WACO, Texas – No. 20 Baylor softball (23-6) picked up its first home series sweep of the season, downing the UCF Knights (21-13), 3-0.
Heather Stearns (11-2) continued on her hot streak in the circle, allowing no runs and just two hits, while striking out five over 5.2 innings of work.
Gia Rodoni made her first appearance in a Baylor uniform, going 1.1 innings and striking out two to pick up her first collegiate save.
UCF’s All-American pitcher, Shelby Turnier, was locked into a pitcher’s duel with Stearns, with neither side allowing virtually any offense through the top of the fifth inning.
In the bottom of the frame, the Baylor batters finally broke through, with Jessie Scroggins roping a double into left field.
A sac bunt by Ari Hawkins pushed Scroggins to third with two outs.
Back-to-back walks by Turnier to Shelby Friudenberg and Linsey Hays loaded the bases, bringing up Sarah Smith.
The Baylor program record-holder in the hit-by-pitch category came through again, picking up her 32nd career HBP to score Scroggins for the go-ahead run.
Lindsey Cargill added the insurance runs, driving a single up the middle to score both Friudenberg and Hays to give BU the 3-0 lead, standing as the final score.
On UCF’s Shelby Turnier…
“She (Shelby Turnier) was a tough pitcher. We stayed in the box fighting every pitch, every pitch. We pulled together some hits and we scored. She worked us in and out. She give us different pitches every time and she doesn’t just do the same pitch every time. That really got us, but we ended up getting the sweep.”
On sweeping UCF before conference play…
“It is a very good sign. Getting a sweep at home, Coach Moore has been emphasizing getting one at home. It is very exciting heading into Big 12.”
On what she can bring to the pitching staff…
“I feel that I am very mentally tough, in the pitching aspect. I feel like I have control when I go to the mound and I am very confident. Today, we threw a lot of turn and screw balls. That’s what we stayed with to just get myself comfortable in that circle and it was working.”
Baylor Head Coach Glenn Moore
On the UCF pitching staff…
“We saw good pitching this weekend. That pitching has not been as consistent this year, as they were last year as a pitching staff, but they are certainly capable. You look at the batting average against and not a lot of people have hit them hard.”
On the pitcher’s duel…
“We missed some opportunities early in the game and we couldn’t get bunts down, move runners over, and, with the bases loaded, left people on base. We couldn’t take advantage of it and you’ve got to take advantage over a good pitcher like that.”
STAT OF THE DAY #1
0.00 – the Baylor pitching staff’s ERA over the three-game series with UCF, allowing just one unearned run and six hits, while striking out 24 over 21.0 innings of work
STAT OF THE DAY #2
2 – Gia Rodoni’s strikeouts in the final inning of the game, making her first appearance for the Lady Bears in her freshman season
STAT OF THE DAY #3
.793 – Baylor’s winning percentage on the season, leading the Big 12
The Lady Bears make the day trip to San Antonio, taking on UTSA on Tuesday, March 22, at 6 p.m. at Roadrunner Field. Baylor will then host Texas for the opening weekend of Big 12 play, beginning on Friday, March 25, at 6:30 p.m.