No. 18/16 Baylor softball (36-16, 12-6 Big 12) dug an early hole that was too much to overcome, dropping game one, 11-10, to McNeese (40-19, 18-9 Southland) on Friday afternoon at Davis Diamond to open play in the NCAA College Station Regional.
Regan Green (11-5) made the start in the circle but was chased before the end of the first inning, surrendering six hits and five runs.
Gia Rodoni finished the first and closed the next six innings out for BU, allowing six runs, only four earned, on seven hits with five strikeouts and three walks.
McNeese came out firing on all cylinders, busting out to an 8-0 lead after three.
The Lady Bears rallied, finally breaking through with four runs in the home half of the fourth.
Nicky Dawson led off the frame with a single to right, the first hit of the ballgame for the Lady Bears.
Jessie Scroggins singled to right, with Shelby Friudenberg driving a single down the left field line to give BU its first run of the ballgame.
A walk for Goose McGlaun loaded the bases, with Hannah Smith checking on to run for Friudenberg. Maddison Kettler driving a sac fly to right that scored Scroggins.
A fielder’s choice bunt to the pitcher by Madi O’Neal loaded the bases back, with Hannah Thompson driving in a run on an infield error by the Cowgirls.
Taylor Ellis closed out the four-run inning for the Lady Bears with a sac fly to center, scoring McGlaun and cutting the McNeese lead to 8-4 after four.
McNeese took back two runs in the top of the sixth, pushing the Cowgirl lead back to 10-4 heading into the home half of the frame.
Rallying with two outs, Madi O’Neal legged out a bunt single to the pitcher to put a runner on for Hannah Thompson.
The freshman came up clutch for the Lady Bears, pounding a two-run shot over left center to steal the two runs back.
Taylor Ellis kept the rally going, singling to short, with Kyla Walker reaching on an error.
A double to right center for Nicky Dawson plated two runs, keeping a runner in scoring position for Jessie Scroggins.
Scroggins singled up the middle to score Dawson, putting BU to within one run of the Cowgirls, trailing 10-9 after six.
McNeese added a dagger, two-out run in the seventh, pushing the lead back to two.
Trailing 11-9 down to the last three outs, McGlaun led off with a single, with O’Neal lacing a single up the middle.
With two outs, Ellis roped a single into right field, scoring McGlaun and moving O’Neal to third.
Trying to force a rundown on the base paths with Walker back at the plate, Ellis was caught in a rundown between first and second before O’Neal could break for home, ending the game a run short of the epic comeback.