Baylor University Press Release
By: Krista Pirtle
LAKE CHARLES, La. – No. 18 Baylor softball went 1-1 at the Cowgirl Classic on Sunday at Joe Miller Field in Lake Charles, La. After falling to No. 25 Arkansas, 7-2, the Lady Bears showed some grit as they topped the home team, McNeese State, 3-2, in extra innings.
Aliyah Binford led the way for Baylor at the plate with a 4-for-8 showing over both games. She also threw three innings of relief against the Cowgirls and picked up the win.
GAME 1 – ARKANSAS 7, BAYLOR 2
Whatever frustrations she had about going almost a year without playing softball, Taylor Ellis definitely took them out on the ball when she crushed a home run over the left center field wall in her first at-bat on Sunday. There was no doubt when it left her bat, marking the eighth homer of her career.
She scored Aliyah Binford who led off the frame with the first hit of the year for the Lady Bears. Binford finished the first game with a 2-for-3 showing at the plate with a pair of singles, marking her sixth career multi-hit game.
Baylor held a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the second, but Arkansas charged back with six runs in the frame to take the lead for good.
Sixth-year senior Gia Rodoni took the loss for BU as she gave up six runs off four hits with three strikeouts through 1.2 innings of work. Freshman Maren Judisch came on in relief and went 4.1 innings, giving up one run off one hit with four strikeouts and no walks.
GAME 2 – BAYLOR 3, MCNEESE STATE 2 (9)
For the second-straight game, the Lady Bears jumped out to an early lead in the second inning. Ana Watson led off the frame with a single before Josie Bower advanced her to third with a double, the fifth of her career. Zadie LaValley then reached off an error by the McNeese second baseman which allowed Watson to score and give the Lady Bears the lead.
The Cowgirls tied things up an inning later, and the game remained knotted until the top of the sixth inning.
Again, Watson was in scoring position, and LaValley reached on another error, this time by the first baseman, to allow Watson to score. McNeese State answered quickly with a squeeze bunt in the bottom of the frame.
The game went to extra innings, and the Lady Bears threatened in each frame before finally adding to the score in the top of the ninth. Binford laced a double out to left field, and Emily Hott reached on a fielder’s choice before she advanced to second when Binford was picked off trying to advance to third. That brought Watson to the plate who doubled to center field to score Hott and give Baylor the lead.
Sidney Holman-Mansell got the start in the circle for the Lady Bears and gave up one run off four hits with six strikeouts through five innings of work. Then Binford came on in relief and gave up a run off three hits with a strikeout. Binford gave up a leadoff single in the bottom of the ninth before Rodoni took over.
The senior forced a groundout to third before she caught the next Cowgirl batter looking. Then a groundout back to Rodoni ended the game and sealed the win for the Lady Bears.
- Taylor Ellis hit the eighth home run of her career.
- Gia Rodoni picked up the sixth save of her career. She’s now tied for No. 8 in program history.
- Aliyah Binford went 4-for-8 on the day and now has seven multi-hit games in her career.
- Binford moves to 8-0 in the circle in her career with the win on Sunday.
- Four different Lady Bears recorded a multi-hit game against McNeese State: Binford (7), Nicky Dawson (26), Ana Watson (12) and Josie Bower (3).
- A trio of Lady Bears made their Baylor debuts – Maren Judisch, Sydney Collazos and Zadie LaValley. Collazos and LaValley each started behind the plate.
- LaValley registered her first career hit in the eighth inning against McNeese State with a single to right field. She also threw out a runner trying to steal second.
- Judisch finished with four strikeouts in four innings of work against Arkansas.
STAT OF THE GAME
348 – Number of days it had been since Baylor’s last game (March 10, 2020 at Houston).