Kansas Completes Sweep, Downs Wichita State in Nightcap, 8-3
April 11, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. – For the second time on Wednesday night, the Kansas softball team roared past a first-inning deficit to clinch the doubleheader sweep against in-state rival Wichita State with an 8-3 win at Arrocha Ballpark.
After a commanding 9-1 victory in game one, Kansas (26-12, 3-9) needed to quickly refocus in order to face a Wichita State (7-31, 0-12) squad ready to even the evening’s series. Using a leadoff double and an RBI single from catcher Melanie Jaegers, the Shockers took a 1-0 first-inning lead just as they had in game one.
The Jayhawks, too, matched its game one performance when they put together another monster inning to reclaim control of the game. A five-spot in the bottom of the third highlighted another display of offensive power by the Jayhawks.
“This was a big day for us. We needed to come out here and play well today and we did that,” head coach Megan Smith said. “We worked to prepare for Wichita State on patience at the plate and not giving in. A team like Wichita State, their pitchers will want you to give in and swing at their pitch instead of your pitch. I thought our girls overall did an excellent job of waiting, staying calm and getting their pitch.”
WSU would fight back with two runs in the fourth in response to the Jayhawks’ scoring spree, only to have its rally attempt thwarted by a pair of Jayhawk runs in the bottom half of the frame to break away for the win.
Leading the Kansas offense, junior shortstop Mariah Montgomery sent her sixth homer of the season out of the park on a rope. The three-run shot came in the midst of the five-run third and inched the Jayhawk captain up the Kansas career list. After Wednesday’s bomb, Montgomery has 21 for her career, two shy of tying the fifth all-time career home run mark by a Jayhawk (23). She finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs, bringing her to a team-best 35 RBIs on the year.
Sophomore second baseman Ashley Newman, junior left fielder Maggie Hull and freshman third baseman Chanin Naudin each joined Montgomery with multi-hit efforts in the nightcap. Freshman Maddie Stein knocked in a pair of runs as she, Hull and Montgomery had RBIs in each game of Wednesday’s doubleheader.
In the circle, junior Morgan Druhan (8-4) recorded the win following four-inning start. She allowed three runs on three hits, struck out five and walked five in the contest before freshman Alicia Pille came on in relief to start the fifth. In her second appearance of the day, Pille threw three scoreless innings, walking none and striking out two to earn her Big 12-best fourth save of the season.
For Wichita State, sophomore lefty Sloan Anderson (3-19) took the loss after allowing five runs on five hits in 1.2 innings of work. Freshman Katherine Johnson and junior Katie Armagost threw in relief, but Kansas found ways to score on each of them.
Facing a 1-0 deficit, the Jayhawks received back-to-back singles from Newman and Hull following a leadoff walk by sophomore centerfielder Elsa Moyer. A sac fly RBI from Maddie Stein turned the lead back to KU, 2-1. With two runners on, Montgomery strode to the plate. Her line drive out of the park handed Kansas the 5-1 lead to end the third inning.
Showing tenacity, the Shockers responded immediately. A two-out triple from left fielder Sydney Stuever narrowed the Jayhawk lead, 5-3, in the very next at bat. It would be their last runs of the evening, however, as Pille came on for the final three innings and commenced shutdown mode.
Meanwhile, Maggie Hull’s team-best 10th double of the year and redshirt senior Liz Kocon’s 30th double of her career highlighted a two-run fourth that helped the Jayhawks pull away. A wild pitch in the Jayhawks’ last at bat of the night tacked on the final run in the 8-3 victory.
The Jayhawks will continue their 13-game homestand when they play host to the No. 5 Texas Longhorns in a three-game series, April 13-15. Game one is set for Friday at 5 p.m. CT.