Kansas Buckles Down to Blank UNC-Wilmington, Win Streak at 11
Feb. 25, 2012
WILMINGTON, N.C. – Junior Morgan Druhan and freshman Alicia Pille joined forces to shutout the Seahawk Classic host, 3-0, and help the Kansas softball team stretch its win streak to 11 games, Saturday afternoon at Boseman Field.
The win tied the longest win streak Kansas (11-2) has posted in the Megan Smith era, outscoring their opponents 63-20 over the win span.
“It’s not easy no matter who you’re playing,” Smith said. “We are really stressing to our players to be locked-in to every single pitch. When you’re playing multiple games in a weekend, it’s tough to do. We’ve talked to them a lot about refocusing for each game and I think they’ve done a great job with that.”
Kansas (11-2) found ways to score without relying on the big inning or home runs like the first three games of the weekend. Rather, speed and timely hitting helped the Jayhawks plate a run in the bottom of the fourth, fifth and sixth to defeat UNC-Wilmington (1-8).
As the offense looked for its spark, Druhan and Pille played to their strengths for the combined shutout. Druhan (4-0) scattered five hits over five innings and offset three walks with five strikeouts. The junior transfer stranded runners in scoring position three different times, including a bases loaded groundout that she fielded herself in the top of the fourth.
Pille took over in the sixth after a leadoff double prompted the end of Druhan’s start. With the 2-0 lead in hand, the rookie surrendered a bunt single to the first batter she faced, before striking out back-to-back batters to end the inning. Pille went on to sit the Seahawks in order in the seventh to seal the win and pick up the Jayhawk pitching staff’s first save of the season.
At the plate, Kansas received another big day from sophomore second baseman Ashley Newman. She went 2-for-4 with an RBI, her fourth multi-hit game of the season.
“We’re showing that we’re scrappy and that we can find ways to manufacture runs when we need to,” Smith said. “We can steal bases and move runners, and we had some people get some clutch hits today. I can’t say enough about Ashley Newman. She’s doing so many things for us offensively right now.”
After rolling through the first three innings scoreless, senior first baseman Marissa Ingle drilled a one-out single and sophomore Elsa Moyer was called upon to pinch run. Moyer stole second, giving her plenty of time to score on an RBI double from freshman catcher Lexi Bryant for the 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth.
In the Jayhawks’ next at bat, redshirt senior right fielder Liz Kocon and junior Rosie Hull came up clutch when Kocon singled with two outs and scored when Hull’s double to right centerfield missed the fence by inches to double the KU lead, 2-0.
Speed made the difference in the final run of the day when freshman centerfielder Cassen Salamone stole second following her two-out single. Not willing to leave her there, Newman drove her home with KU’s second two-out RBI of the afternoon, to arrive at the final score, 3-0.
Kansas will play for the Seahawk Classic Championship Sunday at 11:15 a.m. CT. The Jayhawks’ opponent has yet to be determined.
Friday, Feb. 24
vs. Fairfield: W, 5-3
vs. Gardner-Webb: W, 5-1
Saturday, Feb. 25
vs. UNC Wilmington: W, 9-1 (5)
vs. UNC Wilmington: W, 3-0
Sunday, Feb. 26
vs. Bracket Play Decision, 11:15 a.m. CT