Pitching, late home runs power KU past SIUE, 4-1
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas softball held SIU-Edwardsville to one hit while late home runs by seniors Erin McGinley and Harli Ridling powered the Jayhawks past the Cougars, 4-1, on Wednesday at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park.
McGinley finished the day 2 for 4 at the plate and began the day just as hot as she finished. The senior from Kansas City roped a one-out double in the first inning to setup an RBI double by freshman utility Tarin Travieso, which gave KU a 1-0 lead after one inning.
The Jayhawks (24-10) held on to a 1-0 lead as junior starting pitcher Andie Formby threw four no-hit innings in the circle.
Formby’s first and only hit of the day was a solo home run by SIUE’s pinch-hitting Conner Cutright to lead off the top of the fifth inning. Two batters later, Kansas switched pitchers to senior Sarah Miller (7-4) with one runner on base and two outs. Formby finished with 4.1 innings pitched, one hit allowed and three strikeouts.
“I was really pleased with our overall performance. I think the pitchers — both Andie and Sarah — had phenomenal days,” Kansas head coach Megan Smith said. “Andie was in control. When we switched, Sarah fought each at-bat and showed some real mental toughness. She came through with some big strikeouts.”
Miller threw 2.2 innings with four strikeouts, including three Ks in the sixth inning alone, without allowing a hit to keep SIUE scoreless in the final frames of the contest and earn the victory as KU’s bats warmed up late in the game.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, McGinely slammed a two-out solo home run to right-center to give the Jayhawks a 2-1 lead. After sophomore Madison Sykes singled, Ridling kept the offense going with her team-leading sixth homer of the season — a two-run blast past the left field fence for a 4-1 KU lead.
“Erin has been hitting really well as of late,” Smith said. “SIUE has a very good pitching staff and the better pitching we face, the better Erin hits. That’s always great to see as we get into conference play. She and Harli came through big-time for us today.”
Miller retired the Cougars (11-10) in order in the top of the seventh to close the door on the Kansas victory.
KU’s one hit allowed ties a season low set when Miller and Formby flip-flopped Wednesday’s roles at Stetson on Feb. 9, with Miller starting the game and Formby finishing the 2-1 victory in relief.
With 24 wins after 34 games, the Jayhawks have already matched last season’s wins total (24-28).
Kansas hosts a three-game series against Colorado State, March 30-31, at Arrocha Ballpark this weekend. Friday, March 30, will be a doubleheader against the Rams during Public Safety Day. Saturday, March 31, will be the annual Orange Game benefiting Jayhawks for a Cure and kidney cancer awareness.
“The Orange Game is very special for me personally and for my son, Cooper,” Smith shared. “We remember (my late husband) Paul (Buske) all the time — every single day. It’s awesome to have a day where we share his story and have other people remember him and many others who have been affected by kidney cancer. That’s what this is all about.”
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