Baylor softball’s RyLee Crandall shuts down No. 7 Cowgirls in No. 14 Bears’ 2-0 upset win

Sophomore right-handed pitcher RyLee Crandall and her defense silenced a Cowgirls lineup that has outscored its opponents 73-14 over its last 13 games. Kassidy Tsikitas | Photo Editor

By Michael Haag | Sports Editor

No. 14 Baylor softball sophomore right-handed pitcher RyLee Crandall is quick to credit her defense — even after pitching a complete-game one-hitter over No. 7 Oklahoma State’s powerful lineup.

Crandall (7-0) went the distance, as she totaled two strikeouts and no walks to lead the Bears to a 2-0 victory over the Cowgirls on Saturday afternoon at Getterman Stadium.

“I know I don’t have to pitch 21 strikeouts in order to win,” Crandall said. “The defense for sure is what keeps us in the game. I expect it, but I’m excited every single time because I know what they’re capable of doing.”

Crandall pitched an inning of relief in Baylor’s (14-4, 1-1 Big 12) conference-opening 4-1 loss to Oklahoma State (19-3, 1-1 Big 12) on Friday, and she allowed one earned run on two hits and a walk.

Bears head coach Glenn Moore thought she bounced back from that loss in a big way.

“She was phenomenal,” Moore said. “[We] challenged her a little bit after yesterday, and she came back, and she didn’t dominate with strikeouts, but she was hard to hit, hard to square up. And then we played great defense behind her.”

Baylor had its 12-game winning streak snapped by Oklahoma State on Friday, and the Bears turned around and snapped the Cowgirls’ 13-game winning streak on Saturday. Baylor’s win over OSU marked the first since a 2-1 victory on March 23, 2019, in Waco.

As good as Crandall was in the circle, the Bears still had to produce some offense to win. They had chances to get on the board in the second and fifth innings, but their best opportunity came in the bottom of the sixth.

Sophomore first baseman Shaylon Govan led off the side with a walk, and junior outfielder Caroline Rowatt came in as the pitch runner. Senior utility Sydney Collazos fouled out to first base on a bunt before senior outfielder Ana Watson singled to third base.

Rowatt advanced to third on Watson’s one-out base hit, and Watson proceeded to steal second. Sophomore utility Abi Flores then dug in and scratched a run across on a fielder’s choice. Then, Watson was plated on a fly out by junior utility Kaci West, giving Baylor a 2-0 lead going into the seventh.

The Bears were in a situation similar to the one they faced on Friday — needing just three outs to secure a victory. This time, though, Crandall shut the door by forcing three-straight groundouts.

Watson said she wasn’t surprised to see Crandall dominate in the circle. She added that the team is pumped with having a chance to win the series on Sunday.

“It would be amazing to come back tomorrow and take the series from them, but we have to stay focused and take it one pitch at a time,” Watson said. “Hopefully we’ll keep doing what we’re doing right now, and it will be fine.”

Moore said he hasn’t determined who will get the start in the circle on Sunday, and he admitted that “we don’t have a ton of options there right now.”

Senior utility Aliyah Binford got the start on Friday after pitching a complete game in Baylor’s 4-1 win over Penn State on Wednesday. Moore said Binford was nearly called on to close Saturday’s game after totaling 96 pitches on Friday.

Since Crandall only hurled 77 pitches on Saturday and since Moore didn’t need to pull Binford out of the pen, he said he thinks he has enough to work with for Sunday.

“I’m thankful we have a couple [of] options here,” Moore said. “And I think Kaci [West] looked pretty good when she went in [yesterday]; she had two strikeouts last night. So we’ll put our heads together, but [there’s] no decision right now.”

Baylor’s series finale with Oklahoma State is set for 1 p.m. on Sunday at Getterman Stadium. The game will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ and can be listened to on 101.3 FM radio.

Michael Haag is a third year Journalism student from Floresville, a small town about 30 miles south of San Antonio. Haag is entering his third year at the Lariat and is hoping to continue developing his sports reporting skill set. After graduation, he plans to work on a Master’s degree in Journalism in order to one day teach at the college level. He does, however, plan on becoming a sports reporter for a publication after grad school.