Kansas Uses Sixth-Inning Rally to Take Game One at Missouri State, 4-2

March 27, 2012

Box Score

Kansas 4, Missouri State 2
Killian Stadium // Springfield, Mo.
Junior shortstop Mariah Montgomery drove in two runs in the win and leads the team with 30 RBIs

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
KU 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 4 6 0
MSU 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 7 2
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Leaders – Batting
M. Montgomery 3 0 2 2 0 0
L. Kocon 3 1 1 2 0 0
Missouri State
S. Pierce 2 0 2 1 1 0
H. Duckworth 3 0 1 0 0 0
Kansas IP H R ER BB SO
A. Pille (W, 11-4) 7.0 7 2 2 2 5
Oklahoma State
N. Rose (L 9-4) 7.0 7 4 4 0 4

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. –Five-straight Jayhawks reached base to kickoff the Jayhawks’ four-run sixth inning, powering the Kansas softball team past Missouri State in the first game of a doubleheader at Killian Stadium Tuesday night, 4-2.

For the first time since the 2007 season, Kansas (23-6) and Missouri State (13-11) met in Springfield, Mo. Nevertheless, the Jayhawks chalked up their ninth win in their last 11 meetings with the Bears in the first game of the day.

Freshman Alicia Pille(11-4) earned the start for the Jayhawks and recorded her ninth complete game in the process. A run in the Bears’ first at bat and their final at bat was all Pille would allow as she struck out five and walked two in the win.

The Kansas rookie was opposite MSU veteran starter, Natalie Rose (9-3) in the circle. Last season’s Missouri Valley Conference Tournament MVP held the Jayhawks scoreless until the four-run sixth that sealed the win for the visitors. She struck out four and allowed no free passes against the Jayhawks.

At the plate, Kansas got its RBI production from captains Liz Kocon and Mariah Montgomery, who each drove in a pair of runs in the sixth-inning rally. Fellow captain Maggie Hull went 2-for-3, while twin sister Rosie Hullalso contributed a hit in the big inning.

First baseman Stevie Pierce led the Bears’ offense, going 2-for-2 with an RBI and a walk.

The Bears struck first, using a two-out single and an RBI double to scratch a run across in their first at bat. Unfazed, Pille buckled down to retire the next eight- straight batters until surrendering a walk and a single in the bottom of the fourth.

Staying patient, Pille kept the Bears off the board as she waited for the offense to offer its support. Her patience paid off in the top of the sixth as the Jayhawks churned out four-consecutive hits en route to the four-run inning.

Sophomore second baseman Ashley Newman used her speed to force an error on a bunt play to jumpstart the Jayhawk rally. She was quickly joined by Rosie Hull, who executed a flawless hit and run. Amped to get on the scoreboard, Maggie Hullfollowed right behind her with an infield single to load the bases with nobody out.

Coming up in a familiar spot, Kocon, KU’s all-time RBI leader, came through. The redshirt senior crushed a two-run double to the right field wall to give Kansas its first lead of the game, 2-1.

The string of hits kept coming when Montgomery ripped the Jayhawks’ fourth-straight hit, driving home Maggie Hulland Kocon to give KU the 4-1 lead.

Although the Bears answered with a run in the bottom of the sixth and strung together a pair of two-out singles in the seventh, Pille hung with the home team. Her fifth strikeout ended the game for the 4-2 victory.