Just call her No-No Rodoni.
After throwing a no-hitter in Friday’s NCAA regional opener, Gia Rodoni did it again with even higher stakes as she shut down James Madison in Baylor’s 1-0 win in Sunday’s championship game at Getterman Stadium.
Rodoni’s second gem sent the 15th-seeded Lady Bears (46-12) to the Super Regional against No. 2 Arizona in Tucson next weekend.
Rodoni (17-2) spun her first no-hitter in Baylor’s 1-0 win over Kent State, but she felt she had even better command against James Madison (52-8). It marked the first time in Baylor history that a pitcher threw no-hitters in consecutive starts.
Rodoni became the first pitcher to throw multiple no-hitters in the NCAA tournament since North Carolina’s Danielle Spaulding in 2010.
“I’m just excited we get to move on to Super Regionals,” Rodoni said. “My defense was phenomenal today and that’s so encouraging. I felt like I was better (than Friday). I had more control of the zone today and my confidence was a little bit better.”
The sophomore right-hander allowed just three baserunners as she walked Morgan Tolle to open the game and hit Kierstin Roadcap in the third and Megan Good in the seventh.
The Dukes came into the regional leading the nation with a .357 batting average, but they didn’t come close to scoring against Rodoni.
She needed a spectacular game to outduel Good (38-3) who allowed just five hits despite making her fourth straight start in the regional. Baylor beat Good for the second straight day after a 4-2 win on Saturday.
“Gia’s got, and we’ve said it many times, the perfect mentality for a pitcher,” said Baylor coach Glenn Moore. “I didn’t think she was on her game at the very beginning. The first time through she was behind a good many, and she comes in here and tells everybody she thought she was throwing better than the first night. The power of the mind is very valuable.”
Rodoni got a big assist from Baylor centerfielder Jessie Scroggins who showed why she was named Big 12 defensive player of the year.
After Rodoni walked Tolle to open the game, she tried to advance from second to third on Good’s fly ball to Scroggins. But Scroggins gunned down Tolle as she slid into third to end the inning.
Rodoni hit Good with a pitch with one out in the seventh before Taylor Newton sent a rocket screaming toward the fence in left-center. But Scroggins made a long run to make the catch before crashing into the fence.
“I’m very confident in Scroggs,” Rodoni said. “I didn’t know how far it was going, but I knew she would get there. I wasn’t worried at all. It was phenomenal. She makes them all the time, so I just expect that of her now.”
Rodoni then struck out Odicci Alexander to end the game and send Baylor to its first Super Regional since 2014 when it beat Georgia in Athens to advance to the Women’s College World Series.
Moore has guided Baylor teams to the World Series three times, but only the seniors on this year’s team have been there.
“I’m to a point in my career where I want to give these girls those experiences,” Moore said. “They come through here and they’re gone in four years. And I want to do everything possible to give them the experience of competing on softball’s biggest stage. We’re going to get an opportunity again out there in Tucson. We’re going to go out there with expectations to be in Oklahoma City in two weeks.”
The Lady Bears scored the game’s only run against Good in the third inning in unlikely fashion.
Lindsey Cargill opened the inning with a double but only moved to third after Kyla Walker doubled to left field. But with one out, Good allowed a wild pitch to get away when she was intentionally walking Shelby Friudenberg, and Cargill scored from third.
“I just lost it,” Good said. “It’s very disappointing and very frustrating because it seems like every year we come up just a little bit short.”
Good prevented further damage when Taylor Ellis hit a line drive back to her, and she doubled pinch runner Madi O’Neal off first base to end the inning.
The Lady Bears scored just six runs in three regional wins but didn’t need any more due to the dominance of Rodoni and Kelsee Selman, who threw a four-hitter in Saturday’s win over James Madison.
“When you have a dominant pitcher you can win games, you can beat anybody,” Moore said. “Even if your offense doesn’t match up, you can win ballgames in this sport. To have two going to the degree we have, we feel pretty confident in either one of them.”