Jayhawks Clinch Series, Down Red Raiders, 6-2
LAWRENCE, Kan. – With a sea of Orange in the stands to raise awareness for kidney cancer, Kansas softball clinched the series over Texas Tech, 6-2, on Saturday afternoon at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park. The victory over the Red Raiders marks the second-straight ‘Jayhawks for a Cure’ win.
The afternoon started with head coach Megan Smith’s young son, Cooper Buske, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game to honor his late father. Buske’s father, Paul, lost his battle to kidney cancer in June of 2011.
After starting the afternoon with an emotional tribute to Smith’s late husband, the Jayhawks went to work with a little extra motivation – playing for all those affected by cancer.
“It’s a special day to remember my husband, Paul, but for anyone that is fighting that battle,” Smith said. “We have a lot of players, who have family members that are affected by cancer, so today in our pregame huddle we said their names and we were playing for them. We honored them really well with the way we played today, in every aspect of the game.”
Freshman right-hander Alexis Reid worked around a pair of walks and a base hit to start the game. With the help of a double play turned by senior shortstop Chaley Brickey, Reid tossed the first of four scoreless frames to open the game.Junior Taylor McElhaney
“Alexis (Reid) did an excellent job,” said Smith. “After yesterday, their offense was chomping at the bit and Alexis did a great job setting the tone for the game for our entire team.”
In the first game of the series, it took Kansas four innings before claiming the lead, but on Saturday the Jayhawks gained an early advantage in the bottom of the first frame. Sophomore outfielder Erin McGinley drove in the first KU run of the after with a two-out double to left center. Her RBI-double gave Kansas a 1-0 lead over the Red Raiders heading into the second inning.
“We had a lot of clutch hits,” Smith said. “Erin in the first inning with two outs was huge to come through (with the hit). I think we are getting more confident offensively and instead of it taking three innings, we saw runs in the first two, which is the confidence coming from yesterday.”
Texas Tech threatened to even the game in the second. With two outs, the Red Raiders loaded the bases, putting the tying run 60 feet from home. Despite the offensive pressure from TTU, Reid induced a fielder’s choice end the inning and the threat by the Red Raiders.
In the bottom of the second, sophomore third baseman Jessie Roane increased Kansas’ advantage with a solo home run that sailed just fair of the foul pole in left field. Roane’s fifth long ball of 2016 extended KU’s lead, 2-0, over Texas Tech.
Kansas added a run in the fourth after Roane flew out to right field, which allowed Erin McGinley to come home. McGinley slid home just before the throw to home plate from the outfield. Pinch hitter Taylor Dodson brought home the second run of the fourth inning with a RBI single through the left side. Brickey kept the line moving with a RBI double down the left field line while Shannon McGinley followed with a five-pitch walk to load the bases, but Texas Tech ended the frame with the bases still loaded. After a three-run fourth inning, Kansas took a 5-0 lead into the fifth.
Texas Tech junior catcher Susan Welborn drove in a pair of runs with two outs in the top of the fifth with a single to centerfield. A third runner attempted to cross home plate, but outfielder Brianna Evans throw home and redshirt sophomore catcher Harli Ridling applied the tag to end the inning. Following the Red Raiders two-out tally, Kansas headed to the bottom half of the fifth with a 5-2 advantage.
In five innings of work, Reid struck out three while allowing two earned runs and eight hits. The Blue Springs, Missouri native improved to 3-5 on the season with her third victory. She has recorded a win in each of her last three starts.
The Jayhawks answered in the bottom of the fifth after Evans recorded a RBI single to left field. Evans run batted in increased KU’s lead over Texas Tech, 6-2. The senior from Tulsa, Oklahoma finished the day 3-for-3 at the plate with a run scored and a RBI.
Kansas outhit the Red Raiders, 12-9, for the second game in a row. Evans led the way with three hits, while Erin McGinley and Ridling posted multi-hit efforts at the plate with two runs each. Roane ended the day 1-for-2 with a team-best two RBIs.
Sophomore hurler Andie Formby took over in the circle in the sixth. Formby hurled two scoreless innings and shut down any hopes of a late Red Raider rally, as Kansas clinched the series with a 6-2 victory.
Kansas concludes its three-game Big 12 Conference series against Texas Tech Sunday, April 17 at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park. It’s Bark in the Park for the finale against the Red Raiders. All dogs are admitted for free with a donation to the Lawrence Humane Society. First pitch is slated for 12 p.m. on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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