Kansas Uses Opportunities to Defeat Iowa State in Series Opener, 8-2
April 20, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Led by clutch performances throughout the lineup, another historical happening for rookie pitcher Alicia Pille and an additional opportunity from an unlikely source, the Kansas softball team defeated Iowa State, 8-2, Friday evening at Arrocha Ballpark.
A third-inning solo home run by Iowa State (13-29, 1-12) and an RBI double from Kansas (27-15, 4-12) resulted in a tie ballgame heading into the sixth inning. Freshman Lexi Bryant, who homered in her first career at bat and had yet to hit another, sent her second career home run over the left field wall to put the Jayhawks ahead 2-1.
Stepping up in a regular role as of late, freshman third baseman Chanin Naudin roped an RBI single to extend her hit streak to 11 games – recording an RBI in six of them – to increase the Jayhawk lead to 3-1.
Normalcy then momentarily halted. A substitution error was ruled on a double play call and with that allowed freshman Maddie Stein another opportunity at the plate.
Stein used it.
The freshman first baseman singled up the middle to drive in another Kansas run, the first of four runs KU would score with the extra chance due to the ruling on the field. By the end of the sixth inning, KU sent 12 batters to the plate against three different ISU pitchers, scoring seven runs on seven hits and two Cyclone errors. What started as a tie ballgame in the top of the sixth turned into an insurmountable 8-1 Kansas lead with only three outs remaining.
Unfazed by a seventh-inning run, Pille (14-8) recorded all three of those outs to put both her 14th victory, and complete game, of the season in the books. She becomes the first Jayhawk freshman to win 14 games since Kassie Humphreysdid so in 2004. Three more wins on the season would tie her for third all-time among KU rookies (Stephani Williams, 17, 1991).
The rookie starter had plenty of offense behind her, including several key players that are also rewriting the KU record books. Junior shortstop Mariah Montgomery led the offense with a pair of doubles and three RBIs on Friday, tying teammate Liz Kocon’s2011 mark for fifth all-time at KU for RBIs in a season. Montgomery now leads the team with 40 runs driven in.
Chasing Naudin, junior Maggie Hull extended her own hit streak to 10 games, the last five of which have been multi-hit games. She went 3-for-4 with a run scored. After game one, Hull has now scored more runs (40) and has tied her hit count (56) from 2011 – with 10 regular season games to play.
Kocon and Stein also cranked out two hits apiece to help KU double ISU in the hit column, 12-6.
Tori Torrescano (7-20) took the loss in the circle for Iowa State after surrendering four runs on eight hits in 5.1 innings of work.
At the plate, the Cyclones were led by infielders Sara Davison and Erica Miller who each went 2-for-4 with a run scored. Miller’s run came from her solo shot in the top of the third, tying her for the all-time lead in career homers at ISU.
After Pille threw a 1-2-3 second inning, Iowa State struck first when Miller found a way around the 14 mph wind blowing in from the outfield at Arrocha Ballpark for the 1-0 lead.
The Cyclones looked to add to it in their next at bat when a walk and a single put runners on the corners with nobody out, but Pille buckled down for a pair of strikeouts and Naudin snagged a line drive at third to end the threat.
KU rallied for its first threat in the bottom of the fourth when Kocon and Stein led off the frame with back-to-back singles. Montgomery strode to the plate and smacked Torrescano’s delivery to the opposite field and once again the wind played a part. A gust curved the ball away from the right fielder and landed for an RBI double to tie the game, 1-1.
KU’s lineup would load the bases in the fourth and the fifth before breaking the game open with the seven-run sixth inning for the 8-2 victory.
Kansas and Iowa State will continue the series, Saturday at 2 p.m. Game two is the Jayhawks’ annual Pink in the Park game as well as KU’s Softball Alumni Day. Fans that wear pink to Arrocha Ballpark will be admitted for only $3.