Kansas Offense Quieted in Loss to No. 8 Texas, 5-0
March 28, 2013
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Sophomore Alicia Pille kept Kansas within striking distance for more than five innings, but three late runs from No. 8 Texas helped the Longhorns to a 5-0 victory in KU’s Big 12 Conference opener, Thursday evening at Arrocha Ballpark.
The midweek meeting also marked the first home game of the season for Kansas (21-8, 0-1), who welcomed the nationally-ranked Longhorns (30-4, 3-0) to Lawrence for the second-straight season following the scheduling shake-up due to conference realignment.
Through the first five innings, two unearned runs accounted for UT’s slim lead as Pille (7-4) and Texas All-American Blaire Luna (16-1) had surrendered only two hits apiece through four frames.
Although Pille worked out of a lead-off single and a walk to end the fifth inning scoreless, Texas benefitted from a clutch hit in its next at bat. A two-out single scored two runs in the top of the sixth before a sac fly accounted for the final run in the seventh.
Pille finished the Big 12 opener with her ninth complete game of the season, surrendering five runs – three earned – on seven hits, while striking out five. Five of her career-high nine walks were dealt to Texas’ leading hitter, senior third baseman Taylor Hoagland.
“Overall, Pille had a pretty good start,” head coach Megan Smith said. “We intentionally walked some people for strategy reasons – and it worked. She just had too many walks to people we shouldn’t have walked but overall I think she had a strong performance. She handled their best hitters, there were a few slip-ups from her but overall pretty good.”
Senior left fielder Maggie Hull extended her hit streak to 15 games in her first at bat and redshirt junior centerfielder Alex Jones collected an infield single in the third, but they were the only hits Kansas managed against Luna and senior reliever Kim Bruins.
Sophomore third baseman Chanin Naudin and senior right fielder Rosie Hull each drew walks and well-executed sacrifice bunts moved runners into scoring position in the first, third and fourth innings, but the attempts to get rallies going by the Jayhawk offense came up empty handed.
“We needed key hits and we didn’t get them,” Smith said. “One swing here or there, it could’ve been a close game early. We just didn’t get those clutch hits. We had a good game plan, didn’t necessarily execute it well and we’re hoping to do that tomorrow. (Luna) was tough today, hats off to her.”
For Texas, Luna earned her 16th win of the year as she gave up two hits in six innings of work. The two-time All-American struck out nine and walked two. Sophomore pinch hitter Marlene Gabaldon was responsible for the two-run single in the sixth, while freshman second baseman Stephanie Ceo drove in two runs, as well.
Bruins came in to throw the seventh, throwing a 1-2-3 inning to close the game in favor of the Longhorns, 5-0.
Due to inclement weather in the forecast for Saturday, the final two games of the series will be played in a doubleheader on Friday. Game times are set for 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. CT.
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