Kansas Falls to No. 12 Missouri in Game Two of Border Showdown, 5-0
March 18, 2012
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Kansas threatened all game long, putting runners on third base in three different innings, but couldn’t find a way to the plate a run as No. 12 Missouri took game two, 5-0, at University Field on Sunday afternoon.
Saturday’s rainout forced games two and three of the Border Showdown series into a Sunday doubleheader and Kansas (20-4, 0-2) came out looking to even the series. The Jayhawks racked up four hits to Missouri’s (19-3, 2-0) seven, but KU’s nine stranded runners – five in scoring position – led to the Tiger shutout.
At the plate, junior designated player Rosie Hull turned in a three-walk effort, the first since junior shortstop Mariah Montgomery drew three free passes against Southeastern Louisiana in the Jayhawks’ opening weekend. Redshirt senior Liz Kocon drilled her fourth double of the year, while singles from freshman Maddie Stein and sophomore Ashley Newman also contributed to the Jayhawk offense.
Freshman Alicia Pille (9-3) made her first Big 12 Conference start, taking her first loss since opening day on Feb. 10. In the bottom of the third, the Jayhawk rookie surrendered her first earned run in 30.2 consecutive innings. She finished the start with five runs charged to her, two earned, on six hits, one walk and one strikeout.
Taking over in relief, sophomore Kristin Martinez threw 2.2 scoreless innings to finish the game, giving up just one hit, walking none and striking out two.
Opposite the Jayhawk duo, for the second time this series, was All-American Chelsea Thomas (10-1) Last year’s Big 12 Pitcher of the Year came out in shutdown mode again, allowing two hits and no runs in the five-inning start. Freshman Bailey Erwin finished the final two innings for the combined shutout.
Missouri was led by a pair of two-hit performances from catcher Jenna Marston and centerfielder Ashley Fleming, while designated player Lindsey Muller collected two RBIs.
The Tigers struck first in the opening frame, racking up three earned runs with the use of two singles, two walks and an error. Although Pille stretched her streak to 29-straight innings without allowing an earned run, the three unearned scores handed Missouri the 3-0 lead out of the first inning.
In the opposite dugout, the Jayhawks found a way on base in the first and second innings as Montgomery drew a two-out walk in the first and Rosie Hull led off the second with a free pass. Freshman catcher Lexi Bryant looked to move Hull when she sent a rocket line drive up the middle, but Missouri second baseman Ashtin Stephens’ diving catch abruptly stopped the Jayhawk threat to keep KU off the board.
After working a three-up, three-down bottom of the second and collecting two outs in the bottom of the third, Pille’s earned-run streak came to an end at 30.2 innings. Marston led off the third with a single and moved around on a hit batter before Pille sat the next two batters. Working with two outs and two strikes, Muller put a groundball through the left side, scoring the first earned run Pille has given up since Feb. 25.
Facing the 4-0 deficit, the Jayhawk offense appeared to find a spark in the top of the fourth. Rosie Hull drew her second walk of the day following Kocon’s double to the wall in right centerfield wall. Although Bryant’s groundout moved the duo to second a third, Thomas left them stranded with the shutout intact.
Meanwhile, Pille’s outing would come to a close in the bottom half of the inning. A back-to-back one-out single and double prompted head coach Megan Smith to bring in Martinez. The sophomore reliever recorded outs on the next two batters she faced, but not before an RBI groundout extended Missouri’s lead, 5-0.
Nevertheless, Kansas kept threatening. Sophomore centerfielder Elsa Moyer sped down the line to beat out a bunt single, while Newman flashed her speed to capitalize on a Tiger error to put runners on the corners with one away. An odd batter interference call and a strikeout, however, kept the rallying Jayhawks at bay.
The top of the fifth would also mark Thomas’ final inning of work as she was replaced by reliever Bailey Erwin in the following inning. She handed Rosie Hull her third walk of the day and before Stein was called upon to pinch hit. She delivered with a two-out single, but for the third time, KU would leave a runner on third and come just shy of breaking up the shutout.
Newman dropped a single into left field in the top of the seventh, but Erwin closed the game with two-straight outs for the 5-0 Missouri victory.