Kansas edged by South Alabama in extra innings, 2-1
ORLANDO, Fla. – Kansas softball took the South Alabama Jaguars, who received votes in both of the major NCAA Division I softball polls, to eight innings on Saturday evening in the Citrus Classic II in Orlando, Florida, but ultimately fell 2-1, despite a stellar pitching performance from sophomore Alexis Reid.
Reid (6-3) held South Alabama (16-3) to five hits in seven innings of work, allowing just one earned run to a powerful Jaguar offense. The Jayhawks (12-8) had their work cut out for themselves though, as they were faced up against South Alabama’s pitching ace, Devin Brown, who came into the weekend with the 14th-best ERA in NCAA Division I softball at 0.41 prior to the Citrus Classic II.
No matter who the pitcher was for the Jaguars, the Jayhawks knew they would have their hands full, as South Alabama ranked fifth in NCAA Division I in team ERA prior to coming to the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Florida. Kansas was unable to raise that number from the astonishing 0.91, as the Jayhawks scratched just one unearned run across in the ballgame, despite tallying six hits off Brown.
South Alabama fired the opening salvo in the third inning, scoring a run on two hits in the frame. Reid struck out the first batter of the inning before allowing a walk and back-to-back singles to give the Jaguars a 1-0 lead.
Reid didn’t let the run phase her however, as she moved through the South Alabama order by retiring all nine batters she faced in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. The Blue Springs, Missouri product’s performance in the circle sparked the dugout and the Kansas bats as the Jayhawks evened things up the in the top of the fifth.
Taking advantage of a defensive miscue by South Alabama, senior Lily Behrmann led off the inning with a soft grounder back to Brown in the pitcher’s circle, but the Jaguars’ ace threw the ball over the head of the first baseman, allowing Behrman to get all the way to third safely.
Junior catcher Jessie Roane drove in Behrmann with one out, collecting her team-leading 21st RBI of the season. The Jayhawks left two runners stranded in the inning though, as junior Harli Ridling was hit by her second of three pitches in the game following Roane’s RBI single.
Ridling wore a pitch for the third time in the top of the seventh inning, but Kansas was unable to do anything with the free base, and left her stranded as the game remained tied at one.
South Alabama hoped to walk off in the seventh, getting a runner to second with one out, before Reid shut the door and took the game to extras.
With the international tiebreaker rule in effect, Annie Mehringer started at second base for the Jayhawks in the inning, and Erin McGinley moved her to third with a leadoff sacrifice bunt. The Jayhawks couldn’t find an answer to Brown’s pitching however, and left the go-ahead run stranded at third.
A perfectly-placed leadoff bunt put runners at the corners for South Alabama in the bottom of the eighth, and an infield single loaded the bases with no outs before the Jaguars walked off with an RBI single to left field to take the game, 2-1.
Kansas will face No. 12 James Madison in the finale of the Citrus Classic II on Sunday, March 5. The game is scheduled for 9 a.m. CST and will have a live online audio broadcast available to stream for free through the Jayhawk Radio Network at KUAthletics.com/Radio.
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