Balanced offense lifts Kansas past Iowa, 6-2
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas softball completed a Sunday sweep with the winning combination of a balanced offense and complete-game performance in the circle. The perfect combo lifted the Jayhawks to a 6-2 victory over Iowa at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park.
Sophomore hurler Alexis Reid tossed her ninth complete game of the season in her second start of the weekend and improved to 2-0 in the Jayhawk Invitational. The Blue Springs, Missouri native struck out a career-high eight batters in her eighth victory of her sophomore campaign.
“Alexis (Reid) has gotten a lot of great experience and she’s using it to get better,” said head coach Megan Smith. “She’s never satisfied. She came out on Friday, won the game and threw well, but she wanted to do better and she did that today against a good team in Iowa.”
To compliment Reid’s gem in the circle, Kansas’ (15-9) offense produced a balanced attack at the plate through seven innings and recorded six runs on nine hits, including three extra-base hits. The Jayhawks took the lead right out of the gate, but Hawkeyes evened the score each time KU established an advantage.
“We set the tone well early and I was the most proud of how we answered back both times that Iowa scored,” Smith said. “It was huge for us to keep our composure, to get back in the dugout and find a way to get the run back.”
It wasn’t until the fourth frame that Kansas’ lead remained intact and Iowa didn’t have answer for the Jayhawks’ offense. Junior Erin McGinley provided the go ahead run in the fourth inning, a solo homer to right field, before KU added three more insurance runs late in the game and sealed its second victory of the day.
“Tonight’s game our offense was really balanced,” said Smith. “We had our short game, we were doing some situational hitting, we got some sac flies and home runs, and that’s going to be a big part of our success. It’s not going to be just hitting home runs, but we are going to have to work together as a team. That has been our goal all week is to get them working as a team and tonight was a great example of a team win in all aspects.”
Reid gave up a leadoff walk to begin her second appearance of the weekend, but junior catcher Harli Ridling threw the runner out at second to help Reid retire the batters in order in the first frame. Ridling carried the momentum of her defensive play over into the bottom half of the inning and gave Kansas the lead with a RBI single to centerfield. Ridling’s first hit of the game put KU ahead, 1-0.
In the second inning, Iowa answered with the tying run reaching on an error. Outfielder Angela Schmiederer drove in the tying run with a single to centerfield, but the even score wouldn’t last long before the Jayhawks answered back.
Sophomore outfielder Emily Bermel started a two-out rally in the bottom half of the second, giving KU the go ahead run aboard. Senior Lily Behrmann doubled off the wall in left field, bringing Bermel home and regaining the lead, 2-1, for Kansas.
For the second time in the ballgame, the Hawkeyes evened the score. Designated player Brooke Rozier hit a solo shot over the fence in left field just fair of the foul pole to tie the game, 2-2, in the fourth inning. Despite the tying run crossing home plate, Reid worked her way out of the top half of the frame and stranded Iowa’s go ahead run at first base.
Kansas wasted little time reestablishing the lead over the Hawkeyes in the bottom half of the fourth inning. McGinley led off the frame with a solo home run to right field as Kansas took back it’s one-run advantage.
With a 3-2 lead heading into the sixth, Kansas added three insurance runs before the game was over. Senior infielder Taylor McElhaney entered the batter’s box with a Jayhawk on each base and recorded a sacrifice fly to right field, her first RBI of the night. Following the sac fly from McElhaney, Bermel cleared the bases with a laser over the centerfielder’s reach and slid in for a triple. Bermel’s triple, her second hit of the game, increased KU’s lead, 6-2, with half of an inning remaining.
Reid headed back to the circle with three outs standing between her and her eighth win of the year. Reid gave up her fifth hit of the ballgame before retiring the side and improving to 8-4 in the circle with a 6-2 victory. Reid struck out eight in her complete-game effort, while allowing one earned run and one walk.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.