Kansas Uses Big Hits to Down Texas State, 4-2
March 16, 2013
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Fighting off a full count with two outs in the top of the sixth, junior second baseman Ashley Newman drilled a triple to the right field wall to complete Kansas softball’s comeback against Texas State, 4-2, Saturday morning.
Kansas (21-6) improved to 2-1 at the Capital Classic hosted by Sacramento State after knocking off Texas State (5-20). The Jayhawks doubled up the Bobcats in the hit column, and six of KU’s 10 hits were extra-base hits – including Newman’s RBI triple.
“Ashley Newman is a rock; she’s solid,” head coach Megan Smithsaid. “When she comes up to the plate, she’s very calm, very cool and she gets things done. She’s had some great at bats the last few weeks and I think she’s doing a really good job.”
Senior left fielder Maggie Hullaccounted for half of the Jayhawks’ extra base hits, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and a triple. She collected an RBI and scored a run, moving her closer to becoming Kansas’ career leader in both categories with 129 RBIs and 126 runs scored during her four years as a Jayhawk.
Freshman shortstop Chaley Brickey also centered her day at the plate around power hitting as she cranked out an RBI double in the fourth to tie the game at 2-2, and another double in the sixth to put herself in position to score on Newman’s triple. Freshman catcher Alex Hugorounded out the KU leaderboard, going 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.
Smith adjusted her lineup before Saturday’s matchup and the Jayhawks responded immediately. New leadoff hitter, Maggie Hull, ripped a triple down the right field line as the first batter of the game. Moments later, Hugo cracked an RBI single into left field, giving KU a 1-0 lead just two batters into the game.
Conversely, sophomore Alicia Pille was in a familiar role, starting the game for the Jayhawks and throwing three innings before leaving a 2-2 game in the bottom of the fourth for relief pitcher Alex Jones(7-0).
Although Jones entered the circle after a back-and-fourth battle through the first three innings, she locked down the Texas State offense. The redshirt junior walked the first batter she faced in the bottom of the fourth, but never saw another base runner as she retired 12-consecutive batters to record her seventh win of the season. That tied her career high set in 2010 when she finished with a 7-9 record.
“I can’t say enough about what she’s doing right now,” Smith said. “That’s hard work and that’s heart. She comes out and she fights. That’s what I love about her. She is phenomenal in the circle for us and it’s not even because of her pitches, but because she fights. I love to see that every time she’s out there.” Ashley Wright (3-8) took the loss for the Bobcats, surrendering four runs – three earned – and nine hits. Third baseman Courtney Harris led the offense with a two run double, while centerfielder Brooke Baker went 2-for-3.
Following Hull and Hugo’s first-inning run, Texas State strung together a pair of singles before Harris’ two-run double in the bottom of the third gave TSU a 2-1 lead.
Quick to respond, Brickey’s first double drove in senior right fielder Rosie Hulland knotted the game, 2-2. After Jones was called in to pitch the bottom of the fourth, the score stayed put for one more inning until Jayhawk extra-base hits again took over.
Brickey got it started in the bottom of the sixth when she roped a double to left and took off for third thanks to a sac bunt from Jones. The freshman shortstop wasn’t on third long as Newman’s triple directly followed to return the lead to Kansas, 3-2. Maggie Hullconnected on her second double of the day to bring home Newman for the insurance run.
A quick 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh from Jones, which included two strikeouts and a groundball back at her, ended the morning with a 4-2 KU win.
Kansas will square off against tournament host Sacramento State in the Jayhawks’ final game of the Capital Classic. First pitch against the Hornets is set for 1 p.m. CT.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.