Gayre’s walk-off hit lifts Kansas over Elon, 2-1
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Kansas softball freshman Shelby Gayre came through in the clutch with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning to power a 2-1 victory over Elon on Friday afternoon in game one off the Carolina Classic at Anderson Stadium.
Freshman Tarin Travieso reached base in the bottom of the eighth on a four-pitch walk, followed by a single by Erin McGinley to put a runner in scoring position for Gayre. Gayre drove a 1-0 pitch down the left field line to score freshman Addie Balderston, who pinch ran for Travieso, from second base and give KU its second extra-inning victory of the season.
“When you think of toughness, you think of Shelby,” Kansas head coach Megan Smith said. “Watching her approach to an at-bat, it is apparent that she is confident and you have a feeling that she is going to do something good. She has been clutch for us all season and she didn’t disappoint today either.”
Gayre, a native of D’Hanis, Texas, is no stranger to clutch hits during her debut season as a Jayhawk. Her first-career hit was a three-run home run as a pinch hitter during a 6-1 victory over College of Charleston. Her next hit was also a three-run home run as a pinch hitter to give KU the go-ahead 7-6 lead over Missouri State in the top of seventh inning.
Junior pitcher Brynn Minor (4-0) picked up the victory in the circle after tossing 1.1 shutout innings of relief for starter Andie Formby. Formby allowed just one run with four strikeouts in 6.2 innings during her ninth start of the season.
Minor entered the circle in the top of the seventh with two outs and a runner in scoring position. The 2017 NJCAA National Player of the Year struck out the only batter she faced in the seventh and tossed a gritty 26-pitch eighth inning — aided by a catcher Harli Ridling diving to snag a popup in foul territory — to keep the Phoenix at bay.
“Andie threw a great game — she threw really, really well and Brynn complemented her extremely well when she came in,” Smith said. “Brynn is that she is going to go right after hitters. She is not going to mess around — she went right after their hitters to finish the seventh inning well.”
Sophomore Sam Dellinger got things rolling for KU offensively with a first-pitch double to deep left field near the foul pole in the first inning. Senior Jessie Roane, who has been clutch with runners in scoring position all season, lived up to her reputation by registering an RBI double through the gap in left-center field to drive in Dellinger for an early 1-0 KU lead.
After her first-inning RBI, Roane improves to a .667 batting average (10-for-15) with runners in scoring position this season, while adding to her conference-leading totals for doubles (7) and RBIs (20). As a team, Kansas leads the Big 12 with 28 doubles through 16 games this season.
“Jessie is phenomenal right now,” Smith said. “Her consistency is what is setting her apart. It’s awesome to see her and her progression. She has always been a very tough player for us and a very good offensive player, but she is taking it to a new level her senior season.”
Elon’s only run of the day came on a leadoff home run by Hannah Olson in the sixth inning. The Phoenix fall to 9-5 on the season.
Friday marked the first meeting between Kansas and Elon.
Kansas continues the Carolina Classic on Saturday with two games — the first against Harvard at 11 a.m. Central time and the second against host North Carolina immediately following the completion of Kansas-Harvard.
— Kansas Softball (@KUSoftball) March 2, 2018
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