, Strain made a tough play at shortstop to get it in Govan’s glove at first base.
The entire dugout flooded Orme at the mound, and the celebration commenced.
“We have an amazing defense,” Orme said. “I think the play that Amber made at the end just shows you where we’re headed with this team and the defense that we have. That’s what you’re looking at. Baylor softball is on the come up, so just wait on it.”
Collazos said Orme isn’t the type of player to make it known when she’s hurting. Collazos added that Orme’s speed in the circle helps her be able to pick hitters apart.
“It helps that she throws gas, and she was zoned in from the jump,” Collazos said. “She knew that she was going to come out with a fire under her butt, and she took that fire and ran with it. And I was just glad to be there catching them for her.”
The Bears will pick it back up with a game against Longwood University at 3 p.m. on Saturday at Getterman Stadium. Baylor has three games remaining as part of the Getterman Classic that runs through Sunday.