Kansas Falls in Close Contest at No. 18/16 Texas A&M, 4-3
May 5, 2012
COLLEGE STATION, Texas –A well-balanced effort, complete with solid pitching and a three-run homer from its senior captain saw the Kansas softball team come one run short of upsetting No. 18/16 Texas A&M in a 4-3 loss, Saturday afternoon at the Aggie Softball Complex.
Kansas (31-19, 6-16) took a 3-1 lead in the top of the third, using redshirt senior Liz Kocon’sthree-run blast, but No. 18/16 Texas A&M (35-16, 15-8) answered with a homer in both the fourth and fifth innings for the comeback win.
“It was a great softball game,” head coach Megan Smithsaid. “I think as a coach, you walk away saying that was a great game no matter which team you’re on. We just have to get more than that one clutch hit. Liz stepped up and gave us a big one, and we had several key hits today, but not enough with runners in scoring position. That was our downfall today. I thought both of our pitchers threw extremely well. We ask them to go out there and keep us in the game and they did that for us today. Our defense was great again today, too, we just need more than one timely hit.”
Game two pitted freshmen pitchers Alicia Pille and Lauren Ainsley (4-1) against each other. While Pille would hold a lead entering the bottom of the fourth, a game-tying home run prompted her exit without recording a decision. Sophomore reliever Kristin Martinez(6-3) took the loss for Kansas, allowing the home run that would seal the Aggie win in the fifth. It was the only run she allowed in her 2.1 innings of relief.
Junior left fielder Maggie Hullscored on Kocon’s homer, tying her for the most runs scored in a season at Kansas (46, Rose Rader, 1980). The junior captain also moved up the Kansas leaderboard in hits as her 2-for-4 day gave her 67 on the season, passing Roanna Brazier’s 1989 mark (66) for seventh all-time at KU.
The offense was paced by her fellow captain, Kocon, and her three-run bomb in the top of the third. The homer moved her into sole possession of second in career home runs at Kansas (32), passing Jayhawk great Destiny Frankenstein.
All but three of the Jayhawk hitters collected base hits in the contest with Hull and freshmen Maddie Stein and Lexi Bryantall recording two hits apiece.
KU’s offensive effort, however, was overshadowed by homers from the home team. Junior catcher Megan May hit the game-tying two-run shot with two outs in the bottom of the fourth, while Mel Dumezich’s solo shot in the fifth stood as the game winner.
Dumezich, who played the first six innings at first base, would come in to throw the top of the seventh and recorded her first save since her freshman season.
In the bottom of the first, Pille stranded a pair of Aggies on base, but ran into a jam in the home team’s next at bat. A well-placed bunt single from left fielder Emily Albus loaded the bases with two down. Despite a solid defensive play up the middle by junior shortstop Mariah Montgomeryfor a fielder’s choice attempt, the Aggie runner was called safe and allowed the first run of the game to score. Ignoring the bases loaded threat, Pille recorded a crucial strikeout to end the inning.
In the next frame, Pille’s offense would repay her. After Hull collected her second hit of the game, Stein joined her on the bases with a bunt single. Stepping up in a familiar role, Kocon’s three-run bomb moved her all-time RBI lead at Kansas to 135 runs driven in.
The Jayhawks would grip the lead for another inning until May’s two-homer in the bottom of the fourth knotted the game, 3-3. The homer of the year prompted Smith to make a change in the circle, bringing in Martinez.
The sophomore lefty would record the final out of the inning, but Dumezich’s leadoff homer – her second of the weekend – to start the bottom of the sixth would be the final run of the game. Using the lead she provided, Dumezich worked around Montgomery’s two-single in the seventh to record the save.
Kansas and No. 18/16 Texas A&M will face each other for the final time as members of the Big 12 Conference in the series finale on Sunday at 11 a.m.