Kansas downs Nevada in series finale, 13-5
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas softball concluded its 2017 nonconference slate in dominating fashion with a 13-5 victory over Nevada on Sunday afternoon at Free State High School.
The Jayhawks (24-23) took the series after winning the final two games of the weekend. KU bounced back from a series-opening loss to Wolf Pack (23-19) take its second series victory of the season.
“To lose your first game of the series is tough and you’ve got to really fight back to salvage the series,” said head coach Megan Smith. “And, we did that. The message that I gave to the team last night was to come out with vengeance.”
Junior Harli Ridling
Kansas’ offense hit a season-high 17 hits compared to Nevada’s four in game three. Five Jayhawks recorded multi-hit efforts, including 4-for-4 performance from sophomore outfielder Emily Bermel and a 4-for-5 effort from junior outfielder Erin McGinley. McGinley also led the team with five RBIs.
“I felt like everyone came together and we were strong one through nine today, which was great to see,” Smith said. “We had a decent effort yesterday offensively and Friday we didn’t quite do what we needed to do. The bottom of our order absolutely did a great job and really fueled us, so I was really excited about our offense.”
For the first game in the series, Nevada put a run on the scoreboard first in the opening frame. Leadoff batter Rocky Martinez scored for the Wolf Pack on a fielder’s choice and gave Nevada the 1-0 advantage early on in the ballgame.
Nevada extended its lead, 2-0, in the second inning with a solo home run from senior designated player Nikki Orozco. She has two long balls on the season and drove in her 14th run of 2017.
In the bottom of the second, junior catcher Harli Ridling cut Nevada’s lead in half with her 11th home run of the season. Ridling’s solo shot over the fence in left field put Kansas on the scoreboard, but KU still trailed, 2-1.
Freshman hurler Mandy Roberts entered the circle in relief of sophomore Alexis Reid in the third inning. Roberts worked around a pair if walk to throw KU’s first shutout frame of the day. The Lee’s Summit, Missouri native struck out three and improved to 4-3 on the season with the victory in the circle.
In the home half of the third, Bermel led off the frame with a walk and was bunted into scoring position. McGinley didn’t leave Bermel at second base for long and brought her home with a single through the right side. McGinley’s RBI single tied the game. With the bases loaded, Kansas was able to take the lead, 3-2, after the go ahead run scored on a wild pitch.
McGinley increased KU’s advantage in the bottom of the fourth with a two-RBI single through the right side, her second base hit of the game. McGinley’s RBI totaled raised to three on the day as Kansas lead was extended, 5-2.
Junior infielder Jessie Roane continued the fourth inning rally with a sacrifice fly to centerfield before Ridling drove in another run with a double down the left field line. After scoring four runs in the fourth, Kansas headed to the fifth frame with a 7-2 advantage over the Wolf Pack.
Nevada added two runs in the top of the fifth before junior Sarah Miller could get out of the inning. After the Wolf Pack plated a pair of runs, Kansas’ lead was trimmed, 7-4.
Kansas answered in the bottom of the fifth frame after Bermel drove in KU’s eighth run of the game with a single to centerfield, which ignited a four-run rally for the Jayhawks. McGinley and Ridling drove in another run each with base hits, while Roane drew a bases loaded walk for her second RBI of the game. After back-to-back four-run innings, Kansas headed into the sixth with an 11-4 lead.
With the bases loaded, Nevada was able to push a run across on a ground out in the top of the sixth. Despite plating its fifth run of the day, Kansas maintained it leads, 11-5.
After giving up a run, Kansas’ offense went back to work in the batter’s box in the bottom of the sixth. The Jayhawks opened the frame with three-straight base hits to load the bases. With a KU runner on each bag, McGinley drove in yet another run with a single up the middle before Ridling brought home the game-ending run after getting hit by a pitch.
With a 13-5 run-rule victory, Kansas took the series against Nevada by winning the final two games of the series.
The Jayhawks continue their six-game homestand with Texas April 28-30 at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park. The series begins on Friday, April 28 at 5 p.m., on the Jayhawk Radio Network and FCS.
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