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Softball Edged by Baylor, 2-1, in Series-Opener

by Ryan Ladika

Waco, Texas – The UCF softball team enjoyed another strong start by Sarah Willis in the circle, but offensive struggles throughout the contest plagued the squad in its series-opening 2-1 loss to the Baylor Bears at Getterman Stadium Friday evening.

Willis overcame an uneven start that saw Baylor strike for a first-inning run on the strength of a leadoff hit-by-pitch and, later, a wild pitch that allowed the Bears to score. On the heels of the Bears’ hasty score, the Big 12 Conference’s reigning Pitcher of the Week retired the next eight consecutive Baylor hitters she faced, spinning perfect second and third innings.

Riding the newfound momentum created by her starting pitcher, Chloe Evans produced the equalizer in the top of the fourth inning. Despite falling behind in the count 0-2, the right fielder slugged her fifth home run of the season out to straightaway center field to tie the affairs at one run apiece.

The long ball, Evans’ second in her last three games after hitting a timely go-ahead solo home run the top of the fifth inning in the Knights’ series finale at Houston April 14, also pushed her team-leading RBI total to 31 through her 42 starts.

No longer pitching from behind, Willis kept rolling through the fourth and fifth innings, notching her second punchout in a scoreless fourth before fanning her third in setting down three of four batters faced in the fifth.

The Bears broke through once again in the bottom of the sixth inning, when first baseman Shaylon Govan swatted what would prove to be the game-winning home run to left-center field.

In spite of the losing decision, Willis recorded her seventh start of at least six innings pitched this spring, including her fourth with three or fewer hits allowed in at least six innings of work.


The Knights look to even the series against Baylor in game two of the three game set Saturday, moved up to 12 p.m. ET in anticipation of inclement weather. The game will be streamed live on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.


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