Kansas Drops Pitchers' Duel to New Mexico, 2-1
Feb. 24, 2013
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – An RBI triple from junior second baseman Ashley Newman knotted the game in the bottom of the fifth, but New Mexico broke the tie in seventh, ending the Islanders Classic with a 2-1 Kansas loss.
The explosive offense that swept Kansas (10-4) through the weekend tournament was muted on Sunday by a solid combined effort from New Mexico (9-9). A pitcher’s duel, both pitching staffs each surrendered only five hits.
“I saw some really good things and some things that we need to go back and work on,” head coach Megan Smith said of the weekend. “Today was about execution. So we know some things that we need to go back and get sharper on. There was a little lack of focus here and there with the team today, but we played a lot of good competition here and I saw a lot of bright spots over the weekend.”
After the Lobos struck first with a run in the top of the opening frame, sophomore Alicia Pille(3-2) kept them off the scoreboard for the next five innings until giving up the deciding run on a two-out double in the top of the seventh. Throwing the complete game for the Jayhawks, Pille allowed two runs on five hits and struck out nine, tying her season high.
Newman’s triple was her first the season, driving in senior right fielder Rosie Hull for KU’s only run of the game. Redshirt junior centerfielder Alex Jones went 2-for-4 to lead the offense.
Senior Kaela DeBroeck received the no decision after throwing a quality start to counteract KU’s Pille. In her 4.2 innings of work, she gave up three hits and walked one. The Jayhawks put the ball in play, DeBroeck recorded just one strikeout, but the senior starter was effective until being lifted after Newman’s triple.
The defending Mountain West Pitcher of the Week, Lauren Soles (4-2), took over from there. Jones tagged her for an infield single as the first batter she faced, but Soles would allow only one more hit in her 2.1 innings to earn the win in relief.
For the Lobos, centerfielder Mariah Rimmer scored the first run of the day and drove in the eventual winning run to lead the offense with a 2-for-4 effort.
After giving up the first run, Pille settled in and retired eight of the next nine, including a 12-pitch strikeout to battling Lobo third baseman Kaity Ingram amidst a scoreless top of the third.
The pitching duel continued through the next four innings, with neither pitcher allowing more than one base runner per frame – if any at all. In the bottom of the fifth, it was DeBroeck’s turn to fight off a battling Chaley Brickey. DeBroeck gave up a leadoff to walk to senior Rosie Hull before the Jayhawk freshman shortstop fired off three line drive foul balls before finally flying out to right.
With two outs and Hull on first, Newman came to the plate. Facing the usual slap defense used against her, Newman ripped a line drive over the right fielder’s head for the RBI triple, knotting the game, 1-1.
That immediately ended DeBroeck’s outing as Soles was called in to pitch. Although she gave up an infield single to Jones, who took off to second on a smart base running move, Soles left runners on second and third to end the fifth locked in a 1-1 tie.
New Mexico got it going again in its next at bat, putting the first two runners on before Pille went to work. The sophomore righty collected her sixth, seventh and eighth strikeouts of the game to end the threat.
Although she’d collect another in the top of the seventh, it came after Rimmer’s two-out RBI double. In their final at bat, the Jayhawks received a leadoff walk from sophomore third baseman Chanin Naudin, but pinch runner Elsa Moyer was tagged out on a sacrifice bunt for the double play. A groundout ended KU’s last attempt, and the Jayhawks fell, 2-1.
Kansas will travel to Raleigh, N.C., to take on North Carolina A&T in the first game of the Wolfpack Challenge Friday at 1:30 p.m. CT.
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