Shaylon Govan leads No. 13 Baylor softball to doubleheader sweep of Lamar

Junior utility Emily Hott (4) finished a combined 4-for-7 at the plate with one RBI across both contests on Tuesday. Kassidy Tsikitas | Photo Editor

By Michael Haag | Sports Editor, Claire Marie Scott | LTVN Sports Reporter

Junior first baseman Shaylon Govan proved why teams avoid pitching to her.

LTVN’s Claire Marie Scott brings in-depth analysis on the Bears sweep of Lamar

Govan, who went a combined 5-for-6 at the plate with two RBIs, led No. 13 Baylor softball’s offense past Lamar as part of a midweek doubleheader on Tuesday evening at Getterman Stadium.

The Bears totaled 19 hits and won the first game 5-1 before taking the nightcap 6-1.

Following a series loss to No. 7 Oklahoma State over the weekend, Govan mentioned how frustrating it is to not see hittable pitches. She’s been walked 17 times in 21 games — the fourth-most in the Big 12 — but she squared up pitches on Tuesday to bring her season batting average up to .500.

“It was just getting a pitch that I could see now, honestly, and just having all that preparation that I’ve been putting in and letting it go into play,” Govan said of her midweek performance.

Head coach Glenn Moore said he was most impressed with Govan’s ability to hit through Lamar’s shift when she was in the box. The Cardinals (15-9, 3-0 Southland) would load up the left side of the field, leaving the right side of the field vulnerable, and Govan still hit to the opposite field twice.

Moore said that’s more proof as to why Govan doesn’t get many pitches in the zone.

“I know exactly why [most teams] don’t pitch to her, nor would I often.”

Junior right-handed pitcher Kaci West (2-1) led Baylor in the circle in the first game, as she retired 20 of 23 batters across a career-high 6 ⅔ innings of work. Junior right-handed pitcher Ava Knoll took over for West in the top of the seventh, but West jumped back in to get the final two outs. Knoll allowed one earned run on three hits and only retired one batter in her ⅓ inning.

West said the defense behind her deserves all the credit for her outing. West only recorded two strikeouts, as she forced 13 groundouts and five flyouts.

“I had two strikeouts the whole game, so that was pure defense,” West said. “And they were making plays behind me, so just trusting them.”

The Bears’ (16-5, 1-2 Big 12) offense jumped on the Cardinals in the first game with five runs across the third (four) and fourth (one) innings. Five Baylor hitters recorded an RBI, led by multi-hit efforts from junior outfielder Taylor Strain (2-for-3) and Govan (2-for-2).

Lamar scratched its lone run across in the top of the seventh before West ended the remaining threat.

Both teams retook the field after a half-hour break, and the Bears opened the nightcap with quick offense as they loaded the bases with a leadoff walk and back-to-back singles. Junior utility Shannon Vivoda dug in and singled to right field, plating the first two runs of the second game.

Senior utility Aliyah Binford brought one more home on an RBI base hit, giving Baylor a 3-0 lead going into the second. The Bears tacked on two more in the second before the Cardinals responded with a run in the third to make it a 5-1 ball game.

That was all Lamar could muster offensively, as sophomore right-handed pitcher RyLee Crandall shut the door in the final two innings for the 6-1 victory. Crandall was named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week for her near-perfect game on Saturday against the Cowgirls.

Moore said he was pleased with how his team played in the doubleheader, especially since he was subbing a lot and letting plenty of women see the field. He also knew how much of a test the Cardinals, who had won 12 of 13 games entering Tuesday, were going to be.

Lamar is off to its best start to a season since the program was resurrected in 2013.

“This is one of the best Lamar teams I’ve seen in quite a while, knew that from watching film that they were going to be competitive,” Moore said. “So we certainly weren’t taking them lightly, and I’m very proud of the ones that haven’t played much, [with] how they performed today.”

Baylor continues conference play with a three-game set at Kansas, starting at 5 p.m. on Friday at Rock Chalk Park in Lawrence, Kan. All three contests can be streamed on ESPN+ or listened to on 101.3 FM radio.