Kansas Wins Fourth-Straight, Defeats MTSU, 7-3
Feb. 17, 2012
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A five-run first inning backed by a complete game from Kristin Martinez led Kansas past Middle Tennessee State, 7-3, in the opening game of the Charlotte Classic, Friday morning.
In the eighth complete game effort of her career, sophomore Kristin Martinez (1-0) did so for the second time without surrendering a walk. All three runs the Blue Raiders scored were the result of a pair of home runs, two of just six hits Martinez scattered over seven innings, while striking out seven.
At the plate, Kansas (4-2) benefitted from multi-RBI performances from freshman catcher Lexi Bryant and redshirt senior right fielder Liz Kocon. Kocon, who drove in two RBIs in the sixth, needs six RBIs to become the all-time career leader at Kansas.
KU’s back-to-back speed combination of freshman centerfielder Cassen Salamone and sophomore second baseman Ashley Newman in the nine-hole and leadoff spot, respectively, chipped in two hits apiece.
Middle Tennessee State (0-1) was led by a two-run home run from freshman shortstop Samantha Nieves, who finished the morning 2-for-3. Starter Caty Jutson (0-1) took the loss, leaving the game in the bottom of the first after KU piled on the five-spot to open the game.
Martinez ignored a first-inning double by striking out the side in an efficient start to her morning. The sophomore tossed 16 pitches in the first, only two of which were balls.
The offense loudly showed its support the first chance it got as KU sent 11 batters to the plate for five runs in a productive bottom of the first. Newman beat out an errant throw before junior left fielder Maggie Hull and Kocon joined her with a base hit and a walk, respectively, to load the bases.
Junior Mariah Montgomery manufactured the first run of the game with a groundout to short, leaving a spot open for senior first baseman Marissa Ingle. Ingle drew the walk to once again pack the bags. Showing ultimate hustle, Maggie Hull sprinted for home on Chanin Naudin’s infield groundball, sliding head first under the tag for KU’s second run of the game.
Clutch hitting took it from there. Junior Rosie Hull drilled her first hit of the season, while Bryant slammed a two-run double off the centerfield fence to knock Jutson out of the game before the end of the first, trailing Kansas, 5-0.
Meanwhile, Martinez quickly gathered five-straight outs before surrendering a two-out, two-run home run to Nieves in the top of the third. She quickly recovered, striking out the next batter to end the third with the 5-2 advantage.
Kocon and company added a pair of insurance runs as freshman Salamone and Newman showed off their speed with back-to-back infield hits. An infield error moved them both before Kocon moved two RBIs closer to making Kansas history by driving both of them in, pushing the Jayhawks to the 7-2 lead.
The Blue Raiders would plate their final run of the run of the game with a two-out solo shot, but two batters later Martinez pitched a groundball out to seal her first victory of the year, 7-3.
Friday, Feb. 17
vs. Middle Tennessee State, W 7-3
vs. Charlotte, 11 a.m. CT
Saturday, Feb. 18
vs. Stony Brook, 9 a.m. CT
vs. Bracket Play Decision, TBA
Sunday, Feb. 19
vs. Bracket Play Decision, TBA