Smith Gets 100th Win at Kansas in Thrilling Win Over Ball State, 8-7
March 9, 2013
BOCA RATON, Fla. – Head coach Megan Smith chalked up her 100th victory at Kansas in intense fashion when the Jayhawks emerged on top of a slugfest with Ball State, 8-7, in KU’s first game of day two at the FAU Invitational.
In her fourth season with the Jayhawks, Smith became the third-fastest coach in program history to reach the 100-win plateau, doing so in 182 games (Bob Stanclift, 144; Kalum Haack, 159; Megan Smith, 182). In seven overall seasons as a head coach, Smith holds a 226-143 (.612) record.
Kansas (17-5) and Ball State (11-9) put on a battle of the bats on Saturday evening, churning out 13 hits apiece. BSU rattled off two solo homers in the bottom of the first, while Kansas reclaimed the lead with three-straight homers in the top of the third. Still clubbing, BSU drilled a three-run long ball in the third before KU posted the final one of the night in the sixth. By night’s end, the teams combined for seven homers – with Kansas posting four home runs for the second time this season.
Senior first baseman Mariah Montgomery played a vital role in the Jayhawks’ potent offense, drilling two homers during a 3-for-4, three RBI performance. She stands at third on KU’s career RBI list with 123 and fifth in career homers after hitting No. 25 and 26 on Saturday. She tied the game at 6-6 with her second solo shot in the top of the sixth, and fellow senior Maggie Hull drove in the decisive run in the seventh to continue the RBI race between the two. Hull’s game winner marked the 125th RBI of her career and she finished the game 2-for-5.
Montgomery kicked off the Jayhawks’ home run derby in the third with her one-out solo shot to centerfield. Following suit, freshman catcher Alex Hugo and senior right fielder Rosie Hull powered the Jayhawks to back-to-back-to-back home runs. Hugo’s homer to right marked her eighth of the season, making her the first Kansas rookie to belt eight homers since the 2003 season (Jessica Moppin, 11, 2003).
The homering trio propelled KU to a 4-2 lead, which Ball State would quickly swipe back when catcher Sadie Robertson roped a three-run home run to right. Like most of the leads in the contest, that one, too, was short lived as Kansas answered with two more runs in the fourth and climbed back in front, 6-5. By game’s end, the lead changed hands six times.
After a pair of first inning home runs from Ball State, the Jayhawks started chipping away to start the game. Sophomore third baseman Chanin Naudin drilled a two-out RBI single to end the second trailing, 2-1.
A double and a pair of infield singles had the Cardinals threatening again in their next at bat, but with the bases loaded and one out, freshman Kesley Kessler came in to relieve starter Alicia Pille. She shook off the pressure situation and recorded a strikeout and groundout to leave the bases loaded.
Kessler would go on to strand runners on second and third three more times before exiting the game after 3.2 innings for redshirt junior Alex Jones (4-0). Tied 7-7 to start the bottom of the sixth, Jones proceeded to throw six-straight outs, the only 1-2-3 innings of the game. She earned the win in relief, striking out four and surrendering neither a hit nor a walk in her two innings of work.
Jones snatched a come-back line drive and struck out the next two in the bottom of the sixth to send the Kansas hitters to the plate for the decisive seventh inning.
Junior second baseman Ashley Newman beat out a misplayed groundball and moved to second on a ground out to short. Maggie Hull then strode to the plate with two outs against her and delivered. Her 125th career RBI stood as the winning run. Jones locked up the bottom of the seventh with a groundout to short and two-consecutive strikeouts, sealing the 8-7 win.
Kansas stays on the field to take on host team Florida Atlantic at approximately 8 p.m. CT.
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