Gayre’s three-run homer lifts Kansas past Missouri State, 7-6
SAN ANTONIO — Shelby Gayre strikes again.
For the second-straight week, the freshman from D’Hanis, Texas, knocked a three-run home run out of the park as a pinch hitter. Sunday’s three-run homer gave Kansas the go-ahead runs in the bottom of the sixth inning of a 7-6 win over Missouri State at Roadrunner Field on the final day of the UTSA Softball Tournament.
“I’m ecstatic for Shelby. She is a great kid, hard worker, cares so much and does anything we ask. She is a force,” Kansas head coach Megan Smith said.
Senior right fielder Erin McGinley and freshman designated player Tarin Travieso led off the sixth inning with back-to-back singles to setup Gayre’s three-run homer over the left field fence. Gayre pinch hit for freshman centerfielder Brittany Jackson, who is primarily a slapper, at the top of the lineup.
“Before the sixth inning started, I decided that if there were runners in scoring position when it gets to Brittany (Jackson), Shelby will pinch hit,” Smith said. “Shelby knew that and was prepared to go to the plate. I have a ton of confidence in her. That was big-time hit.”
Gayre previously hit a three-run home run during a 6-1 victory over College of Charleston last Sunday.
Junior pitcher Brynn Minor (2-0) threw three no-hit innings to clinch the victory for Jayhawks (8-2). Minor struck out two and allowed only two base runners during her three-inning relief appearance for starter Andie Formby.
“With Andie having to come out and face the same lineup in back-to-back days is difficult,” Smith said considering Formby’s complete-game shutout against the Bears on Saturday. “Brynn came in and completely shut it down. Our offense never lost hope and fought to the end. I can’t say enough about how gritty of a performance was from the entire team.”
Kansas showed its grit by not flinching when facing deficits of 3-0 and 6-3, and overcoming the loss of starting freshman shortstop Sydnee Ramsey due to injury.
Sophomore first baseman Becki Monaghan homered to right field to put the Jayhawks on the scoreboard after a three-run second inning for Missouri State.
Travieso driving in her eighth RBI of the weekend in the bottom third inning was the Jayhawks’ response to a Missouri State home run in the top half of the third inning. Ramsey exited the game on the same play as Travieso’s RBI single, falling injured while running from second to third.
The Bears took a 6-3 lead with two runs in the top of the fourth inning, but senior catcher Harli Ridling brought the Jayhawks within two, 6-4, in the bottom of the fifth with KU’s second of three home runs on the day.
Junior shortstop Miranda Rodriguez entered the game for Ramsey and proceeded to record four putouts in the field, including the final out for the Jayhawks in the top of the seventh.
Missouri State’s Kaitlin Beason (0-2) gave up the go-ahead KU runs in sixth inning to receive the loss. The Bears fall to 4-5 on the season after losing back-to-back against the Jayhawks to conclude the weekend in San Antonio.
KU’s third week of the regular season will be in Arkansas for the UCA Invitational, hosted by the University of Central Arkansas. The Jayhawks will have five games against five different teams during the three-day event starting Thursday, Feb. 22, and concluding on Saturday, Feb. 24. Teams in the UCA Invitational include Louisiana-Monroe, Central Arkansas, Coppin State, Boise State and Austin Peay.
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