Kansas Keeps Rolling, Races Past Connecticut in Six, 8-0
March 2, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Freshman pitcher Alicia Pille was one hit shy of perfect against Connecticut, facing one batter over the minimum to lead the Kansas softball team past the Big East foe, 8-0, and onto the Jayhawks’ 13-straight win in the opening game of the Charleston Southern Tournament Friday morning.
With the win, Kansas (13-2) can tie program’s second-longest win streak with a victory against Charleston Southern at 2 p.m. CT. Four more wins would tie the longest streak in KU history (17, 1992).
Pille (6-2) was dominant in her fourth shutout of the season, striking out 10 without allowing a single walk. The Huskies’ (1-4) lone hit came from right fielder Marissa Guches, who hit the first pitch she saw from the Kansas freshman. She struck out in her only other at bat.
At the plate, Kansas benefitted from sophomore second baseman Ashley Newman’s first three-hit game of the year and third of her career. Juniors Maggie Hull and Mariah Montgomery had no problem following her in the lineup, as Hull went 1-for-2 with an RBI and a pair of runs scored. Montgomery finished the matchup 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run of her own. In the last five games, the junior captain has posted three multi-RBI performances.
Freshman Lexi Bryant also had a multi-hit day, while fellow rookie Maddie Stein drilled an RBI double in her only at bat. Called upon to pinch hit in the bottom of the sixth, Stein drove in the walk-off run that sealed the run rule.
The Jayhawks struck first, when Bryant drilled her fifth double of the year to the right centerfield fence. With two outs in the inning, sophomore centerfielder Elsa Moyer stepped up and found a hole through the right side, prompting a throwing error in the outfield that allowed Bryant room to come home.
Meanwhile, Pille shined in the circle. The rookie struck out the side in the Huskies’ first at bat and had allowed just one hit through the first four innings of the game while holding onto to the slim 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the fourth, however, the Jayhawks came on to give their starter all the cushion she would need.
For two-straight Jayhawk at bats, Moyer’s speed forced a rushed throw from the pitcher. This worked out well for Moyer, who used the errant throw to sprint to second base to lead off the Jayhawks’ three-run fourth inning. Newman’s third hit of the game put both speedsters on with nobody out, and head coach Megan Smith called for the double steal to put the pair at second and third with the heart of the order coming up.
The Jayhawks’ big hitters came through – KU’s RBI leaders Maggie Hull and Montgomery hit back-to-back RBI singles to score all three runs in the inning. Montgomery, who entered the weekend ranked third in the Big 12 Conference in RBIs, brought home Newman and Maggie Hull with her rocket down the right field line, and KU took the 4-0 lead into the fifth.
By the top of the sixth, Kansas had chased UConn starter Kiki Saveriano (1-3) from the game, which had no affect on the Jayhawks’ getting to reliever Katelyn Callahan. Maggie Hull and Montgomery both scored in the inning thanks to a base hit from senior first baseman Marissa Ingle and a fielder’s choice from Bryant before Stein’s double ended the game, 8-0.
Friday, March 2
vs. Connecticut, W, 8-0 (6)
vs. Charleston Southern, 2 p.m. CT
Saturday, March 3
vs. Wisconsin, 8 a.m. CT
vs. Bracket Play Decision, TBA
Sunday, March 4
vs. Connecticut, 12 p.m. CT