Kansas Takes Auburn Tournament Title, Tops Bryant, 10-2
Feb. 17, 2013
AUBURN, Ala. –
Redshirt junior Alex Jones tied her career-high with eight strikeouts and senior Mariah Montgomery drove in a pair of runs to lead Kansas in a 10-2 victory over Bryant in the Jayhawks’ final game of the Tiger Invitational Sunday morning.
After Tennessee-Chattanooga defeated Auburn in the final game of the weekend, Kansas (7-2), Auburn and UTC each finished the tournament with 3-1 records. Tiebreaker rules stated that the team that allowed the fewest runs would be crowed tournament champions. The Jayhawks gave up just 11 runs in four games, thus handing over the title.
For the seventh time in nine games, Kansas scored in the first inning and went on to chalk up a 7-0 lead just three innings in. A four-run Jayhawk third looked to put Bryant (1-3) away in shut-out fashion, but the Bulldogs rallied for two runs to break up the shutout in the top of the fifth.
Patient at the plate, the Jayhawks responded with three runs in the bottom half of the inning thanks to five-straight walks. Freshman shortstop Chaley Brickey singled up the middle to drive in the 10th run of the morning, ending the game via run rule in five innings.
“Three (wins) and one (loss) is great for the weekend,” head coach Megan Smith said. “I wish we had shown up a little bit stronger against Auburn to finish the game, but it was great to play teams like Auburn and Chattanooga. Now we’re ready to get back and get ready for next weekend.”
Making her first appearance of the weekend in the circle, Jones (2-0) was solid. She racked up two strikeouts in both the second and the third innings before sitting all three Bulldogs down on strikes in the fourth. Her eight strikeouts marked the most since throwing eight against Alabama State on March 12, 2011.
At the plate, Montgomery’s 2-for-2 effort with two RBIs, a double and a run scored led the Jayhawks. After the weekend, she and fellow senior captain Maggie Hullsit tied for fourth all-time at Kansas with 108 career RBIs. Montgomery led the Jayhawks for the tournament with a .600 batting average (6-for-10), while Hull paced the offense with five RBIs in KU’s four games in Alabama.
Senior pitcher Brittany Hart (1-1) took the loss for the Bulldogs. Junior catcher Kendall Corder led the offense, going 1-for-2 with two RBIs.
Jones helped herself out by scoring in the top of the first off an Alex HugoRBI single and picked up her second run of support when Montgomery slammed a line drive off the centerfield wall to score Hugo.
After hitting the first batter of the game, Jones went on to retire eight-straight before surrendering a two-out single in the top of the third. The hit was quickly negated by sophomore catcher Maddie Stein, who threw out the first would-be base stealer of the season to end the top half of the inning.
Stein’s inning-ender opened the door for a big third for the Jayhawks. Starting with Montgomery’s walk to lead off the inning, KU saw seven-straight batters reach base. Highlighting the scoring rally, junior Taylor Hatfield stepped up for a pinch-hit RBI single for the second-straight game. Sophomore third baseman Chanin Naudin and Hull also collected RBIs and by the end of the inning, Kansas held a commanding 7-0 lead.
Flashing leather, freshman shortstop Chaley Brickey dove to catch a line drive no more than two feet off the ground for the first out in the top of the fifth. Bryant still managed to break up the shutout, however, with a two-out, two-run double later in the inning. Jones recorded her eighth strikeout to put an end to the Bulldogs’ scoring and send Kansas back to the plate.
With one out, Hull started the Jayhawks’ three-run fifth with the first of five-consecutive walks. Although Bryant switched to its third pitcher of the morning, Kansas stayed disciplined. Montgomery and senior Rosie Hull drew bases-loaded walks to go ahead, 9-2, before Brickey singled with the bases loaded to end the game early, 10-2.
Kansas will play a long stretch of games in Corpus Christi, Texas beginning with a single game against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Thursday, Feb. 21 at 3 p.m. The Jayhawks will stay in Corpus Christi for the Islanders Classic, Feb. 22-24.
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