Kansas Erases Three-Run Deficit To Beat Blue Raiders, 6-3
Feb. 18, 2012
CHARLOTTE, N.C. –A 3-0 deficit in the first inning did nothing to slow down the Kansas softball team, who used a five-run fourth inning to defeat Middle Tennessee State, 6-3, for the Jayhawks’ seventh-straight win to complete day two at the D.L. Phillips Complex.
Mere minutes into the game, the Jayhawks (7-2) found themselves battling from behind out of the gate. The Blue Raiders (0-4) piled on three runs on four-straight hits to kick off the top of the first. After throwing against MTSU the day before, Kansas starter Kristin Martinez wasn’t able to retire a batter and stepped aside for junior Morgan Druhan(2-0) to try her hand at quieting the MTSU lineup.
Druhan did the trick. The junior came in and struck out five in her first two innings of work, shutting down the Blue Raider lineup for the next six innings. She ended the day with seven strikeouts and walked two en route to her second win of the year.
“It was tough for Morgan (Druhan) to come into that spot, but Morgan is tough and we have confidence in her,” head coach Megan Smith said, who picked up her 100th career win at the Division I level in the nightcap. “They had seen Kristin Martinezbefore so we told Morgan to be ready from pitch one. She came in and was ready to go. Her mindset was to be ready to pitch and she was. I’m really proud of how she came in and shut them down.”
At the plate, Kansas received multi-hit performances from its one-two hitters in sophomore second baseman Ashley Newman and junior left fielder Maggie Hull. Junior shortstop Mariah Montgomeryalso belted out a 2-for-3 effort, both of which came in the pivotal fourth inning.
After climbing out to a 3-0 advantage in the top half of the first, MTSU was also forced to replace its starter, Shelby Stinnett, in the first inning after Newman led off KU’s first at bat of the game by slamming a triple of the left field wall. Maggie Hullwasted no time driving her in. She drilled her fifth double of the year to chase Stinnett from the game to start chipping away at the MTSU lead, 3-1.
“I can’t say enough about Ashley Newman right now,” Smith said. “To come out and be down three, that kind of knocked the wind out of our sails and then Ashley came up and got that triple. That got us started. I knew when that happened – and our team knew, too – that we were coming back. Then Maggie Hullcomes up with that double; that told me that we were going to come back.”
While Druhan kept the Blue Raiders of the scoreboard, the Jayhawk offense stepped up to support her in the game-changing bottom of the fourth. Montgomery led off with a single before junior Rosie Hull beat out a bunt. After freshman catcher Lexi Bryant drew a one-out walk to load the bases, fellow rookie Chanin Naudinsent a sharp groundball to third base to bring home Montgomery.
Still trailing 3-2 with two outs, the Jayhawks rallied. Freshman centerfielder Cassen Salamone flew down the line to first, beating out an infield single to knot the game, 3-3, before Newman’s speed induced a throwing error as the MTSU defense tried to throw her out on a bunt attempt to keep the inning alive. Maggie Hulland Montgomery each came through with two-out RBIs to round out the five-run onslaught.
Solid defense did the rest of the work as Maggie Hulldid a full-extension dive to save a ball from dropping into left field in the fifth, while Montgomery snagged a piercing line drive at shortstop in the Blue Raiders’ final at bat to seal the 6-3 win.
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. Middle Tennessee State, W, 6-3
Sunday, Feb. 19
vs. Bracket Play Decision, TBA