No. 24 Texas Tech Keeps First-Day Lead to Defeat Kansas, 4-1
April 28, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Following a rain delay that pushed the completion of game one until Saturday, No. 24 Texas Tech added an additional run when play resumed in the top of the fifth to complete the three-run frame that defeated the Kansas softball team, 4-1.
On Friday evening, a storm cell enveloped Arrocha Ballpark, forcing the remainder of the game to be postponed until Saturday at noon with No. 24 Texas Tech (38-13, 11-8) leading Kansas (30-17, 5-14) by a 3-1 margin in the top of the fifth.
When play resumed on Saturday at noon, sophomore Kristin Martinez took over in the circle facing a bases loaded, one-out situation. A walk allowed one run to score, before she collected a strikeout and a groundout to end the inning, which took more than 18 hours to complete.
Martinez went on to throw 2.2 scoreless innings of relief on Saturday, despite actually starting Saturday’s resumed action. Texas Tech starter, Cara Custer (24-8), also started game one, but it was Brittany Talley who started in the circle in the fifth inning when the teams returned to play. Talley earned her first save of the season while Alicia Pille (17-10) took the loss after starting for Kansas on Friday.
Kansas took a 1-0 lead in its first at bat using an RBI single from junior shortstop Mariah Montgomery, her team-best 43rd RBI of the year. She drove in junior left fielder Maggie Hull, who now needs three more runs to become the Jayhawks’ new single season leader in runs scored (46, Rosie Rader, 1980).
Minutes before the overnight delay, No. 24 Texas Tech took the lead using a two-run fifth after tying the game with catcher Holley Gentsch’s solo shot in the fourth.
Gentsch led the offense with the homer and two RBIs. First baseman Sandy James and pinch hitter Taylor Powell also collected RBIs for Texas Tech.
On Friday, Texas Tech threatened in its first at bat with runners on second and third with the team’s batting leader, junior Adriana Perez, stepping to the plate. Pille struck her out swinging for the crucial second out. She worked around a walk that loaded the bases with a pop up, leaving the bases loaded.
Like the visitors, the Jayhawks also benefitted from two, first-inning walks, but found a way to scratch one across. A wild pitch moved Maggie Hull into scoring position at second base for Montgomery. KU’s RBI leader stepped up, pushing a sharp grounder through the right side for her 43rd RBI of the season
Meanwhile, Pille kept the potent Texas Tech lineup quiet through the first three innings. Although she faced a bases loaded situation in the top of the first and put two more in the second, she worked herself out of both jams and had stranded six heading into the top of the fourth.
The Red Raider lineup entered the weekend second in the league in home runs, amassing 60 bombs prior to its trip to Lawrence. With the wind wrecking havoc in various directions all game, a long ball seemed inevitable. Facing Gentsch with one away in the top of the fourth, Pille surrendered a homer to left to knot the game, 1-1.
For the fourth time in five innings, a Red Raider reached base to lead off the frame. While Pille had been able to work around it throughout the game, Tech made it count in the top of the fifth. Centerfielder Mikey Kenney kicked off the inning with a walk and Perez came right behind her with a single.
The next single, albeit an infield one, made the biggest impact. James rocketed a line drive back at Pille, slamming against her hand. The infield hit scored the go-ahead run, but also ended Pille’s outing. She was forced to come out for reliever Morgan Druhan, who surrendered back-to-back walks to score another run and extend Tech’s lead, 3-1.
Following the bases loaded walk, the tarp was pulled for a 62-minute delay until being officially called around 8 p.m. This marks the Jayhawks’ second delayed Big 12 home game this season. KU and Texas was delayed for 61 minutes on April 13.
When play resumed on Saturday, Martinez dealt a bases loaded walk to the first batter she faced to tack on the final run of the game. Both relievers would keep each respective lineup off the board for the remainder of the game.
Kansas and No. 24 Texas Tech will square off in the second game of the three-game series Saturday at 2 p.m. Following the game, all five Jayhawk seniors will be honored on the field.