Softball Reaches Fourth World Series in Record-Setting Year

Softball Reaches Fourth World Series in Record-Setting Year

For the fourth time in 11 years, the Lady Bears reached their sport’s biggest stage—the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City—as part of the team’s historic 2017 season.

Baylor’s WCWS berth put them in elite territory; only seven programs have made more Women’s College World Series appearances than Baylor since 2007. 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.

“I couldn’t be prouder of this group of girls—the toughest team I’ve ever coached in over 20 years of coaching,” Baylor head coach Glenn Moore said. “They never quit. They show up to play every time. I can’t say anything better about them; they’re just warriors.”

A 43-12 regular season earned Baylor a home regional selection and a No. 15 overall national seed. The Lady Bears’ 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.

Moore’s squad then went on the road to face No. 2 national 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. In the Super Regional final, freshman Shelby McGlaun hit what proved to be the game-winning home run in the top of the seventh inning—a three-run blast that gave the Lady Bears a 6-5 lead and the eventual win to secure the WCWS berth.

Losses to defending national champion Oklahoma and No. 1-ranked Oregon in Oklahoma City 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 third baseman 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 outfielder Kyla Walker, who hit .418 and set a program single-season hits record, and junior first baseman Shelby Friudenberg, who moved into a tie for third in career home runs at Baylor with 40, also played big roles for the Lady Bears’ record-setting offense. Junior outfielder Jessie Scroggins was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, making her the first Lady Bear to win the award.

In the circle, Rodoni led the pitching staff with a 1.72 ERA, while senior Kelsee Selman topped the team in wins (24) and strikeouts (200). For the senior class of Cargill, Selman, Ari Hawkins and Riley Browder, the WCWS berth was the second of their careers, making them the second Baylor softball class to reach multiple Women’s College World Series.