Jayhawks run-rule Ladyjacks, 11-1
CONWAY, Ark. — As the rain poured, so did the runs for Kansas softball on Friday as the Jayhawks opened the University of Central Arkansas Invitational with an 11-1 victory over Stephen F. Austin in a five-inning contest, shortened by the run rule.
While the central Arkansas region is in the middle of a flood watch from Thursday until early Sunday, the Jayhawks and Ladyjacks weathered the moderate-to-heavy rain during parts of the game without delays thanks to the artificial surface at UCA’s Farris Field.
Kansas (9-2) broke out to an 8-0 lead by the end of the second inning and didn’t look back.
“With the forecast looking ominous, we feel really lucky that we were able to get a game in today,” Kansas head coach Megan Smith said. “It’s hard to keep your focus when you’re kind of unsure if you’ll play or not with the weather conditions. I thought our team came out loose and attacked the game on all sides. We are excited about the way we played.”
Seniors Jessie Roane, Erin McGinley and Harli Ridling combined to drive in eight of KU’s 11 runs, while junior pitcher Andie Formby (4-0) remained unbeaten in the circle.
McGinley recorded her first multi-hit game of the young season, going 2-for-3 at the plate with four RBIs, including a three-RBI double in the first inning. Ridling extended her hitting streak to five games with a 2-for-4 showing at the plate. Roane blasted her third home run of the season, a two-run homer to put the Jayhawks ahead 11-1 in the third inning; Roane is now 5-for-7 with runners in scoring position this season.
Formby threw her fourth complete-game of the season with eight strikeouts in five innings of work. The California native remained aggressive in the circle with a string of four-straight strikeouts between the second and third innings.
“There were tough conditions for a pitcher today and Andie showed a lot of poise,” Smith said. “Andie was solid and steady. She controlled pretty much the entire game.”
In her fifth game as the starting designated player, freshman Tarin Travieso hit her first-career double, drew two walks, drove in two runs and scored two runs. Since being inserted into the starting lineup five games ago, Travieso has totaled six hits, 10 RBIs, five runs scored and two home runs.
Stephen F. Austin, which was added to the UCA Invitational on Thursday after Boise State dropped out, falls to 6-5 on the year. Margarita Corona drove in SFA’s lone run of the game on a two-out RBI single in the third inning. Apart from the third inning, Kansas allowed just three SFA base runners on Friday.
Freshman backup catcher Shelby Gayre ventured into new territory by making her first start at the shortstop position, replacing fellow freshman Sydnee Ramsey who suffered a season-ending knee injury at UTSA last week.
“Shelby played shortstop in high school, but honestly, it was an offensive decision,” Smith said. “We have some good defensive shortstops, but we opted to put her bat in the lineup after she has come up big (with two three-run home runs) in two pinch-hit opportunities. For a freshman to just get thrown in to start a position that hadn’t played in a while takes toughness. She’s about as tough as they come.”
Kansas is slated to play Austin Peay on Saturday morning at 11:30 a.m., on day two of the UCA Invitational. If the forecasted rain and thunderstorms forces the game to be canceled, it will be postponed to Sunday.
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