Dominant Inning Rallies No. 8 Texas Past Kansas, 16-4
March 29, 2013
Five innings into the first game of the day against No. 8 Texas, Kansas held a 3-2 lead. A 14-run inning in the sixth, however, depleted the home team’s momentum and sent the Jayhawks to a 16-4 loss Friday at Arrocha Ballpark.
Kansas (21-9, 0-2) scored once in the first and twice in the second to build a 3-0 lead through three innings. Texas (31-4, 4-0) responded with two runs in the fourth, but freshman starter Kelsey Kessler and reliever Alicia Pille (7-5) worked diligently in the circle to keep the lead through five.
The top-10 Longhorns answered loudly in the sixth. Sending 19 batters to the plate, Texas turned a game that Kansas had controlled into a run-rule effort in a single inning. The visitors stole KU’s momentum, using 10 hits – including a home run and a grand slam – to score 14 runs.
Pille worked around a walk and an infield single in the top of the fifth and – thanks to a two-run double from senior left fielder Maggie Hull and a manufactured RBI from sophomore catcher Maddie Stein – the 3-2 lead held tight heading into the game-changing sixth inning.
Hull led the offense for Kansas, going 2-for-3 with three RBIs, moving her within three of tying KU’s career RBI record. Senior first baseman Mariah Montgomery also collected a hit, while freshman shortstop Chaley Brickey scored twice and posted a hit in the first game of the day.
Although Kessler would re-enter after Pille came in to relieve her in the fifth, Pille ultimately took the loss. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases in the top of the sixth before the sophomore right-hander issued a walk to tie the game, bringing the pitching staff to a dilemma.
In a 3-3 tie, senior third baseman Taylor Hoagland came to the plate for Texas. Attempting to take her potent bat out of the lineup all series, KU walked her in each of her previous eight-straight plate appearances. Now facing a tie game with the bases loaded, however, head coach Megan Smith called Kessler back in to pitch. In her only official at bat through the first two games, Hoagland took advantage. She sent a 1-1 delivery over the left field fence for a grand slam to break the tie, 7-3.
From there, the Longhorns broke loose for nine more runs, including a two-run homer from senior shortstop Taylor Thom. By the end of the inning, Texas stood in front, 16-3.
Still fighting, Hull drove in her third run of the game in the bottom of the sixth, but the rally wasn’t enough to overcome the heavy deficit as Kansas fell, 16-4.
Due to inclement weather in the forecast for Saturday, Kansas and Texas will finish the series on Friday afternoon. Game time is set for approximately 4 p.m.