Kansas splits doubleheader at UIW
SAN ANTONIO — Kansas softball split a doubleheader against University of the Incarnate Word on Wednesday at Cardinals Field. The Jayhawks shutout UIW in the first game, 5-0, followed by a 1-0 loss.
Kansas (23-7) extended its winning streak to four games, including three-straight shutout victories, before the tables turned and the Cardinals (6-15) held the Jayhawks’ offense scoreless for just the second time this season.
Junior pitcher Andie Formby (11-2) tossed her third-straight complete-game shutout victory with a career-high 10 strikeouts during game one. Formby held UIW to just six hits in seven innings pitched. The California native has now thrown 30.2 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run.
Formby recorded four strikeouts through the first seven batters she faced during innings one and two. UIW’s best opportunity to score came in the first game came in the third inning as three hits loaded the bases for the Cardinals. Formby halted any of UIW’s momentum as she dialed up the heat for her fifth strikeout for the second out of the inning and forcing a fly ball to end the inning unscathed.
After freshman shortstop Shelby Gayre — playing in front of a throng of friends and family who traveled from her nearby hometown of D’Hanis, Texas — led off the fourth inning with a walk, sophomore Sam Dellinger produced the first run of the day for the Jayhawks with a double deep to the centerfield fence.
The first six Jayhawks to visit the plate in the fifth inning reached base, paving the way for a four-run inning and a commanding 5-0 lead. Freshman centerfielder Brittany Jackson led off the fifth with a double and was driven home as a senior Jessie Roane hit into a fielding error to UIW’s shortstop.
With two runners on base and no outs in the fifth, senior catcher Harli Ridling pulled a three-run home run past the left field fence to give the Jayhawks a five-run lead. It was Ridling’s fifth homer of the season and 33rd of her career, moving into sole position of third place on KU’s all-time home runs list. Ridling was previously tied with Liz Kocon (2008-12). Chaley Brickey (2013-16), KU’s current volunteer assistant coach, is second with 39 and Serena Settlemier (2002-06) leads with 44.
Working with a 5-0 lead, Formby allowed just two base runners in the final three innings as she reached double-figure strikeouts (10) for the first time of her three-year collegiate career.
During game two, senior Sarah Miller (6-2) started the second game of the day in the circle, and had one of her best performances despite the losing decision. Miller allowed just three hits and one run with seven strikeouts in her third complete-game effort this season. Her seven Ks are the most since striking out nine in her season debut against Stetson on Feb. 9.
Miller displayed dominance and poise throughout her seven innings pitched. She threw two 1-2-3 innings in the second and fifth innings and fired three strikeouts in the third inning. She also was un-phased by pressure, leaving seven Cardinals on base — four of whom were in scoring position.
But the Jayhawks offense was held to a perplexing four hits and no runs by UIW pitcher Breanna Hernandez (1-5), who earned her first victory of the season in the circle on Wednesday.
UIW’s only run of the day came after a leadoff walk in the bottom of the sixth inning. Following two-straight ground-outs, the leadoff runner was advanced to third base. Nina Flores, who finished game two 2-for-3 at the plate, drove in the go-ahead run from third with a two-out RBI single to right field.
Wednesday’s doubleheader was the first time Kansas and UIW met on the softball diamond.
Kansas opens Big 12 play with a three-game series at Texas starting Friday in Austin. All three games of the series will be televised on Longhorn Network.
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