RCW: Sport Spotlight 4.22 (Softball)
— Kansas Softball (@KUSoftball) February 12, 2018
A post shared by Kansas Softball (@kusoftball) on Feb 9, 2018 at 6:17pm PST
Kansas, celebrating its 50th season on the softball diamond, opened the 2018 campaign at the Stetson Leadoff Classic with a 4-1 record.
KU’s stable of returners, including 2017 NFCA All-Region honorees Erin McGinley and Harli Ridling, remained consistent guiding lights for the team. Junior pitcher Andie Formby and senior third baseman Jessie Roane were named to the Stetson Leadoff Classic All-Tournament Team.
But KU’s opening weekend also provided a chance to see what the 10 newcomers had to offer. They did not disappoint.
Of KU’s 10 newcomers on the roster this season, eight made their Kansas debuts.
Junior utility player Brynn Minor showed her versatility by making an appearance in all five games — starting in right field for three games and making three pitching appearances in the circle. Minor recorded six strikeouts in 9.0 innings of work with a 0.78 ERA. Her first-career hit was an RBI single down the left field line in the third inning of a 4-1 victory over Akron on Saturday. Minor, a transfer from Butler County Community College, was the 2017 NJCAA National Player of the Year.
Freshman Brittany Jackson held down the leadoff hitting spot and centerfield like a veteran during her first collegiate games. Jackson didn’t waste any time to record her first-career stolen base, doing so in KU’s season-opener against Akron. Later that evening she recorded her first-career hit against Stetson. She finished her opening weekend with five putouts in centerfield, a .294 batting average, five hits and two stolen bases.
Freshman infielder Sydnee Ramsey joined Jackson as the only newcomer to start all five games of opening weekend. Ramsey started the first three games as the designated player and the last two at shortstop. The Oklahoma City native hit for a .385 batting average with four hits, three walks and five runs scored.
Sophomore utility player Sam Dellinger, an All-BIG EAST performer at Creighton last season, started in four of five games at second base for the Jayhawks. Her first-career game as a Jayhawk was a two-hit performance against Akron. She came up clutch in Sunday’s win over College of Charleston, leading off the second inning with a double and proceeded to score the go-ahead run on a single by Mikayla Warren, giving KU a 2-1 lead.
Freshman speedster Addie Balderston entered four games as a pinch runner, scoring her first-career run in the sixth inning of KU’s season-opening 5-3 win over Akron on Friday. On Sunday against College of Charleston, Balderston capped off her productive weekend as a pinch runner with her first-career stolen base.
Sophomore infielder Miranda Rodriguez, a juco transfer from Cosumnes River College, started her first three games as a Jayhawk at the shortstop position, recording a pair of assists.
Redshirt freshman Courtney Taylor made her first-career start as the designated player on Sunday against College of Charleston.
Freshman backup catcher Shelby Gayre put an exclamation mark on a big opening weekend for the new faces to the program with her first-career home run on Sunday against College of Charleston. Gayre, pinch-hitting at the top of the batting order in the sixth inning, smacked a three-run home run past the left field fence to give KU a 6-1 lead over the Cougars. It also marked the first-career hit for the freshman from D’Hanis, Texas.