Iowa State Comes Back Against Kansas to Even Series, 10-9
April 21, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Freshman Maddie Stein’s career day shot the Kansas softball team out to a 6-0 lead two innings in, but a relentless comeback from Iowa State spoiled the Jayhawks’ Pink in the Park and Alumni Day, Saturday afternoon at Arrocha Ballpark with a 10-9 loss.
Prior to the weekend against Iowa State (14-29, 2-12), head coach Megan Smith predicted that all three games against the Cyclones would be intense, close matchups with a lot of scoring. With a 6-0 lead by the third inning, Kansas (27-16, 4-13) looked ready to disprove her point. ISU, however, mounted a comeback that wouldn’t quit.
“They are the type of team that can string together runs,” Smith said. “They’ve hit everybody in our conference so I knew they could hit, I said that coming into this weekend. But, bottom line, nine runs should do it.”
Stein cranked her first and second homers of her career to hand KU a 6-0 lead in the second and an 8-3 advantage in the fourth. The freshman first baseman came up for the final time in the bottom of the seventh. Usually a position better suited for a veteran, Stein stepped to the plate with two outs, a runner on first and her team trailing 10-9. Calm under pressure, the rookie missed her third homer of the day by a matter of feet. The ball fell just in front of the right field wall for a double.
With the tying run on third, junior shortstop Mariah Montgomery drew her third-straight walk to load the bases, but ISU ace Tori Torrescano (8-20) left them loaded to seal the epic come from behind win.
Freshman Alicia Pille (14-9) took the loss after entering the game in a save situation with Kansas ahead 8-5 in the fifth inning. KU used all three of its starting pitchers in the contest as junior Morgan Druhan made the start and lasted 2.1 innings, surrendering three runs and walking three. Sophomore Kristin Martinez tossed the only 1-2-3 inning of the afternoon, but was pulled for Pille during the Cyclones’ pivotal four-run fifth. Three more runs in the sixth capped the comeback, all of which were charged to Pille.
Aside from Stein’s performance, the Jayhawk hitters all performed well in game two with every starter collecting at least one hit except for freshman third baseman Chanin Naudin, who snapped her hit streak at 11. Junior left fielder Maggie Hull, however, extended her streak to 11-straight using her second 3-for-4 performance of the weekend. Hull also scored, tying her for the most runs scored in a season by a junior at KU (41).
Redshirt senior Liz Kocon drove in two, going 2-for-3 and a career-high tying three runs scored. Montgomery also collected an RBI, making her fifth all-time among Jayhawks for RBIs in a single season (41).
Once again, the Cyclones’ three and four-hole hitters did the majority of the damage. Torrescano went 1-for-3 with a three-run homer in the third, while first baseman Erica Miller posted a 2-for-3 effort with three RBIs. The unlikely offensive factor came by way of third baseman Dalyn Varela. Her first home run of the season broke up the 8-8 tie in the sixth to score what resulted in the winning runs.
In her first career appearance at leadoff, sophomore centerfielder Elsa Moyer drew a walk to lead off the bottom of the first. She was quickly joined by Maggie Hull, but neither were on the bases for long. A throwing error sent Moyer home and extended the inning, while Kocon’s RBI double scored Hull.
The opening frame saw 11 Jayhawks go to the plate, scoring four runs – three unearned – on five hits, to take a commanding 4-0 lead. Unsurprisingly for this series, an odd play ended the inning. Moyer’s shot toward the right side hit sophomore second baseman Ashley Newman in the back for an interference call and the final out of the inning.
Armed with the 4-0 lead heading into the second, Stein broke lose for her first career home run. Her first two-run bomb of the day handed Kansas a commanding 6-0 just two innings in.
From there, the tight matchups Smith had predicted kicked in.
Torrescano got the ISU comeback in motion when her historical home run cut the KU lead in half in top of the third, 6-3. The homer marked her 12th of the year, the most in a season for a Cyclone. A single from Miller in the following at bat ended Druhan’s start. Martinez was called in to relieve the junior starter and promptly recorded the next two outs to end the inning.
Martinez would work a calm 1-2-3 fourth; the last calm moments of the game.
With her team’s lead cut in half, Stein immediately responded in the Jayhawks’ next trip to the plate with her second two-run homer of the game. After waiting nearly three months for her first career home run, the rookie busted loose for two in back-to-back at bats and pushed Kansas ahead, 8-3. She finished the day with a career-best three hits, two runs and four RBIs.
Stein’s career day couldn’t hold off the Iowa State charge. A single, an error and a walk loaded the bases for Miller in the top of the fifth. The team’s leading hitter responded accordingly – hitting a two-run double to cut the Jayhawk lead to three, 8-5. Pille was called in, but gave up back-to-back singles. Naudin and Stein ended the inning with a double play, but ISU had cut the deficit to one, 8-7.
Back-to-back leadoff singles in the sixth kept ISU rolling. A sac fly from Miller tied the game before Varela’s two-run homer in the next at bat sealed the win.
Kansas and Iowa State will decide the series on Sunday at noon. The game is also the Bark in the Park event. Dogs admitted free with a donation to the Lawrence Humane Society.