Baylor centerfielder Jessie Scroggins is well known for her speed and spectacular catches, but she showed Texas that she has a powerful arm to complement her other talents.
Scroggins threw out Kelli Hanzel at home to end the game as No. 13 Baylor held on for a 2-1 win before a sellout crowd of 1,324 Friday night at Getterman Stadium.
It was a much needed win for the Lady Bears (40-10, 12-4) since the last two regular season games against the Longhorns (29-21, 6-9) will be in Austin at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
“We need to win the series and now we’ve got two chances to do that,” said Baylor coach Glenn Moore. “That was a great way to end our home season.”
Trailing 2-1 heading into the seventh, the Longhorns rallied with two outs when Hanzel singled and Bekah Alcozer walked against Baylor ace Kelsee Selman (20-7). Alcozer had hit two towering fly balls foul down the left-field line before drawing the walk.
Jade Gortarez then drilled a single up the middle and Hanzel tried to score from second. But Scroggins fielded the ball in shallow center field and made a perfect throw to catcher Shelby McGlaun for the final out.
“She doesn’t really get to show (her arm) off too much, but when she does it’s big statements like that,” Selman said. “It’s always on the money. I knew immediately when I saw the ball go to Scroggs, and I saw her round third, I knew it was going to be out because she’s one of the best outfielders I have ever played with in my entire life.”
Scroggins wasn’t surprised Hanzel tried to score from second base with two outs, but was confident that she could throw her out.
“We’re up 2-1, and the tying run is on second, and you don’t want her to score,” Scroggins said. “So you’ve got to give her the best throw you’ve got and throw her out at home.”
Selman pitched another gem for the Lady Bears as she scattered four hits and two walks while striking out three. She retired the first 12 Texas hitters before Taylor Ellsworth opened the fifth with a single.
Both Baylor runs came on solo homers over the left-field fence as Sydney Christensen blasted her sixth of the season in the third inning and McGlaun drilled her team-leading ninth homer in the fourth inning. Both homers came off Erica Wright (6-6) who pitched 3 2/3 innings before Brooke Bolinger finished the game.
“Who would have thought we’d beat Texas on the long ball?” Moore said. “The short game we’ve had really wasn’t a factor tonight. We won the game a different way and that was big.”
After Baylor grabbed the 2-0 lead, Texas broke through with a fifth-inning run. Following Ellsworth’s single, pinch runner Tuesday DerMargosian moved to second on Randel Leahy’s sacrifice bunt.
Hanzel then drilled a double high off the left-field wall to put runners at second and third. DerMargosian scored on Alcozer’s fielder’s choice.
“Kelsee was dealing pretty good early on, but they just kept fighting off the pitches and started barreling up on a few and made a game of it,” Moore said.
Though Oklahoma has clinched the Big 12 regular season title, Baylor is hoping to finish strong to secure an NCAA regional host site. Selman was glad to see the Lady Bears win a tight game because they expect to be in similar situations in the postseason.
“This is a big series to start off with the win,” Selman said. “It’s just what we needed. Just having games like that where they’re close is the stuff we need for going further into regionals and Super Regionals and all that.”