🥎 Jayhawks Split Action Against Jackrabbits on Thursday
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas softball team (10-7) split a doubleheader with South Dakota State (12-3) on Thursday, taking game one 4-1 before dropping the second, 6-3.
“We were consistent in the first game on all fronts,” head coach Jennifer McFalls said. “After the second game, we can’t wait to play again. We want to get back on the dirt and show that we can finish on all facets.”
KU tallied 16 hits with Sydnee Ramsey, Brittany Jackson, Morgyn Wynne and Macy Omli each tallying three each. Madison Hirsch and Jordan Richards rounded things out with two apiece.
Game One – Won 4-1
The Jayhawks and Jackrabbits traded runs in a first inning that began with SDSU hitting a solo home run in the top half of the inning.
The bottom of the first started with Ramsey hitting a single up the middle followed by Jackson executing a perfect bunt to put two on with no outs. Tarin Travieso recorded a sac bunt to advance both runners into scoring position for Wynne to drop one into shallow right to score Ramsey. The game was tied, 1-1, at the end of the first.
Wynne opened things up for the Jayhawks in the bottom of the third with a solo home run to right field. The homer was her seventh of the season and helped give KU a 2-1 lead after three.
Action continued in the bottom of the sixth inning with sophomore Jordan Richards hitting a double to left field. Omli followed with a single to second base, with Richards advancing to third. Ramsey reached on a fielder’s choice as Omli was out at second to keep runners on the corners with only one out.
With Jackson at the plate, Richards came home on a wild pitch and Ramsey made it all the way around to third to give KU the 3-1 lead. Jackson laid down another bunt inches in front of home plate and Ramsey went home on contact. Ramsey scored to push KU’s lead to 4-1 and with her speed, Jackson advanced all the way to second for a double.
“I think we were really consistent with quality at bats,” McFalls said. “We grabbed momentum opportunities when they presented themselves in the first game.”
McFalls continued: “We had a tremendous pitching performance from Tatum Goff, who only allowed two hits in the first game. When a pitcher keeps you in the game, you are able to relax a little more on offense. The first game was all about being consistent. We saw positive things from our offense, defense and the pitching performance.”
In the circle, Goff was credited with her third complete game and improved to 3-1 on the season, while picking up four strikeouts.
Game Two – Lost 6-3
The Jayhawks didn’t let off the gas pedal to start the second game, scoring a run in the bottom of the first inning after Travieso got on base on a fielder’s choice. With two outs, Wynne double down the left-field line to bring Travieso home and give the Jayhawks the 1-0 lead after one.
Kansas kept things rolling in the second inning, which began with a Haleigh Harper hit by a pitch. She advanced to second after Omli drew a walk to put two runners on with two outs. Ramsey brought Harper home by hitting a double through the left side to double KU’s lead.
SDSU attempted to get on the board in the top of the fifth after drawing a walk. The runner advanced to second on a wild pitch and then to third on a fly out to right field, but the Jayhawks defense came up with two huge back-to-back outs from Harper and Ramsey up the middle to end the inning and eliminate the threat.
Junior pitcher Lexy Mills recorded six strikeouts and didn’t allow a hit in the first five innings to help keep the Jackrabbits at bay.
The Jackrabbits eventually evened the score in the top of the sixth beginning with a solo homer to left field. With only one out, the Jayhawks walked a batter to put a runner on as another SDSU batter hit a double into left center to score the runner. With the game tied, KU switched pitchers to freshman Savanna DesRochers to finish the inning and the game
Madison Hirsch respond for the Jayhawks in the bottom of the sixth with a solo homer out of left field to give KU a 3-2 lead.
SDSU came back in the seventh inning to score four to reclaim the lead. DesRochers got one out in the inning before being replaced by senior Hannah Todd.
Trailing 6-3 in the bottom of the seventh, KU looked to rally. Harper got on after being hit by a pitch but nothing would develop past that as KU dropped game two, 6-3.
“Our hitters did a good job of getting on the board early,” McFalls said. “We have to credit SDSU’s pitcher for constantly changing up the speed and keeping hitters off balance. She did that to us all night long and unfortunately, we weren’t able to finish after having that early lead.”
In the circle, Mills pitched 5.2 innings and struck out six batters to bring her career total to 137 strikeouts. DesRochers pitched 2/3rds of an inning before Todd pitched the final 2/3rds and picked up a strikeout.
Kansas in back tomorrow to continue the Rock Chalk Challenge against the University of Northern Iowa with first pitch scheduled for 4 p.m.