By Michael Haag | Sports Editor
Even though freshman right-handed pitcher RyLee Crandall gave No. 21 Baylor softball five innings of runless action, head coach Glenn Moore said he knows she still has plenty of room for growth.
Crandall (4-0) only let up two hits, walked two and struck out eight batters in the Bears’ 8-0 run-rule victory against the University of Texas at Arlington Tuesday night at Getterman Stadium. The eight blow aways were Crandall’s second-most of the season, and she was just three shy of her career-high (11).
“She’s looking better every time she’s out there,” Moore said. “She’s growing a little bit. She’s a freshman and has freshmen moments, but she’s pushing through it. [She’s a] highly competitive player [that] doesn’t handle failure very well.”
Baylor (14-1) had another efficient hitting effort, as the team scored its eight runs on ten hits. UT Arlington (6-9) suffered eight walks, allowed four extra-base hits and let up six RBIs from the Bears’ offense.
Crandall said she doesn’t have to worry about hurling a stellar game since the Baylor bats will “always come in clutch.” Crandall has given up just one earned run in her four wins in the circle and said the team around her is a big part of that.
“It goes back to the trust of my catcher, trusting Coach [Britni] Newman and her pitch calls and trusting my defense and trusting that if I let runs score, then they’re going to have my back and score some more,” Crandall said.
Sophomore infielder Shaylon Govan led the way in the box with two RBIs on a 1-for-3 effort. Govan was named this week’s Big 12 Player of the Week after her dominant weekend in the Baylor Invitational.
Govan has amassed 31 RBIs, which leads the NCAA. She also leads the nation in RBIs per game with 2.07 per contest.
“She’s special,” Moore said. “I think she’s very capable. But the better she is and the more numbers she has on that white piece of paper, the less pitches she’ll see, and it’ll depend on how well we swing around her. Right now, the trend for [junior utility] Emily Hott in that position behind her is in a very good position. So, I think it depends on how much success she continues to have.”
Crandall gave up a leadoff single in the top of the first but struck out two batters and evaded further trouble. Baylor’s offense rolled around and wasted no time scratching a couple of runs across.
Junior outfielder McKenzie Wilson opened it up with a leadoff single before being advanced to second base on a groundout. Wilson stole third, and sophomore infielder Amber Toven was walked shortly after. Then came Govan, who smashed the ball into right center to plate both runners.
Neither team put up any offense in the second inning, but the Bears added two more with solo runs in both the third and fourth innings.
UTA’s freshman right-handed pitcher Tamya Waiters gave up a four spot on five walked batters in the fifth inning to result in the run-rule decision. The Mavericks’ junior right-handed pitcher Gracie Bumpurs (2-3) ended up taking the loss after allowing three earned runs on eight hits in 3.2 innings of work.
Baylor now hosts another weekend tournament in the Ode to Joy Invitational, which will run from Saturday through Sunday. The Bears open the slate against Texas A&M University at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Getterman Stadium. Sam Houston State University is the only other team in the field of play for the two-day event.
Moore said he hopes to see a big crowd for another jam-packed weekend of games.
“I just love our schedule,” Moore said. “We’re challenged every weekend. We’re seeing different things, and we have two teams coming in this weekend and we’ll play both of them twice. We’re going to see everything they have and they’re going to see everything we have. There’s going to be some great softball.
“I just really want the fans to know that we need their support. That’s probably the thing that we need to get. We want to earn their respect and their attendance so that we’re putting people in the seats so that we can have that momentum behind us.”