LAFAYETTE — After the Baylor softball team faced the uncertainty that came with a two-hour rain delay, cleanup hitter Shelby Friudenberg helped put the Bears back on solid ground.
The freshman’s two-run homer in the fourth inning sparked Baylor to an 8-4 victory over Mississippi State in the opener of the NCAA tournament’s Lafayette regional Friday at Lamson Park.
The Bears held a 6-4 lead when that long ball doubled their advantage. Baylor pitcher Heather Stearns responded by retiring the Bulldogs in order in the fifth.
“We were down two outs in that inning and had just given up a two-run home run, so to match that kind of takes the wind out of their sails a little bit,” Baylor coach Glenn Moore said. “Every time they do something, we match it or up it a little bit.”
The Bears (39-15) were able to protect that lead thanks to Kendall Potts, who limited the Bulldogs to one hit in two innings of relief.
Mississippi State got on the board first in the first inning when pitcher Alexis Silkwood used a sacrifice fly to drive in Julia Echols, who was hit by a pitch to start the game.
Baylor answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 3-1 lead before the rain came.
“Things were going our way, and then both teams had to deal with the rain delay,” Moore said. “You never know how long a rain delay will be, and we had something happen that you don’t want: The players got cold.”
The Bears built upon their lead in the third by loading the bases with no outs. Sarah Smith drove in a pair of runs with a liner to left that put the Bears ahead 5-2. Jessica Scroggins increased the advantage to 6-2 with an RBI single.
Caroline Seitz was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer for Mississippi State, which fell to 35-20.