No. 18/16 Baylor softball (38-17) saw more postseason heroics, highlighted by a no-hitter by Gia Rodoni in a 6-0 win over McNeese (41-21) to punch BU’s ticket into the College Station Regional finals on Saturday evening at Davis Diamond.
The Lady Bears started the day with a 9-0 (5) run rule win over Prairie View A&M (20-23), with the Lady Bears pounding out 11 hits.
In game one, Regan Green (12-5) went the distance for the Lady Bears, spinning 5.0 innings of scoreless ball, allowing just five hits and totaling four strikeouts.
The BU offense got off to a hot start, loading the bases with no outs on a single for Kyla Walker, a hit by pitch for Nicky Dawson, and a single for Jessie Scroggins.
The first run came across on a sac fly RBI by Shelby Friudenberg, scoring Walker and moving Dawson to third.
A wild pitch allowed Dawson to come home on the next batter, giving BU the 2-0 lead after the first frame.
Adding on in the second, Hannah Smith got a two-out rally started, drawing a four-pitch walk. Walker would reach on a Panther error and Dawson added another four-pitch walk to load the bases.
A wild pitch allowed Smith to come home to score, pushing the BU led to 3-0 through the first two.
Back to work in the third, a walk for Goose McGlaun and single for Maddison Kettler set up for an RBI single for Madi O’Neal, plating McGlaun and extending the BU lead to four through the first three innings.
After chipping away with one or two runs in each of the first three innings, the BU offense finally hit its stride in the top of the fourth.
Nicky Dawson picked up a one-out single, driven around to score on an RBI double for Scroggins.
Friudenberg followed up with a single up the middle that allowed Scroggins to score from second, with Alyssa Avalos checking in to run at first.
Avalos stole second, putting a runner in scoring position, a key move for McGlaun’s at bat.
Goose took a jammed pitch inside and cut a double down the right field line, scoring Avalos.
With two outs, Madi O’Neal drew a full count walk, putting runners on the corners for Hannah Thompson.
The freshman continued an offensive tear in postseason, ripping a two-RBI double to left center that scored both McGlaun and O’Neal, pushing the Lady Bears over the mercy rule threshold.
Carrying a 9-0 lead into the home half of the fifth, Green worked a strikeout and two groundouts to finish off the run rule victory in the first of two elimination games of the day.
In game two, Gia Rodoni (23-11) worked her third-career postseason no-hitter, going all 7.0 innings with nine strikeouts and three walks.
The Lady Bears kept a hot bat, jumping out to another early lead in the opening inning.
Walker led things off with a single, advancing to second a wild pitch. Scroggins punched a single back up the middle, scoring Walker to give BU a 1-0 lead through the first frame.
BU was back in the third, with Dawson leading off with a walk. Scroggins roped an RBI double to left, scoring Dawson from first to push the BU lead up to 2-0 through three.
Taylor Ellis led off the fourth with a four-pitch walk, with Walker reaching on a fielder’s choice and Scroggins drawing a walk to load the bases. A fly out to left by Friudenberg led to an errant throw back to the infield, allowing Ellis to beat the tag home.
Carrying a 3-0 lead into the fifth, Kettler reached safely on an error to lead off the frame, moving to second on a wild pitch and third on a groundout.
Thompson missed out on a two-run bomb by a matter of inches, but her fly out to left field was deep enough to allow Kettler to score, moving BU to a 4-0 advantage through four.
Creating more separation in the late innings, Walker led off the top of the sixth, dropping a single in to right field.
A single for Scroggins moved Walker into scoring position, with Friudenberg following up with a single up the middle that scored Walker after a throwing error into the infield allowed Kyla to break for the plate on the throw.
A bases loaded sac fly RBI for Kettler scored Scroggins, icing a 6-0 advantage for Rodoni and the BU squad.
Down to the final three outs for the Cowgirl offense, Rodoni notched her ninth strikeout, forced an infield pop fly, and an easy grounder to first to close out the impressive effort for the Lady Bears.
Baylor improved to 47-29 all-time in NCAA Tournament play and 33-12 in the regional rounds of competition.
Baylor improved to 23-7 all-time vs. McNeese, including a 5-3 mark in neutral site games and 16-3 under head coach Glenn Moore.
Baylor moved to 9-0 all-time over Prairie View A&M, with all nine wins coming during Moore’s tenure.
Gia Rodoni threw her third-career no-hitter in NCAA postseason play, spanning her last three-straight starts in the postseason regional rounds. She had two in the Waco Regional in 2017 and one in her lone start of the 2018 NCAA tournament.
Rodoni’s no-hitter is the fourth of her career, all four assisted by a different catcher (Sydney Christensen, Taylor Ellis, Carlee Wallace, Hannah Thompson).
Baylor advances to the regional finals for the sixth-straight season.
Baylor will face No. 14 Texas A&M in the College Station Regional finals, with Baylor needing to win both games of a potential doubleheader to advance to the Super Regional round. Game one is slated for a 1:30 p.m. first pitch back on Sunday, May 20, at Davis Diamond. The if necessary game will follow approx. 30 minutes after the first game.