Historic Baylor softball season ends with 4th World Series trip in 11 years
The Baylor softball team’s historic 2017 season ended Saturday in Oklahoma City at the Women’s College World Series, as the Lady Bears’ made their fourth WCWS trip in the last 11 years.
To put that in context, only seven programs have made more Women’s College World Series appearances than Baylor since 2007. (Those seven: powerhouse programs Alabama, Arizona State, Florida, Oklahoma, Tennessee, UCLA and Washington.) Over the last decade, no other private university — and only one other school in Texas, public or private — has reached the WCWS more than once, while the Lady Bears have made it a regular occurrence.
Baylor’s postseason run began with a sweep of the NCAA Waco Regional, highlighted by Gia Rodoni’s back-to-back no-hitters, as the sophomore became just the eighth player ever to hurl two no-hitters in a single postseason. Head coach Glenn Moore’s squad was then sent on the road to face No. 2 seed Arizona in the NCAA Super Regional. The Wildcats had lost only two home games all year entering the weekend, but the Lady Bears doubled that by winning the final two games of the best-of-three series, each in their last at-bat, to move on to the WCWS.
Losses to defending national champion Oklahoma and No. 1-ranked Oregon ended Baylor’s season with a record of 48-15, tied for the fourth-most wins in program history. The Lady Bears finished the season among the top 20 nationally in both batting average (.320, a new team record) and ERA (1.88).
Baylor’s lineup was led by senior Lindsey Cargill, who hit .430 to rank 19th nationally, set program records for single-season batting average and career hits, and earned both All-America and Academic All-America honors. Sophomore Kyla Walker, who hit .418 and set a team record for hits in a season, and junior Shelby Friudenberg, who moved into a tie for third in career home runs at Baylor, also played big roles for the Lady Bears’ record-setting offense. Rodoni led the pitching staff with a 1.72 ERA, while senior Kelsee Selman topped the team in wins and strikeouts.
Next year’s squad looks well positioned to build on this year’s success, returning seven of nine starting position players and three of the team’s four pitchers, as the Lady Bears aim for an eight straight NCAA tournament selection — and another trip to Oklahoma City and the Women’s College World Series.
Sic ’em, Baylor softball!