Wesley, Jayhawks Shut Out Missouri State, 4-0
LAWRENCE, Kan. – In her third start of the of the season, senior right-hander Monique Wesley tossed her first complete-game shutout of 2016, as Kansas downed Missouri State, 4-0, on Thursday night inside Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park.
In the first game of the Jayhawk Invitational, Wesley struck out a career-high 11 batters, surpassing her previous mark of seven. She scattered four hits and allowed one walk in seven innings of work. Wesley began her third start of the season by sitting the Bears down in order. In the first two innings of her outing, Wesley struck out three of the first six batters she faced.
“I think the story of the night was Monique,” said head coach Megan Smith. “She was phenomenal and absolutely dominate. She kept attacking them and going after them, man, she did something special tonight.”
Kansas’ offense capitalized on several early pitching miscues by the Bears to give Wesley an early lead to work with. Three of Kansas’ four runs crossed home plate via hit by pitch or walk.
In the bottom of the first, Kansas loaded the bases as redshirt sophomore catcher Harli Ridling plated the first run after getting hit by a pitch. Junior utility Taylor Dodson and freshman designated player Alexis Reid each walked a run in as the bases remained loaded. A fielder’s choice plated the final run of the opening inning, as Kansas took an early 4-0 lead over the Bears.
“I was happy with how we took advantage of some miscues and really made the other team pay for it,” said Smith. “That was exciting to see early on. We were taking lots of pitches and drawing walks, we were creating some opportunities in that respect. In terms of the rest of the game, not great offensively. We have to continue to apply pressure on teams every single inning and we only did that one inning tonight.”
After three hitless frames, Wesley surrendered her first hit of the game in the top of the fourth. The Fontana, California product scattered four hits in her seventh appearance of the season. After tosses seven scoreless innings, Wesley’s ERA dropped to 2.18 on the year as she improved to 4-0 in the circle.
“Monique had a great weekend last weekend, but had trouble finishing,” Smith said. “I was really excited to see her do that tonight. She gave up a couple hits and put a little bit of pressure on her, but she absolutely stood up and dominated. That’s a different Monique from last weekend, which was great to see.”
A relatively quiet night in the batter’s box for Kansas, as the Jayhawks only registered six hits. Despite a silent attack, Erin McGinley led the offense with a perfect 4-for-4 night at the plate, increasing her average to .434 on the season. Shannon McGinley and junior utility Lily Behrmann registered KU’s other two hits.
“I have to highlight Erin McGinley,” said Smith. “Erin was phenomenal. Erin and Shannon both at the top (of the order) did a really good job.”
Missouri State second baseman Madison Jones was the only Bear to record a multi-hit effort against Wesley after a 2-for-3 performance at the plate. MSU’s Erin Struemph earned the loss and dropped to 4-6 on the year in the circle.
Kansas continues the Jayhawk Invitational on Friday, March 11 against Western Illinois. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m. on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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