Kansas Drops Series Finale to Oklahoma State, 3-1
March 25, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. –Already armed with the series victory heading into Sunday, the Kansas softball team came up short of the sweep in the weekend’s finale as the Jayhawks fell to Oklahoma State at Arrocha Ballpark, 3-1.
Kansas (22-6, 2-4) won games one and two during the weekend to clinch the series victory over Oklahoma State (16-12, 1-2), but came out on Sunday looking for the sweep. For the second-straight game, the Jayhawks answered a 1-0 deficit coming out of the top of the first to tie the game at one run apiece. Two unearned runs in the top of fourth, however, ultimately decided the Jayhawks’ fate.
On Saturday, Kansas benefitted from a home run to seal the win despite OSU chalking up more hits. In the finale, the Jayhawks outhit the Cowgirls, 8-7, but were unable to come up with the timely hit needed.
“We were getting runners on, we just weren’t executing at the right times,” head coach Megan Smithsaid. “I was happy with our ability to get people on, but we needed to come through in clutch situations and we weren’t able to do that today. I am proud of the way they responded after last weekend and how they came out for this series.”
Sophomore second baseman Ashley Newman posted her 11th multi-hit game of the season to pace the Jayhawk offense, while senior first baseman Marissa Ingle also churned out a two-hit day. Redshirt senior right fielder Liz Kocon drove in the only Jayhawk run of the afternoon.
In the circle, freshman Alicia Pille (10-4) made her second start and third appearance of the series. All three Cowgirl runs were charged to her in the loss, but the one earned run she allowed was her only of the weekend. She struck out three and walked two in four innings of action.
Junior Morgan Druhan took over for the last three innings and threw her second outing of solid relief outing for the weekend. She scattered two hits over three scoreless innings.
Shortstop Chelsea Garcia stayed hot for the Cowgirls, collecting her second multi-hit game of the series to lead the OSU offense. Left fielder Tamara Brown, third baseman Gessenia DeLaCruz and first baseman Stephanie Brewer contributed the RBIs on Sunday.
Sophomore Simone Freeman made the start in the circle, but the Kansas offense knocked her out of the game by the third inning for junior Kat Espinosa (9-5). She threw five shutout innings to earn the win.
Facing Pille for the third time in three days, the Cowgirl offense made adjustments to score on the rookie for the first time all weekend during the opening frame. Second baseman Ari Morrison led off the game with a single up the middle and the Cowgirls went to work on manufacturing a run.
Morrison moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored when Brown connected another up-the-middle base knock to take the 1-0 lead. Brown was on her way to score as well, until Kansas centerfielder Elsa Moyer stepped in. Moyer picked up Shelby Davis’ groundball to centerfield and threw a bullet to home plate where freshman catcher Lexi Bryant was waiting with the tag. Moyer’s third assist of the season saved the run and ended the inning.
Down 1-0, Kansas answered immediately. Newman led off the Jayhawk first by dropping a base hit into left field. A passed ball put her on second before Kocon, the Jayhawks’ all-time RBI leader, came to the plate. Kocon drove a ball through the right side, giving Newman room to tie the game, 1-1.
The Jayhawks threatened again in the bottom of the third when Newman’s second hit of the game ended Freeman’s start. Espinosa came in and worked her way out of it, forcing Kansas to leave the bases loaded. Missed opportunities haunted the Jayhawks on Sunday as they left a total of nine runners stranded.
After holding the Jayhawks off in the bottom of the third, the Cowgirls took advantage in their next at bat. Pille got a pop-up out of the inning’s leadoff hitter before a single put a runner on with one out. A defensive miscue on a fly ball to the outfield resulted in runners on first and second. That allowed a walk to load the bases with still only one away.
Oklahoma State capitalized on the extra opportunity. An RBI single from Garcia marked the go-ahead run, while Pille’s second walk of the game handed OSU the 3-1 edge.
The relief pitchers from each dugout would not allow another run for the remaining three innings, giving OSU all the run support needed for the 3-1 win.
Kansas gets back on the road for a rescheduled doubleheader at Missouri State on Tuesday, March 27. Originally slated for March 20, rain moved the two-game set back by a week. First pitch times are 4 and 6 p.m.