Jayhawks power past Green Bay, 12-0
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas softball didn’t waste any time showcasing its offensive power in front of the home crowd and powered past Green Bay, 12-0, in its home opener on Friday afternoon inside Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park.
The Jayhawks (13-9) outhit the Phoenix, 11-2, in their first game of the Jayhawk Invitational with four different KU players recording a multi-hit effort. Junior catcher Harli Ridling drove in a team-best five runs after a 2-for-2 performance at the plate. Junior utility Jessie Roane also had a perfect day in the batter’s box after a 3-for-3 effort with three RBIs.
“We’ve been talking about playing as a team, so this was big,” said head coach Megan Smith. “One person may come up and not get the job done, but the next person has to have their back. I thought the first inning was a great example of us doing that. Jessie (Roane) stepped up and had her teammates backs by coming through with a big hit. Setting the tone early is really important and our team kind of rolled from there.”
Freshman infielder Madison Sykes ignited the offense in the opening inning with a triple of the wall in right centerfield in her first at bat inside Arrocha Ballpark. Roane stepped into the plate and brought Sykes home with a double to right center, as Kansas took a 1-0 lead early on. Ridling traded places with Roane at second base, giving Kansas a 2-0 lead in the first. Green Bay ended the opening frame without further harm, but it wouldn’t slow KU’s offense for long. Sophomore Emily Bermel
Kansas’ bats picked up where they left off in the second inning and loaded the bases with a pair of base knocks and a walk. With a Jayhawk on each base, junior outfielder Erin McGinley drove in KU’s third run of the ballgame with a sacrifice fly to centerfield. Roane added another run, her second RBI of the afternoon, with a base hit. Ridling connected for her second hit of the day in the second frame, a three-run home run, as Kansas took a 7-0 lead into the third inning.
The Jayhawks’ power at the plate wasn’t the only aspect of KU’s game that set the tone early on. Sophomore hurler Alexis Reid earned her 12th start of the season and sat the first seven batters she faced down in order. She kept the Phoenix’s hitters at bay through four innings and hitless for the first two frames.
“Alexis was great,” Smith said of the sophomore’s performance in the circle. “She was in control and kept their hitters at bay. She set a great tone in the first with a 1-2-3 inning. That is something that coach Butler has been talking to the pitchers about – doing a better job in the first inning and today Alexis did that, which is exciting.”
It wasn’t until the third inning that Green Bay recorded one of its two hits. Reid finished the day with a pair of strikeouts and allowed no walks. She improved to 7-4 in the circle with a victory on Friday afternoon.
Kansas added five more runs on three hits in the third inning, as KU’s offense continued to produce runs as the game went on. An error brought home the first KU run of the frame before Sykes, Roane and Ridling drove in the final four Kansas runs of the afternoon. In her first game in front of the home crowd, Sykes went 3-for-3 with a pair of RBIs.
In the fourth inning, Kansas was held scoreless for the first time, but the Jayhawks early offensive attacked proved to be enough for a 12-0 victory in shortened five-inning game. With the win on Friday afternoon, Kansas is now 6-2 in home openers under Smith.
Kansas continues action at Rock Chalk Park on Saturday, March 11, against Drake at 1:15 p.m., at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park.
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