WICHITA – Trailing by four runs heading into the bottom of the sixth, the Wichita State softball team forced extra innings in Wednesday night’s game against Kansas at Eck Stadium.
With runners at the corners in the bottom of the ninth, Neleigh Herring came up with a left field single to drive in the walk-off run that defeated the Jayhawks 11-10. Herring went 2-for-3 at the plate while Asea Webber had a career high four hits in her four at-bats.
Caitlin Bingham came up with her 10th win of the season, coming up with five strikeouts and only allowing one hit in four innings of relief.
The Shockers struck first by coming up with five runs in the second inning, with a Sydney McKinney single to center field allowing Herring to score the game’s first run. After two runs scored off a passed ball and a bases loaded walk, Ryleigh Buck came up with a single to left center that drove in two runs and gave the Shockers a commanding five-run lead.
KU was quick to respond, however, scoring four runs off a grand slam following two singles and a walk in the top of the third. The Jayhawks tied the game in the top of the fifth, scoring the tying run off a single to center field.
Miranda Rodriguez of KU followed up with a double to center field that scored two more runs, with pinch hitter Jennifer Marwitz singling to right center to give the Jayhawks a three-run lead. KU capped off the top of the fifth inning with its fifth run of the inning, extending the lead off a single down the left field line to take a 9-5 lead.
Wichita State refused to go away, answering back in the bottom of the sixth. After McKinney singled to shortstop, Webber came up with her third home run of the season that cut the deficit to two runs. Madison Perrigan kept the inning alive by reaching base on a KU error, advancing to second after a passed ball.
Bailee Nickerson drove in Perrigan from second in the next at-bat with a single up the middle, making it a 9-8 game heading into the seventh inning. KU got the leadoff runner on with a hit by pitch, advancing to second base off a wild pitch. The Jayhawks added an insurance run, scoring off a single up the middle to make it a 10-8 lead.
Needing to score two runs to keep the game alive, Wichita State did exactly that a half-inning later. Wylie Glover and Webber came up with two one-out singles to put runners at the corners, with Glover scoring a run off a passed ball. With the bases loaded following Perrigan’s walk, Nickerson came up in the clutch once again and drove in the tying run off a single to shortstop.
KU managed to put a runner 90 feet away from scoring the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth, but Bingham came up with a strikeout to retire the side and keep the game tied. Wichita State looked to snag the lead, but Brynn Minor struck out Laurie Derrico with the bases loaded to force a ninth inning.
Perrigan led off the bottom of the ninth with a single, advancing to second after a sacrifice bunt by Nickerson. Following Buck’s single to left field, Herring put the nail in the coffin and drove in the go-ahead run.
The Shockers came up with their season high for hits with 16, marking the fifth time this season where they scored double digit runs. Herring’s walk-off is the first walk-off winning run since April 20, 2018, where the Shockers had a home run to defeat UCF.
Nickerson led with three RBIs and the Shockers had five players obtain two or more hits. McKinney tied her career high with three hits, coming up with her third RBI of the season in the process.
Wichita State (19-9) starts conference season on Friday at 6 p.m. at Wilkins Stadium, starting a three-game series with Houston.