No. 24/25 Baylor softball (14-3) won its eighth-consecutive game and second-straight tournament championship, taking a 3-2 walk-off win over SIU-Edwardsville (11-4) to clinch the Baylor Invitational title on Sunday afternoon at Getterman Stadium.
BU finished the weekend tournament with an unblemished 5-0 record, defeating UMass and SIUE twice and Saint Francis (PA) once.
Gia Rodoni took the start in the circle, working 3.1 frames and striking out six Cougar hitters while allowing two runs on four hits.
Kelsee Selman (7-2) took the win in relief, working a perfect final 3.2 innings, retiring all 10 SIUE batters she faced.
After the two teams stayed locked in a scoreless tie through three innings, it was SIUE that broke through first, with a one-out rally in the top of the fourth.
FoUr-straight singles brought in two runs, giving the Cougars a 2-0 lead.
The Lady Bears attacked back in the bottom of the fourth, with Lindsey Cargill leading off with a single. After two pop ups, the rally started with Selman pinch hitting and helping her own cause, drilling a single into right field and advancing to second after Cargill beat the throw to third.
A four pitch walk to Caitlin Charlton loaded the bases, with BU taking advantage of a passed ball on a swinging strikeout by Jessie Scroggins, scoring Cargill to tie the game at 2-2.
Entering the bottom of the seventh, still locked in the tie ballgame, Ari Hawkins led off with a double launched deep into the gap in right center.
Just a pitch later, Hawkins would be driven in on a walk-off RBI single, roped past the SIUE third baseman, down the left field line by Shelby Friudenberg, clinching the 3-2 win for BU.
Shelby Friudenberg, Ari Hawkins, Lindsey Cargill, Maddison Kettler, Kyla Walker, Kelsee Selman, and Gia Rodoni were all named to the 10-member Baylor Invitational All-Tournament team, joined by Alyssa Heren from SIUE and Sierra McKee from SFU.
BU had three batters finish the weekend at or above .500 at the plate, with Ari Hawkins (.538), Shelby Friudenberg (.500), and Lindsey Cargill (.500) leading the Lady Bear offense.
Friudenberg led the power attack, drilling three home runs, eight RBI, and 17 total bases, good for a 1.063 slugging percentage. With a 14-game active streak, the junior also matched her career-high reached base streak.
Selman led the BU pitching staff, going 3-0 and posting a 0.42 ERA on the weekend, adding 12 strikeouts with only one walk and one earned run.
The pitching staff finished the weekend with a 1.44 ERA, working 35 strikeouts to only three walks and giving up seven earned runs in 34.0 innings of work.
“You want competition to make you better, and you want to end up with a win, and that’s what happened. I tip my hat to SIUE. They’re a scrappy, well-coached team, and they compete. I’ve watched them all weekend get down and come back. They led most of the game, so we had to scrap and play from behind. We were able to pull it out with two big hits at the end. I thought we got a great start out of Gia, then they put some hits together. We brought Kelsee in, and I don’t think she gave up a hit, thanks to a great play in the outfield by Scroggins. Over the course of the weekend, I thought we tried some things. I probably took us out of some opportunities to stay more consistent, moving some people around and doing things to try to figure out what’s the best combination. We were able to do that and still win, so it was a successful weekend in that regard.” – Baylor head coach Glenn Moore, on the weekend’s success and growth of the team
“We just try to stay relaxed in the game. We’ve got to be in the game at all times, and kind of learn from what they’re doing at the same time we’re learning from our at bats. So we just worked on that throughout the game and learned what the pitcher was doing. We were finally able to attack her.” – Baylor infielder Shelby Friudenberg, on staging another late comeback
“A lot of that goes to the defense, I mean there were definitely balls where they easily could’ve dropped. So the defense helped out a lot – Jessie helped out a lot. She makes plays like that all the time.” – Baylor pitcher Kelsee Selman, on working a perfect finish to the game
The Lady Bears head west, taking part in one of the nation’s most premier tournaments, the Judi Garman Classic, hosted by Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, Calif., March 3-5.