Megan Good showed why she’s having an All-America type of season as she sailed through Baylor’s offense with little resistance through five innings.
But when the Lady Bears finally found their groove in the sixth inning, Good’s day turned bad very quickly.
Shelby Friudenberg pounded a three-run homer in the sixth to lift the Lady Bears to a 4-2 win that snapped James Madison’s 20-game winning streak Saturday afternoon in the NCAA softball regional at Getterman Stadium.
With its second regional win, Baylor (45-12) advanced to the championship game at 1 p.m. Sunday against James Madison (52-7) which stayed alive with a 4-0 win over Kent State Saturday night. If the Lady Bears lose, a second game will follow Sunday afternoon.
“It’s the spot we wanted to be in, it’s right where we’re supposed to be,” said Baylor pitcher Kelsee Selman. “This team definitely has one more big win in them. I’m ready to go to war.”
Selman (23-8) threw a four-hitter and walked just one batter against the Dukes who came into the NCAA tournament leading the nation with a .357 batting average.
But her chances to win didn’t look promising heading into the sixth. Morgan Tolle hit a two-run homer to give James Madison a 2-1 lead in the third inning, and it appeared that would be enough since Good (38-2) was throwing a gem.
Through the first five innings, Baylor picked up just two singles off Good. Baylor only hit one ball to the outfield as Lindsey Cargill singled to open the first before scoring on a wild pitch.
Though Baylor’s offense was struggling, coach Glenn Moore still thought his team could deliver against Good who had won 19 straight games.
“This team knows that it’s waiting for opportunities and performing when they happen,” Moore said. “I didn’t think we ever lost our composure. I didn’t have a crystal ball, you just kind of get a feel from their approaches, their at-bats, their attitudes, their alertness. And I just felt like we were going to make a run eventually.”
With two outs in the sixth, Kyla Walker beat out an infield hit before Ari Hawkins singled. Friudenberg then lifted a three-run homer that fell just over the center-field fence to give Baylor a 4-2 lead.
“It felt a little bit jammed almost, so I was a little bit nervous that they were going to catch it in the outfield,” Friudenberg said. “And at Getterman, you never know if the wind’s going to catch it. And it didn’t catch it, thankfully.”
Friudenberg tied Shelby McGlaun for the team lead with her 10th homer, and joined Chelsi Lake and Brette Reagan as the only Baylor players to hit 10 or more homers in three seasons. Friudenberg said the Lady Bears had learned Good’s pitching pattern by the sixth inning.
“It just seemed like we were sharing a lot of information in the dugout,” Friudenberg said. “So as we passed the information on, we kept getting in our head what she was going to do with it — screwball, riseball and stuff like that. So we kind of learned the routine she was doing and got a hold.”
Selman still had to shut down James Madison’s powerful offense in the seventh. After notching her eighth strikeout to open the inning, Madyson Moran singled. But after she rounded first base, Baylor centerfielder Jessie Scroggins picked up the ball and threw a strike to Friudenberg who nailed her off the bag.
Selman finished off the game by forcing Niki Prince to ground out.
“She kept pitching, she didn’t get rattled,” Moore said. “A freshman, younger pitcher probably would have, and we would have had to pull them. But she’s been there. We’ve put her in front of great lineups like that all year. So she’s seen great hitters and she’s had to pitch out of jams and she’s done the job.”
James Madison coach Mickey Dean was frustrated that his team didn’t take advantage of opportunities earlier in the game.
In the second inning, Taylor Newton tripled before Moran walked and stole second. But Madison Naujokas struck out to end the inning.
“We let too many opportunities pass,” Dean said. “I don’t think we moved a single baserunner the entire ballgame at all. You just can’t let teams hang around because the momentum can shift just like that.”