No. 15-seeded Baylor softball (45-12) punched its ticket into the NCAA Waco Regional final, knocking off the 12th-ranked James Madison Dukes (51-7) on Saturday afternoon at Getterman Stadium.
Kelsee Selman (23-8) worked the full 7.0 frames, allowing just two runs on four hits, striking out eight JMU batters.
Lindsey Cargill had a record-breaking start to the contest, leading off the bottom of the first with a single up the middle to snap the Baylor career hits record. Cargill slashed her 248th career hit, passing Naomi Fitzgerald for the program’s new high water mark (247, 1998-2001).
Cargill advanced on a groundout and sac bunt, coming around to score from third on a wild pitch.
The Dukes attacked back in the top of the third, cutting in front with a two-run home run to take the 2-1 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Lady Bears were retired on two quick outs, down to the team’s final four chances to find an equalizer.
Kyla Walker dropped a bunt single in, kicking off the two-out rally bid.
Ari Hawkins laced a single up the middle, moving Walker to second and bringing up Shelby Friudenberg.
The junior slugger took the first pitch she saw and launched it up and over the fence, bouncing off the camera well beyond the wall in left-center for a three-run shot, her 10th home run of the season.
The three-run bomb gave the Lady Bears the 4-2 lead, with Selman back in the top of the seventh to close out the contest.
Selman picked up a swinging strikeout for the first out, with the Dukes lacing a single into centerfield.
Jessie Scroggins, charging up to field the ball in shallow right-center, came up firing to first after the JMU runner took a big turn, with Friudenberg throwing the tag down to erase the hit for the second out.
Selman forced JMU to groundout to pick up the third out, advancing the Lady Bears into the Regional final on Sunday.
Kyla Walker bumped her season hit total to 80, one hit away from tying Harmony Schwethelm (2005) and Ashley Monceaux (2007) for the program’s single-season hits record.
Shelby Friudenberg launched her 10th home run of the season, giving the Lady Bears two 10+ home run hitters for the second-consecutive season.
Friudenberg became the third Lady Bear in program history to hit 10+ home runs in three seasons, joining Brette Reagan as the only two to hit 10 or more in the first three seasons of their respective careers.
Baylor advanced to the Regional final for the fifth-consecutive season.
BU has advanced to the Super Regional round four out of the five times when they’ve started out 2-0 in a Regional (2005, 2007, 2009, 2011), going 3-0 all four times. The lone time the team missed out on advancing was in 2004, the program’s first-ever NCAA berth.
“I really just trusted in Coach [Britni] Newman, she is such a good pitch caller and I communicated with her immediately after that and we changed up what I was doing and what pitches I was throwing. Really, it all came down to trusting in Coach Newman and the defense that was behind me. They made great plays through the whole entire game. It makes it easy to pitch when you have that kind of defense and that kind of pitch calling.” – Baylor pitcher Kelsee Selman
“We were sharing a lot of information in the dugout. As we passed the information on, everyone was getting an idea of what she, was going to do. Screwball, riseball – we were able to learn the routine she was doing and we caught a hold of it.” – Baylor infielder Shelby Friudenberg
“You really can’t put a value on it, because a team sees that kind of performance and they feed off of it. We’re not a team who puts up eight to ten runs against people. We’re going to hold them down and beat them by a run or two, and we don’t have many like that. Shelby really came through for us, and you can look back even before that and Kyla Walker was just phenomenal, and an unbelievable athlete and hitter. She started the rally with two outs and then Ari gets on and passes the bat to Friudenberg and then she hits the long ball.” – Baylor head coach Glenn Moore
STAT OF THE GAME
13 – the consecutive number of JMU batters retired by Selman after giving up the two-run HR, including 14 of the final 15 Duke batters. The lone single allowed by Selman over that stretch was erased by Scroggins on the assist from centerfield in to first base.
Baylor awaits the winner of Game 5 of the Waco Regional, which will feature James Madison and the winner of Oregon State-Kent State. The Lady Bears will face the team that comes out of Saturday evening game in the regional final, set for Sunday, May 21 at 1 p.m. at Getterman Stadium. BU will have two chances to advance, entering the finals atop the region standings at 2-0.