McGinley lifts Kansas past No. 14 Baylor, 6-4
LAWRENCE, Kan. – With one swing of the bat, junior outfielder Erin McGinley snapped Kansas softball’s 10-game losing skid to No. 14 Baylor after delivering a walk-off home run in the 10th inning. McGinley’s late-game heroics lifted the Jayhawks over the Lady Bears, 6-4, on Saturday night at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park.
On a day that was all about honoring those who have and are fighting a battle against cancer, KU (19-13, 1-1 Big 12) showcased it was capable of fighting too. The Jayhawks came from behind to earn their first win over a nationally-ranked opponent this season and marks the eighth year in a row to upset at least one ranked foe.
Kansas evened the score in the sixth inning and starter Alexis Reid kept Baylor’s (27-6, 1-1 Big 12) offense at bay for the next three innings allowing KU time to mount the comeback. It took 10 innings, but McGinley completed the rally with a walk-off home run. Her two-run shot to centerfield marked the second walk-off victory via home run in the last two weekends.Junior Erin McGinley
“We told the team between games that we can fix what we didn’t do well and go out and fight,” said head coach Megan Smith. “I felt like we did that. We got down early, but we bounced back and fought. You can see all the zeros on the scoreboard at the end of the game. Alexis Reid fought her butt off in the circle. That was fun to watch.”
With a gutsy performance in the circle, Reid improved to 11-7 on the season. She struck out four en route to her first Big 12 victory of her sophomore campaign.
“One of the things you are the most proud of as a coach is when a player has not as good of an outing as they should’ve have, but when they get the ball again and do what Alexis did tonight,” Smith said. “That’s the story of Alexis. She went out in our midweek and didn’t have her best, but came out today and was fighting. She gutted it out and that was fun to see.”
A leadoff home run from junior outfielder Jessie Scroggins gave Baylor a 1-0 advantage right out of the gate in game two of the doubleheader. The Lady Bears extended their lead, 2-0, with another run in the second frame.
Kansas threatened in the bottom of the second inning as freshman first baseman Becki Monaghan recorded KU’s second hit of the game. She advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt, but was stranded in scoring position as Baylor ended the frame and kept shutout intact. Kansas went on to outhit Baylor, 12-8, in the second game of the doubleheader.
The Jayhawks opened the bottom of the third inning off with back-to-back singles as Kansas threatened again. Senior outfielder Lily Behrmann moved the runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt back at BU’s pitcher. Junior infielder Jessie Roane tied the game, 2-2, with a two-RBI double to left centerfield before Baylor could get out of the inning.
After giving up two runs in the opening two frames, Reid tossed two shutout innings before Baylor’s offense was able to put a couple more runs on the scoreboard. She gave up eight hits and three earned runs in her 19th start of the year. She went the distance throwing her 12th complete-game effort of the year.
With two runners in scoring position, Kansas had an opportunity to take its first lead of the ballgame in the bottom of the fourth. Roane capitalized on the runners in scoring position and drove in the go ahead run with an infield single. The junior’s third RBI of the day gave KU a 3-2 lead over the nationally-ranked Lady Bears. Roane finished the game 3-for-5 with three RBIs.
With two outs in the fifth, Baylor evened the score after junior first baseman Shelby Friudenberg hit a single up the middle. The Lady Bears took back the lead after their fourth run crossed home plate via a KU error. BU headed to the bottom half of the fifth with a 4-3 advantage over the Jayhawks.
Kansas threatened to take back the lead in the fifth and loaded the bases. Despite having the go ahead run in scoring position, Baylor took care of business and got out of the bases loaded jam without harm. For the second inning in a row, Kansas got the tying run in scoring position and unlike the inning before was able to push that lead runner across home plate. Pinch runner Mikayla Warren scored on a wild pitch to tie the game, 4-4, after six innings. With the game still knotted up four runs each at the end of the seventh, the Jayhawks and Lady Bears headed into extra innings.
In the eighth frame, Baylor loaded the bases with one out, which put the go ahead run 60 feet from home plate. Despite having a Lady Bear on each base, Reid worked her way out of the jam yet again and left the bases full after getting the next two batters out. After Kansas tied the ballgame in the sixth frame, a pitcher’s duel ensued over the next three innings until McGinley ended the game with a two-run homer over the fence in centerfield. McGinley’s fourth long ball of the season gave KU the 6-4 victory over the Lady Bears.
The victory marked the first over Baylor since 2013 and the second time in the last three years that the Jayhawks have knocked off a nationally-ranked foe while wearing their orange uniforms.
“That’s Paul (Buske) looking out for us,” said Smith on the victory while raising awareness for kidney cancer.
Kansas concludes its three-game Big 12 series with No. 14 Baylor on Sunday, March 26 at 12 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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