Kansas Advances to Championship, Defeats Georgetown, 5-2

Feb. 9, 2013

Box Score |

Watch on YouTube

Kansas 5, Georgetown 2
FIU Softball Complex // Miami, Fla.
Freshman pitcher Kelsey Kessler fanned nine batters and walked none in 5.2 innings to collect her second win of the season.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
GU 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 8 1
KU 0 2 1 0 0 2 x 5 10 1
Box Score | Box Score Get Acrobat Reader
Leaders – Batting
A. Hugo 3 1 3 4 0 1
C. Naudin 3 0 2 1 0 0
M. Giaquinto 3 0 1 1 0 0
R. Nersesian 1 0 1 1 0 0
Kansas IP H R ER BB SO
Kessler (W, 1-0) 5.2 7 2 0 0 9
Pille (S, 1) 1.1 1 0 0 1 1
Hyson (L, 0-2) 6.0 10 5 4 1 3

MIAMI, Fla. – Freshman Alex Hugowas a double short of the cycle and drove in four of the Jayhawks’ five runs to lead the Kansas softball team past Georgetown, 5-2, and earn a berth to the Florida International Tournament championship game, Saturday evening at FIU Softball Complex.

Kansas (4-0) will face North Carolina State (3-1) on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. CT for rights to the tournament title.

“We want to win championships and it starts with these tournaments,” head coach Megan Smithsaid. “So it’s good that we’re taking care of business and we’ll come in here tomorrow 4-0.”

Hugo put the first two and the last two runs on the scoreboard for Kansas, starting with her third homer in three games in the bottom of the second. After singling in the fourth, the Olathe, Kan., native ripped a two-run triple to the right field wall, putting the game out of reach in the bottom of the sixth. She finished the game 3-for-3 with a run scored and four RBIs – the second four-RBI performance in her four games as a Jayhawk.

“She’s exciting to watch,” Smith said. “She’s a dynamic player and is very confident in herself and her abilities and that shows when she’s at the plate. Plus, she has done a lot of that with two strikes. I think that’s really impressive that she has been mentally tough and focused enough to be a fighter with two strikes. Right now she’s just on fire.”

Sophomore third baseman Chanin Naudin added the other RBI for the Jayhawks with a single down the left field line in the bottom of the third. She and senior left fielder Maggie Hulleach posted 2-for-3 performances at the plate.

Freshman Kelsey Kessler (1-0) was dominant in her start, striking out nine and walking none. She scattered seven hits over her 5.2 innings of work. A defensive miscue in the top of the sixth allowed two Georgetown runs to score, but both were unearned. She was lifted in the top of the sixth for sophomore Alicia Pille, who threw the final four outs and picked up her first save of the season.

After a quiet first inning, junior designated player Ashley Newman took advantage of a Hoya error to get on base. Hugo stepped in as the next batter and unleashed her third homer of the weekend. Heading into the championship game, Hugo’s tied with Hull as the team leader with eight RBIs.

Trailing 2-0, Georgetown rallied in the top of the third with a single and a one-out double. Kessler struck out the next batter before senior catcher – and the Hoyas’ offensive leader from a year ago – Shikara Lowe was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Kessler stepped up to force a swinging bunt from right fielder Alexandria Attila, and sophomore catcher Maddie Stein scooped it up and dove on the plate to end the inning.

Kessler allowed just one single through the fourth and fifth inning before the Jayhawks ran into a jam in the top of the sixth. After sitting the first two batters, a fielding error kept the inning alive and gave Georgetown the room for three-straight singles. As the Hoyas cut their deficit to a run, 3-2, Pille was called upon.

The sophomore right-hander gave up a walk to load the bases, but ended it there as a pop-out to second got the Jayhawks out of the inning and sent KU’s offense back to the plate.

In need of insurance runs, Naudin led off the bottom of the sixth with a single and was replaced by sophomore Cassen Salamone to pinch run. Newman added extra speed to the base paths when beat out a bunt for a hit, and the duo pulled off the double steal just moments after reaching base.

A pair of runners in scoring position was enough motivation for Hugo, who responded with the two-run triple that put Kansas ahead for good, 5-2. Pille closed it out in the seventh to hand Kansas its fourth-straight win.

Kansas will face the North Carolina State Wolfpack for the tournament championship Sunday at 12:30 p.m. CT.

KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.