Kansas Uses Solid Fundamentals to Shutout Stony Brook, 2-0
Feb. 18, 2012
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Riding a dominant complete game performance from starter Alicia Pille, the Kansas softball team showed off solid defensive skills and a perfectly executed suicide squeeze to defeat Stony Brook, 2-0, and earn the No. 1 seed in the Charlotte Classic, Saturday morning at the D.L. Phillips Complex.
Pille (4-2) recorded her fourth-consecutive win as Kansas (6-2) won its sixth straight in the first game of day two. With the win, KU moved to 3-0 on the weekend to claim the No. 1 seed in the tournament, securing the 2 p.m. ET game time against the No. 4 seed, still to be determined.
The rookie pitcher looked anything but inexperienced in the circle for the Jayhawks, striking out 11 and surrendering just two hits over seven shutout innings. The only walk she allowed occurred in the Seawolves’ final at bat.
“Pille came out strong, stayed strong and had a lot more control over her pitches,” head coach Megan Smithsaid. “She really worked to dominant hitters and had a lot of poise out there all game.”
Although Stony Brook’s (1-2) starting freshman pitcher Allison Cukrov (0-2) kept KU’s hitters off balance, the Jayhawks found a way to make their five hits count – including flawless suicide squeeze execution from senior first baseman Marissa Ingle to score junior Rosie Hull for the second and final run of the contest. Hull and sophomore second baseman Ashley Newmanled the offense with two hits apiece.
Pille made quick work in the top of the first, racking up three quick strikeouts to send her offense to the plate. Although Pille’s counterpart, Cukrov, matched her with three first-inning strikeouts of her own, the Jayhawks did what it took to get to the opposing circle.
Smith adjusted her lineup from last weekend to feature Newman at the leadoff spot, swapping junior left fielder Maggie Hull for the second slot. Newman proved her coach right again on Saturday, leading off the Jayhawks’ first at bat with a bunt single. Two outs later, junior shortstop Mariah Montgomerycame through with an RBI single up the middle, plenty of time for Newman’s speed to make it home and KU took the 1-0 lead.
Speed played the primary role the next time Kansas pushed a run across; speed and textbook execution. Rosie Hull, who made the start in the designated player spot after a monster day at the plate on Friday, crushed a leadoff double to the left field corner in the bottom of the fourth. Moments later, she took off for third on a wild pitch.
With an out against them and Cukrov keeping the Jayhawk hitters quiet, Ingle was called upon to bunt. She did so perfectly – placing the ball a foot toward the circle. Hull, who took off for home on the pitch, slid under the play at the plate.
“Sometimes the power isn’t there and you have to manufacture runs,” Smith said. “We’ve been working on our short game quite a bit to have our players ready to do that, and we have a lot of speed in our lineup. We want to utilize that. We did a good job of that today.”
The suicide squeeze stood as the final run of the game as Pille tossed two more strikeouts in the final three innings, while Montgomery led the solid defensive effort. The junior captain had a hand in five of the final nine outs of the morning.
Friday, Feb. 17
vs. Middle Tennessee State, W 7-3
vs. Charlotte, W, 9-6
Saturday, Feb. 18
vs. Stony Brook, W, 2-0
vs. Bracket Play Decision, TBA
Sunday, Feb. 19
vs. Bracket Play Decision, TBA