Kansas blasts Iowa State, 12-4
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Harli Ridling homered twice and Erin McGinley once as the pair of seniors began Senior Day weekend by leading Kansas softball to a resounding 12-4 run-rule victory over Iowa State in six innings on Friday evening at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park.
Kansas (26-24, 1-15 Big 12) snaps a 13-game losing streak after defeating the Cyclones (22-29, 3-13) for its first conference win of the season.
“Obviously, it’s great to finally get a win in the Big 12. Offensively, we showed what we are capable of doing — and what we did during the first half of the season,” Kansas head coach Megan Smith said. “It was good to see our seniors step up and do some big things. Erin and Harli had some huge hits for us.”
Ridling’s pair of home runs drove in a total of four runs, while McGinley’s three hits, including a home run, also produced four runs. Freshman shortstop Shelby Gayre went 2-for-4 at the plate with three RBIs to round out the trio of Jayhawks who drove in all 12 of the team’s runs on Friday.
Among KU’s 12 hits and three home runs, perhaps none was more important that Ridling’s first-inning two-run homer. Iowa State’s Sydney Stites hit a two-run home run in the top of the first to give the Cyclones an early 2-0 lead, but Ridling responded in the bottom half of the frame with a two-run blast of her own to tie the game at two apiece.
“That was the biggest hit of the game in my opinion,” Smith asserted. “Even though we gave up a home run in the top of the first, Harli didn’t back down, which sent a message to our team that we were going to be able to score runs and be successful offensively.”
And successful the Jayhawks were — tying a season-high 12 runs for the third time and not striking out at the plate for the third time this season. KU’s dozen runs are the most since a 12-1 win at Central Arkansas on Feb. 25.
The Star Wars Day victory was also the fourth KU win this season to come in walk-off fashion. After sixth-inning home runs by both McGinley and Ridling, senior Annie Mehringer and Gayre capped off the win with back-to-back doubles with no outs in the bottom of the sixth. Gayre was credited with her third walk-off hit of the season as she traded places with Mehringer on an RBI double to right field.
Junior pitcher Andie Formby (12-10) earned the winning decision in the circle, striking out six in her 15th complete-game effort of the season. Iowa State’s Emma Hylen (10-11) received the loss after giving up eight runs — three earned — during the Cyclone loss. Hylen and ISU relief pitcher Julie Lewis both threw 2 2/3 innings with 54 pitches.
Senior infielder Jessie Roane doubled twice for her 51st-career double, which passes Maggie Hull-Tietz (50) for third on KU’s all-time doubles list. Roane has a team-high 16 two-base knocks this season.
Saturday’s game between Kansas and Iowa State is Senior Day for KU’s group of eight graduating seniors — Formby, McGinley, Ridling, Roane, Mehringer, Amanda Organ, Sarah Miller and Mikayla Warren. First pitch for game two of the three-game series between the Jayhawks and Cyclones is at 2 p.m.