By Jerry Hill
Baylor Bear Foundation
Taking a perfect game into the fifth, Baylor senior right-hander Kelsee Selman combined with Gia Rodoni on a two-hit shutout with 13 strikeouts as the No. 23/24 Lady Bears (4-2) opened the Getterman Classic with a 5-0 win over UTSA (1-3) Thursday night.
"I think she's capable of being that type of pitcher," Baylor coach Glenn Moore said of Selman, a high school All-American and two-time all-state pick who led Lufkin Hudson to back-to-back state championships. "I think it was just a matter of her getting it all together, and it looks like she's on the way to doing that. She's certainly built a lot of confidence with us and the team."
Selman (2-1) breezed through the first four frames, fanning nine and striking out the side in the first and fourth. But, with one out in the fifth, Rylee Rodriguez broke up the no-hitter and perfect game with a line-drive single to left.
"That definitely stunk," said Selman, who struck out just four in 11.1 innings at last week's Hillenbrand Invitational in Arizona. "I try not to change anything, just keep that out of my head and keep going on with the normal thing, just every pitch. Unfortunately, one changeup, and the girl hit it. But, that's OK. . . . We're just trying to win the game, perfect game or not, and I couldn't lose my focus."
Challenged by Moore "to come out and throw a punch early," the Lady Bears did just that, putting up a 4-spot in the first inning.
After leadoff singles by Jessie Scroggins and Kyla Walker, freshman Shelby McGlaun plated two with a single to center. One batter later, Ari Hawkins deposited a Lizzy Fox delivery over the wall in left-center field for a 4-0 lead.
"It was huge," Hawkins said of the four-run first inning. "To start off and send a message to a team in the first inning, that just shows what our team is about. Like Coach said in our meeting, there were a lot of zeroes up there, but I just believe that starting off strong and carrying that throughout the game is big, huge for us."
Hawkins hit her second home run of the season and 11th of her career.
"I hit one last weekend, but I wasn't pleased with my performance overall," she said. "I was just focused on hitting the ball up the middle."
Fox (1-2) settled down after that, throwing four straight scoreless innings and giving up just one run on five hits the rest of the way.
"I was certainly happy with the first inning and the pitching performance," Moore said, "but I kind of challenged them to keep the pedal down next time. That was probably the only negative. Had quality at-bats, but there just wasn't the intensity and sense of urgency I'd like us to get comfortable with."
After giving up the Rodriguez single, Selman got the next two outs to get through the fifth. But then in the sixth, she gave up a leadoff walk to Taylor Oberg - the younger sister of former Baylor catcher Courtney Oberg Nieten - and went to a 2-0 count on 9-hole hitter Angelica Nino before Moore went to his bullpen.
"I think she threw three balls over the catcher's head," Moore said. "I don't have an answer for that, other than it's seven innings of intense focus out there. You lose just a little bit of focus, and that's sometimes what happens. . . . She had had such a good experience, and we have a good bullpen, I thought we would get her out of there and let her leave on a good note."
Sophomore Gia Rodoni finished off the shutout, getting out of a two-on, no-out jam in the sixth, and then working around a one-out single in the seventh.
Walker went 3-for-3 in the game and upped her batting average to .588.
Baylor plays Grand Canyon (6-0) at 5:30 p.m. Friday in a busy second day that kicks off with North Texas (1-3) vs. Lamar (2-3) at 10 a.m. In between, Lamar plays UTSA at 12:30 p.m., followed by Grand Canyon vs. North Texas at 3.
WACO, Texas - No. 23/24 Baylor softball (4-2) used a combined shutout and 13-strikeout effort from the BU pitching staff to open the 16th annual Getterman Classic with a 5-0 win over UTSA (1-3) on Thursday evening at Getterman Stadium.
Kelsee Selman (2-1) pitched a solid 5.0 innings of work for the Lady Bears, striking out 10 and allowing just one hit and no runs. The double-digit strikeout effort was the first in her time at Baylor and the third 10+ strikeout outing of her collegiate career.
Gia Rodoni took over after a lead-off walk in the top of the sixth, striking out two in the inning and three overall.
The two pitchers combined to allow just two hits, striking out 13 in the combined shutout effort.
The Baylor offense took a quick start in the bottom of the first, with Shelby McGlaun driving a single to centerfield, scoring both Kyla Walker and Jessie Scroggins before the Roadrunners could record an out.
Ari Hawkins crushed a two-run home run to dead centerfield, scoring McGlaun to put the Lady Bears in front, 4-0, at the end of the first frame.
Kyla Walker continued driving the ball at an unreal clip, posting a 3-for-3 day at the plate and improving her batting average on the season to .588.
Kelsee Selman's 10 strikeouts are the most by a Baylor pitcher this season, with the 13 total strikeouts by the BU pitching staff also setting a new team season high.
Ari Hawkins slugged her second home run of the season, already just three off of her single-season career high.
STAT OF THE DAY
10 - the number of hits by the Baylor lineup, with five of those coming from Walker (3-for-3) and Cargill (2-for-3).
"I challenged the girls to come out and throw a punch early, and we did. I was certainly happy with the first inning and the pitching performance, but I kind of challenged them to keep the pedal down next time. That was probably the only negative. Had quality at bats, but there just wasn't the intensity and sense of urgency I'd like us to get comfortable with." - Baylor head coach Glenn Moore
"It was huge. I mean, to start off and send a message to a team in the first inning - that just shows what our team is about. We strive to do that every inning. There were a lot of zeros like coach said in our meeting, but I just believe that starting off strong and carrying that out throughout the game is big, huge for us." - Baylor second baseman Ari Hawkins
The Lady Bears continue play in the Getterman Classic, playing Grand Canyon on Friday, Feb. 17, at 5:30 p.m.