Stephani Williams can pitch as a starter. Stephani Williams can pitch in relief. Stephani Williams can flat-out pitch.
"She's awesome," Kansas softball coach Kalum Haack said.
Williams was the winning pitcher in both games of KU's doubleheader sweep of Pittsburg State on Friday at Jayhawk Field.
"She's trying to finish her senior season in big-time fashion," Haack said. "I'm going to have to start coaching next year."
Williams tossed a one-hit shutout as Kansas won the opener, 2-0. Then she pitched a hitless final three innings in relief of Beth Robinson in KU's 6-5 second-game victory.
"I like helping whenever I can," Williams said. "Beth throws down, and I'm an up-ball pitcher, so that sets things up for me."
Williams, 20-6, struck out 12 in the opener and eight in the nightcap. Her totals for the day: one hit, no runs and 20 strikeouts in 10 innings.
"I don't think they were swinging without thinking," Williams said. "I think they saw the ball."
Maybe they saw it, but they couldn't touch it. Williams fanned the final four batters she faced and six in the last two innings.
But there was more to KU's wins than Williams. Lora Richardson was one of the reasons Kansas came back twice in the nightcap.
Richardson went 3-for-3 in the second game with a two-run homer and three RBIs. Her home run, with two outs in the third, scored Katie Morgan and tied the game, 3-3. And it came just two pitches after Richardson had pounded a ball foul with home-run depth.
"I hit a lot of really hard foul balls," Richardson said. "That causes pitchers to throw a lot of off-speed pitches to me. It's a lot harder hitting them out fair than it is foul."
The home run was Richardson's second of the season and the sixth of her career, but her first at Jayhawk Field. Richardson also stroked a run-scoring single in the first inning.
Kansas wiped out a 5-3 Pittsburg State lead with two runs in the sixth. A triple by Heather Richins and a single by Tiffany Blood produced the first run, and Joy Herrera knocked in the second one with a ground ball.
KU scored the winning run in the seventh without a hit. Pinch-hitter Joy Peters reached second base on an error. Pinch-runner Stacy Rakestraw then stole third and came home when the catcher's throw sailed into left field.
"We had some really clutch hits," Haack said. "I feel real good about it. That's something we haven't done in a while."
In the opener, KU scored the game's only two runs in the sixth. Richins led off with a single, stole second and scored on an error when Blood sacrificed. Blood later scored on a sacrifice fly by Richardson.
The Jayhawks won their sixth straight and improved to 23-11. They will entertain Oklahoma for doubleheaders today and Sunday. Pittsburg State fell to 27-9.