Jayhawks Get Key Hits to Down Tennessee-Chattanooga, 6-1
Feb. 15, 2013
AUBURN, Ala. – Backed by a complete game from sophomore Alicia Pille, the Jayhawk hitters came up with timely hits to top Tennessee-Chattanooga, 6-1, wrapping up day one of the Tiger Invitational Friday evening.
Kansas (6-1) came in ready to get its win against Tennessee-Chattanooga (1-5) in a series that dates back to 2001. Although UTC posted four base knocks to KU’s six, the Jayhawks used key hits and five errors from their opponents to sail through the first day of the tournament undefeated.
Pille (3-0) led the way, scattering one run through all seven innings in the circle. She struck out nine and walked two in her second complete game of the season.
Fellow sophomore Maddie Stein backed up Pille on the offensive side with a team-leading two hits and three RBIs, finishing her day a combined 5-for-7 with four RBIs. Freshman catcher Alex Hugo drove in the team’s other RBI, while redshirt junior Alex Jonescontinued her season-long hitting streak with a single and three runs scored.
“I think it was me relaxing and sticking to the game plan that (assistant coach Adam) Roorbach came up with for us,” Stein said of her success on Friday. “Last weekend, I kind of pressed and expected too much out of myself. I just really tried to go back to the basics today and be really simple and it seemed like it helped.”
An error coupled with a wild pitch gave Jones the opportunity to plate the first run of the game, handing KU the 1-0 lead. KU’s slim margin wasn’t slim for long. The Jayhawks sent every batter to the plate in the bottom of the second, putting up four runs in the process to take a commanding 5-0 advantage.
Freshman shortstop Chaley Brickey sparked the scoring rally with a leadoff single and was quickly joined by sophomore third baseman Chanin Naudin after she was hit by a pitch. Jones extended her streak with a bunt single that loaded the bases, bringing senior left fielder Maggie Hull to the plate. She did the trick, putting the ball in play and forcing an error that brought the first run of the inning across.
After a bases loaded walk issued to Hugo, starter Taylor Deason (1-3) was lifted for reliever Rachel Albritton. Stein welcomed her to the game with a two-run double down the right field line as KU’s lead grew to five runs.
In the top of the third, the Lady Mocs strung together a pair of base hits on two outs to bring home leadoff hitter Sara Poteat to break up the shutout, but Pille stranded runners on second and third to end any further threat.
Although the Jayhawks looked to pile on another big inning in response by loading the bases in the fourth, Stein’s RBI single provided the lone insurance run.
Pille was brilliant to close the game. A leadoff double in the bottom of the fifth was the last hit she allowed. She went on to sit nine-straight batters to seal the 6-1 victory.
Kansas will look to hand Auburn (9-0) its first loss of the season when the Jayhawks take on the Tigers Saturday at 12:30 p.m. CT.
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