Kansas Falls to No. 5 Texas in Marathon Game One, 12-3
April 13, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. –In the longest game at Arrocha Ballpark in more than 10 years at two hours and 49 minutes, the Kansas softball team kept up with No. 5 Texas through the fifth until a pair of consecutive four-run innings ended game one in the Longhorns’ favor, 12-3.
Kansas (26-13, 3-10) struck first with a run in the bottom of the first before the top-five Longhorns answered with three runs in the top of the second. By the top of the sixth, the Jayhawks were battling, trailing just 4-1. Four runs in the sixth and four more in the seventh, however, put the game out of a reach. Freshman catcher Lexi Bryant would tie for the team lead with her 10th double, knocking in a pair of runs, but the Jayhawks were unable to dig out of the deficit.
No. 5 Texas (33-5, 7-3) looked the part of a top-five team in the country. Third baseman Nadia Taylor led the potent offense with a 2-for-4 effort and four RBIs as both hits were home runs. Big 12 batting leader, senior second baseman Lexy Bennett, was right behind her with a 2-for-4, three RBI performance.
Juniors Morgan Druhan (8-5) from Kansas and Blaire Luna (14-2) from Texas squared off in the first game of the night. Luna nabbed the win in her complete-game outing, allowing three runs off of seven Jayhawk hits. Druhan was forced to work around a season-high 10 walks with seven strikeouts and surrendered 10 runs – six earned – in her six innings in the circle to take the loss.
At the plate, the Jayhawks received another solid performance from freshman third baseman Chanin Naudin. Her 2-for-4 game extended her hit streak to eight and makes her an impressive 15-for-25 in that span. She and Bryant recorded the Jayhawks’ RBIs, while junior left fielder Maggie Hull also went 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
The Jayhawks struck first using Naudin’s red-hot bat. The freshman third baseman drove in a run the first chance she got on Friday, knocking in Maggie Hull. With one swing, she handed Kansas the early 1-0 lead.
The Big 12’s best offense wouldn’t stay behind long. A leadoff homer from Taylor tied the game in the Longhorns’ next at bat. A pair of doubles followed to hand Texas a 3-1 lead by the middle of the second.
After Luna was forced to handle a bases loaded threat by the Jayhawks in the bottom of the third, Druhan faced the same scenario from the Longhorns in the top of the fourth. Luna was able to escape, stranding all three Jayhawk runners. Druhan faired almost as well, also leaving the bags packed with an inning-ending strikeout, but a walk to Bennett forced in a run. Texas ended the fourth with a boosted lead, 4-1.
Although Kansas had chances, putting the leadoff runner on base in the fourth and the fifth, the Jayhawks weren’t able to get them across.
Druhan managed to work around her season-high walk count by forcing strikeouts and pop outs in key situations, until the Longhorns broke the game open in the top of the sixth. A Jayhawk error allowed the first run of the four-run frame to score and extended the inning for the power-hitting Taylor. The Longhorn third baseman connected on her second homer of the game to hand Texas a commanding lead, 8-1.
For the first time all game, Luna struck out the side in the bottom of the sixth to quickly send the Longhorns back to the plate. They took advantage, scoring four more using a pair of singles, a double and an error.
The Jayhawks kept fighting as they loaded the bases in their final at bat. Bryant’s double drove in two of them, but the rally couldn’t overcome the deficit as KU fell 12-3.
Kansas and Texas will square off in the nightcap directly following the conclusion of game one.