No. 23 Wolfpack Halts Kansas’ Late-Inning Rally, 3-1
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Some of Kansas softball’s comeback magic from a year ago lingered into the new season, as the Jayhawks nearly added another come-from-behind victory to their resume. Instead, No. 23 North Carolina State held off KU’s late-inning rally to defeat Kansas, 3-1, in the 2016 season opener.
Freshman pitcher/utility Alexis Reid erased the Wolfpack no-hitter and ignited Kansas’ offense in the top of the seventh frame. In her first collegiate game, the Blue Springs, Missouri native launched her first career home run over the fence in left center field. Her long ball put a dent into NC State’s lead, 3-1.
Reid’s homer was the first of back-to-back hits for the Jayhawks (0-1) that brought the tying run to the plate, but KU couldn’t capitalized on the late momentum. The Wolfpack’s three runs early on were enough to earn their second win of the day.
North Carolina State had two runners reach base in the first inning, but Reid, who started the game in the circle, ended the frame with a strikeout and the help of a 4-6-3 double play.
In the second inning, KU had two runners reach base and put pressure on the Wolfpack starter Courtney Mirabella. Senior outfielder Shannon McGinley recorded a walk, while redshirt sophomore catcher Harli Ridling reached after getting hit by a pitch, but the inning was retired before the Jayhawks could gain a lead.
NC State took the lead in third frame after outfielder Tyler Ross hit a solo shot over the fence in left centerfield. It marked the first run given up by Reid while donning the Crimson and Blue. The Wolfpack tacked on two more runs in the fourth frame, after catcher Cheyenne Balzer hits a two-RBI double to the left field fence. North Carolina State headed to the fifth inning with a 3-0 advantage.
Junior right-hander Sophia Templin entered the circle in relief of Reid in the fifth inning with no outs. The Wolfpack loaded the bases, however, Templin took care of business and ended the inning without harm.
The Jayhawks had opportunities to gain momentum, but the NC State defense was able to track down the ball no matter where Kansas hit it. Templin tossed a 1-2-3 inning to end the sixth frame capped off with her second strikeout of the game. She finished the game with three scoreless innings of relief while allowing just one hit.
Reid broke up the NC State no-hitter with her first home run in a Jayhawk uniform in the top of the seventh. Sophomore Jessie Roane recorded a base knock to continue the rally, which allowed the tying run to step into the batter’s box. Despite the tying run present, Kansas wasn’t able to capitalize, as No. 23 North Carolina State won, 3-1.
Reid recorded the loss in the circle, dropping to 0-1 on the young season. She struck out four in three innings of work while allowing three runs and five hits.
The Jayhawks face tournament-host Jacksonville later this evening at 4:30 p.m. (CT), at the Pruitt Softball Complex.
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