No. 15-seeded Baylor softball (45-12) punched its ticket into the NCAA Super Regional round, with Gia Rodoni spinning her second-consecutive no-hitter, downing the 12th-ranked James Madison Dukes (52-8), 1-0, on Sunday afternoon at Getterman Stadium.
Rodoni (17-2) added an even more impressive performance to her NCAA postseason resume, tossing her second-straight no-hitter facing the top hitting lineup in the country.
The sophomore followed up her Friday no-hitter over Kent State, going all 7.0 innings against the Dukes, allowing no hits, no runs, and striking out two.
After becoming the first Baylor pitcher to throw a no-hitter in the NCAA Tournament, Rodoni added the feather in her cap of being the first Lady Bear pitcher to throw no-hitters in consecutive starts.
Facing JMU’s Megan Good, who entered the weekend with a national-best 36-1 record, held the Lady Bears to five hits, but it took only some well-timed slashes in the top of the third to give BU what it needed.
Lindsey Cargill led off the frame with a double to left-center, with Kyla Walker following up with another double to move Cargill to third.
With JMU attempting to intentionally walk Shelby Friudenberg, a wild pitch in to the catcher ended up at the backstop, allowing Cargill to slide in safely for the go-ahead run.
In the bottom of the seventh, down to the final three outs, Rodoni put a runner on with a hit by pitch with one out.
The next batter swung at the first pitch, towering a warning track shot that sent Jessie Scroggins tracking the fly ball all the way to the fence, crashing into the wall to make a no-hitter-saving, and potentially game-winning catch for the second out.
Rodoni closed the game out on a three-pitch strikeout, sending the Lady Bears to the Super Regional round for the first time since 2014, and the sixth time in program history.
Kyla Walker took her season hit total to 81, tying Harmony Schwethelm (2005) and Ashley Monceaux (2007) for the program’s single-season hits record.
Baylor advanced to the Super Regionals for the sixth time in program history and the first time since 2014.
The Lady Bears are paired with the No. 2-seeded Arizona Wildcats, with Baylor heading to Tucson if the bracket holds.
Baylor improved to 43-25 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, including a 14-6 mark in games played at Getterman Stadium and 31-11 clip in the Regional round.
Gia Rodoni became the eighth player in NCAA history to pitch multiple no-hitters in a single NCAA Tournament, joining the likes of Monica Abbott, Cat Osterman, and Lisa Fernandez.
“I’m just excited we get to move on to Super Regionals. My defense was phenomenal today and that’s so encouraging. I’m just excited about the outcome. I didn’t want a repeat of the seventh inning two nights ago when I walked some girls. I was just trying to stay grounded and stay in the moment.” – Baylor pitcher Gia Rodoni
“She is a dominating pitcher, we have a lot of confidence in her, as well as Kelsee. So we are ready to see what she can do against Arizona. I know she can do really well, so I’m excited to see that.” – Baylor infielder Lindsey Cargill, on Gia Rodoni’s performance
“She was phenomenal. As I said the other day, you don’t see that many no-hitters anymore, and I think across the country we had five the first day and another one yesterday. For her to have two back-to-back, she’s certainly thrown the ball well against a good hitting team. She didn’t do this against a team that was lucky to beat her. She did it against a great hitting team, and that made it even more impressive.” – Baylor head coach Glenn Moore
STAT OF THE GAME
14 – the consecutive number of innings pitched by Gia Rodoni in NCAA play without allowing a hit. Rodoni improved to 3-0 in her career in NCAA games, dropping her career ERA in tournament games down to 0.67.
Baylor will have to wait to determine its fate for the Super Regional round, with Arizona facing South Carolina in the Tucson Regional Final on Sunday evening, beginning at 6 p.m. CT.