Kansas Falls In Close Finale to No. 8 Texas, 5-4
March 29, 2013
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The game-tying run stood on third and the game winner on first as Kansas pressured No. 8 Texas down to the last pitch before succumbing to the Longhorns, 5-4, in the series finale at Arrocha Ballpark.
Ignoring a tough loss in the first game of the day, Kansas (21-10, 0-3) got right back after it in the final game of the weekend against Texas (32-4, 5-0). A two-run homer from freshman designated player Alex Hugo set the tone for a tightly-contested game in the Jayhawks’ first at bat.
“It was a good game, we just came up a little bit short,” head coach Megan Smith said. “Our team saw that they competed with Texas today and they needed to see that. Aside from one horrible inning today, we competed with them both games.”
Hugo’s home run tied the game, 2-2, and gave her nine on the season, moving her to second all-time in home runs by a freshman at Kansas. She finished the day 1-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs.
Alongside her, senior left fielder Maggie Hull roped a single in her first at bat to extend her hit streak to 17 games. She scored twice and led the team over the weekend with a .444 average.
Sophomore Alicia Pille (7-6) took the loss in the circle, despite holding Texas to four hits in her four innings of work. She left the game trailing 3-2 when freshman Kelsey Kessler came in to toss the final three innings. Three-straight singles in the top of the third powered the visitors to a 5-2 lead in Kessler’s first trip to the circle, but her offense came right back with two more runs in the bottom of the fifth to close the deficit to a single run, 5-4.
Kessler would surrender a walk in the sixth and a single in the seventh, but stranded them both to keep the Jayhawks in it.
Opposite KU’s underclassmen duo in the circle was Texas veteran Blaire Luna (17-1). The senior All-American threw a complete game, striking out nine but giving up seven walks to the disciplined Jayhawks. The home run to Hugo was just her seventh surrendered of the year, but that and the single to Hull were the only hits she allowed in the win.
At the plate, UT was led by senior first baseman Kim Bruins and her two-hit, three-RBI effort. Senior third baseman Taylor Hoagland scored twice and walked four times, reaching base in each of her plate appearances over the weekend.
After Hugo’s blast knotted the score at 2-2 by the end of the opening frame, both Pille and Luna kept their respective offenses quiet through the next two innings. A two-out double from sophomore designated player Marlee Gabaldon broke up the tie, 3-2, in the fourth to prompt Kessler’s entry in the following inning.
Hoagland drew a walk to lead off the decisive fifth. After Kessler recorded a strikeout, the Longhorns strung together three singles and a fielder’s choice RBI to take a 5-2 lead.
Though Hugo’s homer marked KU’s last hit of the day, the Jayhawks found still ways to score in response. A pair of errors combined with a walk issued to sophomore third baseman Chanin Naudin loaded the bases with one out for the Jayhawks. Sophomore catcher Maddie Stein hit a productive ground ball to the right side to drive in a run and senior first baseman Mariah drew a bases-loaded walk to cut the Longhorn lead to one run, 5-4.
Though the Jayhawks would threaten with the winnings runs on base in the bottom of the seventh, Luna sealed KU’s fate with a strikeout for the final out of the game.
Kansas will travel to Lubbock, Texas to face Texas Tech in a three-game series, April 5-7. Game times are set for 7 p.m., 4 p.m. and noon.
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