Oklahoma State Edges Kansas, 11-9
LAWRENCE, Kan. – For the second game in a row, Kansas softball found itself playing from behind, and although the two programs combined for 20 runs and 19 hits, Oklahoma State edged the Jayhawks, 11-9, on Saturday afternoon at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park.
Kansas’ (28-20, 5-9 Big 12) offense recorded eight hits and saw multi-hit efforts from three Jayhawks, but KU’s comeback was halted by an Oklahoma State home run, which would put a stop to Kansas’ momentum. Senior infielder Chaley Brickey, sophomore infielder Daniella Chavez and redshirt sophomore catcher Harli Ridling each recorded a pair of hits, Ridling drove in a team-best four KU runs.
“Man, our kids fought and that was really good to see how hard they fought,” said head coach Megan Smith. “That’s all you can ask from your team is to come out and fight as hard as they can. I felt like they did. They played hard and didn’t give up, so it was great to see them do that after yesterday. We just need to fight again tomorrow.”
Despite the lots of production from the top of the Jayhawks’ order, the Cowgirls had an answer for each move Kansas made. A three-run home run gave KU its first lead of the day before OSU matched with a three-run homer to reclaim the lead. Oklahoma State outhit Kansas for the second time of the series, marking the 19th game this year that KU has been outhit by an opponent.
“The top of our order bounced back,” said Smith. “Yesterday the bottom of our order was on it. We moved Briana (Evans) up to the top to spark things and then the top of our order did a great job. Chaley (Brickey), Daniella (Chavez) and Harli (Ridling) all did a great job of executing and making things happen today and bounced back from yesterday where they struggled a bit. It was good to see them bounce back.”
Oklahoma State struck first for the second-straight game after putting a run on the scoreboard in the opening frame. Freshman infielder Madi Sue Montgomery drove in the go-ahead run from third base with a single to left centerfield. Montgomery’s RBI single gave the Cowgirls a 1-0 lead over the Jayhawks.
The Cowgirls extended its lead with four runs on five hits in the top of the third, including a nearly base clearing ground-rule double from junior designated player Red Reasnor. With a 5-0 lead, Oklahoma State chased Kansas’ starter Alexis Reid out of the game with two outs in the third. Sophomore hurler Andie Formby entered the ballgame in relief and left the bases loaded as she retired the side.
Kansas’s offense came alive in the bottom of the third and answered Oklahoma State with four runs of its own. The Jayhawks loaded the bases to start the inning after junior infielder Taylor McElhaney got hit by a pitch, senior outfielder Briana Evans recorded KU’s first hit and senior outfielder Shannon McGinley reached on a fielding error. Senior shortstop Chaley Brickey put Kansas on the scoreboard with a RBI single to left field.
Sophomore infielder Daniella Chavez continued the third frame rally with a two-RBI single to left center and catcher Harli Ridling made it a one-run ballgame with another RBI single. After Kansas plated four runs in the third, Oklahoma State owned a 5-4 advantage over the Jayhawks.
In the fourth, the Cowgirls added to more runs on the scoreboard after a two-run home run from sophomore catcher Vanessa Shippy over the wall in centerfield. Following OSU’s long ball, senior right-hander Monique Wesley entered the game in relief and got out of the frame without further harm.
A pair of RBI singles from Brickey and Chavez brought the Jayhawks within a run of the Cowgirls in the fourth inning. Ridling gave Kansas its first lead of the afternoon with her ninth home run of the season. Ridling launched a three-run long ball over the wall in left field, as Kansas led 9-7.
Freshman infielder Taylor Lynch regained the lead for Kansas in the top of the fifth after hitting a three-run home run. Oklahoma State’s second home run to dead centerfield gave the Cowgirls a 10-9 advantage after five.
With the help of her defense, Wesley tossed a 1-2-3 sixth frame. Wesely’s shutout inning not only kept the Cowgirls’ offense at bay, but also got the Jayhawks back in the batter’s box. Senior Michaela Patton hit a solo home run in the top of the seventh, adding an insurance run for the Cowgirls. KU headed to the bottom of the seventh facing an 11-9 deficit.
Kansas’ offense couldn’t mount a comeback in the bottom half of the seventh and fell to the Cowgirls, 11-9. With Saturday’s victory, Oklahoma State secured the series win.
Kansas concludes its three-game Big 12 series against Oklahoma State on Sunday, May 8. First pitch is slated for 11 a.m. on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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