Mount Pleasant, S.C. Kansas University freshman Taylor Dodson drove in the go-ahead run with a bases-loaded single in the top of the eighth inning against College of Charleston on Saturday.
Junior Alicia Pille forced a fly out and two strikeouts to close the Jayhawks’ 6-5 victory.
“What a fun a game, that’s why you’re involved in the sport to have games like that,” KU coach Megan Smith said. “We came out strong and the College of Charleston punched back at us, but that was really good to see our young team having that grit and that fight.”
The win was Pille’s and KU’s second of the day. Kansas (4-3) shut out Western Carolina, 6-0, Saturday morning behind a dominant complete game by Pille (2-1). She struck out 10 with zero walks allowed just two WCU hits. Against College of Charleston, Pille allowed three hits and one run in 3 1/3 innings after relieving starter Kelsey Kessler.
The Jayhawks began the afternoon against the Cougars by carrying over momentum from the morning shutout. By the middle of the fifth inning against Charleston, Kansas had built a 4-0 lead thanks to the impressive play of freshman catcher Harli Ridling. Ridling started the scoring with an RBI single in the first inning, followed by her first collegiate home run in the third.
“Harli is a special player,” KU coach Megan Smith said. “Defensively, she’s unbelievable behind the plate. Offensively, she’s special. You can see her feeling more and more comfortable as the games progress. She’s got a lot of power, a lot of poise and some swagger up at the plate, which I like.”
Ashley Newman’s ground-out in the fourth scored Chanin Naudin, and Naudin’s bases-loaded walk in the top of the fifth scored Ridling to give the Jayhawks a 4-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Cougars drove Kessler from the game after loading the bases and scoring four runs, via two doubles sandwiched around a sac-fly.
A run apiece in the seventh inning by Kansas (Newman RBI single) and Charleston set up extras, and bunts by Alex Jones and Newman in the eighth set up Dodson’s RBI.
The Jayhawks play their final game of the Cougar Classic at 8 a.m. today against DePaul.
Kansas 6, W. Carolina 0
Kansas 002 220 0 — 6 9 0
Western Carolina 000 000 0 — 0 2 2
W — Alicia Pille, 1-1. L — Jordan Garrett, 0-2. SV — none.
2B — Alex Jones, Kansas; Taylor Dodson, Kansas; Taylor Sigmon, Western Carolina.
Kansas highlights — Maddie Stein, 3-for-4, 2 RBI; Dodson 2-for-4, 2 RBI, 1 R; Chanin Naudin 1-for-2, 1 RBI, 2 R; Jones 1-for-4, 1 RBI; Pille 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 10 K, 0 BB.
Kansas 6, College of Charleston 5, 8 innings
Kansas 101 110 11 — 6 13 0
CoC 000 040 10 — 5 9 0
W — Alicia Pille, 2-1. L — Hope Klicker, 1-3. SV — None.
2B — Mackenzie Maples (2), CoC; Carly Corthell, CoC; Allison Pedigo, CoC; Valerie Cassell, CoC. HR — Harli Ridling, Kansas.
Kansas highlights — Ridling 3-for-3, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB; Ashley Newman 2-for-4, 2 RBI; Lily Behrmann 2-for-3, 1 RBI; Chanin Naudin 1-for-3, 2 R; Alex Jones 2-for-4, 1 R.