Jayhawks Fall to Wichita State in Extra Innings, 6-1
LAWRENCE, Kan. –For the second game in a row, Kansas softball played into extra innings to decide the outcome, only this time found themselves on the losing end, as Wichita State surged past the Jayhawks, 6-1, on Tuesday evening at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park.
The Shockers scored six unanswered runs, including five runs on five hits in the top of the eighth to hand Kansas (19-11) its 11th loss of the season. WSU outhit Kansas, 13-6, marking the ninth time KU has been outhit by an opponent. Three of the Jayhawks’ six hits came at the end of sophomore third baseman Jessie Roane’s bat. She also drove in Kansas’ lone run.
“I’ll be honest, offense as a team is not our strong suit,” said head coach Megan Smith. “We’ve got some great offensive players, but as a whole we aren’t putting it together right now. It can be a strong suit, if we put it all together, but right now it’s in pieces. One night the bottom of the order shows up and the next night the top of the order shows up, so the potential is just that right now and it’s not coming together with all nine.”
Kansas’ offense threatened right out of the gate after a pair of Jayhawks reached base in the bottom of the first. Senior outfielder Shannon McGinley leadoff with a base hit to right field to jump start the offense, as senior shortstop Chaley Brickey drew her 127th career walk to give KU two runners on board. The Jayhawks advanced into scoring position, but remained at second and third after Wichita State ended the threat by retiring the side.
Wichita State answered in the next half inning with two base runners, but sophomore Andie Formby ended the threat unharmed. Formby threw four and one-third scoreless innings before the Shockers were able to push a run across in the fifth. Formby fell to 11-3 on the season after the loss in the circle. She struck out five while allowing six earned runs in seven and one-third innings of work.
“I left her in there for the eighth because she is our pitcher and she has thrown extremely well,” Smith said. “We are going to go with our best in critical situations. You have to give credit to Wichita State, they have a great offensive team and always have. They are a tough team to pitch to and I thought Andie threw a great seven innings.”
Roane gave Kansas a one-run lead after hitting a solo home run over the fence in left centerfield, just under the scoreboard. Roane’s third long ball of the season gave the Jayhawks a 1-0 advantage heading into the third frame. Kansas has registered 35 home runs this season, the most by a Big 12 team in 2016.
In the top of the fifth, Wichita State evened the score after a ground out to first base plated the first Shocker run. Junior infielder Kelli Spring represented the second out of the frame with the ground out, but allowed the tying run to cross home plate. Spring’s RBI halted Formby’s scoreless streak at 23 and one-third innings, her second-longest scoreless streak of 2016.
Redshirt sophomore catcher Harli Ridling caught a Shocker runner attempting to steal second base, but Ridling’s putout ended the frame. After allowing a run in the fourth, Formby recorded another scoreless inning as the top of the fifth came to a close. Formby tossed two more scoreless innings before Wichita State would take the lead with a late-inning rally.
The Shockers threatened in the top of the sixth after a pair of base runners reached on back-to-back base hits. With two outs and a pair of Wichita State runners on board, Formby calmly collected her fifth strikeout of the outing to end the frame. Kansas headed to the bottom half of the seventh with ballgame tied, 1-1. Sophomore first baseman Daniella Chavez was intentionally walked with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. WSU reliever Jenni Brooks recorded the third out to send the game into extra innings. Brooks improved to 9-3 in the circle after the late rally by the WSU offense.
Wichita State took the lead in the top of the eighth after scoring five runs on five hits. Kansas couldn’t match the Shockers eighth-inning rally and fell in extra innings, 6-1. Kansas drops to 1-2 in extended inning games this season.
The Jayhawks open their Big 12 slate on the road at Oklahoma April 1-3. Kansas’ three-game series with the Sooners will air on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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