KU Softball Suffers Season's First Setback to Minnesota, 5-4

Feb. 25, 2011

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Despite putting the go-ahead run on second base in the bottom of the seventh inning, the University of Kansas softball team could not come up with a timely hit as it suffered its first setback of the season, 5-4, to Minnesota Friday afternoon in its first game of the UNCG Spartan Classic.

KU fell to 10-1 with the loss, while Minnesota improved to 5-6 overall.

The Jayhawks out-hit the Golden Gophers 8-7 but could not find a way to drive runners home as KU stranded 14 base runners during the game.

Trailing 5-4 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, junior Marissa Ingle reached base on an error to lead off the final frame and then advanced on a single down the left field line by senior Brittany Hile. Both runners moved over a bag following a sacrifice bunt from sophomore Rosie Hull but Minnesota forced KU into a groundout and then struck out sophomore Mariah Montgomery to end the game.

Hile and freshman Laura Vickers led Kansas with two hits apiece, while junior Liz Kocon recorded her fifth home run of the season in the first inning to score KU’s first two runs. Kocon later batted in her third run in the fourth inning.

Minnesota scored its first three runs on home runs including a solo homer in their first at bat to take a brief lead but Kocon’s round-tripper in the bottom of the inning put KU ahead 2-1.

The Jayhawks did their only other scoring in the fourth inning. Montgomery’s dropped fly ball in right field scored Ingle from third. With the bases still loaded, Kocon grounded out to first base to plate Hile and give Kansas a 4-1 advantage.

Unfortunately Minnesota scored two more runs in the top of the fifth inning on another home run to bring the score within one at 4-3. In the top of the seventh, the Golden Gophers took over the lead when a bases-loaded grounder to freshman shortstop Ashley Newman took a nasty bounce and drove in a run. A groundout to Montgomery at second base in the next at-bat allowed the go-ahead run to score for Minnesota.

Sophomore pitcher Alex Jones tossed the first six innings for KU striking out four batters and giving up three runs on five hits. Senior Allie Clark entered the game in the final inning in relief but allowed the final two Minnesota runs to suffer the loss as she dropped to 5-1 from the circle.

The Jayhawks play again Friday afternoon versus UNC-Greensboro at approximately 5 p.m. CST.