• Baylor Softball overcomes injuries, tough schedule to return to NCAA tournament

    Shaylon Govan hits a softball

    Despite playing one of the nation’s toughest schedules and weathering a number of key injuries in the 2024 season, Baylor Softball is right back where it expects to be each year: the NCAA tournament.

    Head coach Glenn Moore’s squad is headed to Lafayette, Louisiana, as an at-large selection in the Lafayette Regional, and will begin postseason play Friday night against Ole Miss. The Bears earned the regional berth on the strength of a 32-20 record against a schedule that was one of the top-five toughest in the nation in multiple rankings.

    To get there, Baylor was led by three All-Big 12 honorees. Junior first baseman Shaylon Govan put together a historic season, earning first-team all-conference honors for the second straight year after leading the Big 12 with a .445 batting average and 44 walks. She’s currently on pace to set the program records for walks and on-base percentage (.593). Govan was joined on the All-Big 12 list by two second-team honorees: junior Aliyah Binford, a two-way player who led all Big 12 pitchers in strikeouts, and senior outfielder Emily Hott, who finished second on the team with a .338 batting average and tied Govan with eight home runs. These performances helped pace a team that dealt with multiple key injuries, including ace pitcher Dariana Orme and shortstop Amber Toven.

    Their tough schedule should ensure the Bears are well-prepared for the rigors of postseason play. This year’s schedule was highlighted by a perfect 5-0 weekend at the challenging Mary Nutter Classic in Palm Springs, which included four wins over ranked opponents. Baylor won a February series in Lafayette against Louisiana, who they could see in a potential rematch in the regional, and won their final nine Big 12 games.

    “We got hit hard with adversity,” says Moore, “to a point where we could have easily, I guess, given up and said, ‘Hey, we’re not that good, and we’re not able to meet our goals.’ But the girls kept fighting through some very difficult times and eventually it turned. We kept encouraging them and let them know, ‘Hey, it’s a game of percentages; it’s going to come our way eventually. We just can’t give up.’ And they didn’t, they kept fighting.”

    This year’s appearance marks Baylor’s 16th NCAA tournament berth all-time, a run under Moore that includes six Super Regionals and four Women’s College World Series appearances. The Lafayette Regional begins this Friday, with Baylor earning a rematch against a team they played in last year’s regional, Ole Miss, in a nationally televised game at 7 p.m. on ESPN2. A win would pit the Bears against either Louisiana, the nation’s No. 13 seed, or Ivy League champion Princeton.

    Sic ’em, Baylor softball!