KU Battles, Falls 3-1 in Nine Innings

May 20, 2005

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The University of Kansas softball team lost a tough 3-1, nine-inning battle to Georgia Tech Friday night in its opening game of the NCAA Regional at the UGA Softball Stadium. The Jayhawks will face Tennessee Tech (35-27) Saturday at 1:30 p.m. CST.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

With the loss, the Jayhawks moved to 30-23 on the season while the No. 17 Yellow Jackets, the 2005 Atlantic Coast Conference champions, improved to 50-12.

Tech scored in the top of the sixth on a base hit by Caitlin Lever, who drove in Kirin Kumar (singled) from second. KU starter Serena Settlemier walked the next batter but held on to strike out Daisy Paez for the third time of the day and end the inning.

Settlemier took matters into her own hands in the bottom of the seventh, nailing a solo home run (eighth of the season) down the left field line with two outs. The run was Jessica Sallinger’s first allowed in 26 innings, dating back to May 9.

The Jayhawks put two in scoring position in the bottom of the eighth but could not drive in the deciding run. Nettie Fierros reached on an error to lead off and advanced to second on a bad throw by Sallinger when Ashley Frazer bunted. Nicole Washburn (sacrifice bunt) advanced the runners but Heather Stanley struck out and Fierros was tagged out at home on a slap.

The Yellow Jackets scored two runs in the ninth off two hits and a double steal. Katie Donovan singled in Christine Sheridan (base hit) and Amy Hosier (walked) stole home after the Jayhawks threw to second on an attempt.

The Jayhawk defense started out strong as catcher Elle Pottorf threw out Aileen Morales in the top of the first for just the fifth time this season in her 49 attempts. Pottorf also gunned down Lever (31 steals on 38 attempts) in the fourth inning.

The Yellow Jackets, who rank third in the nation with 2.65 steals per game, totaled seven hits and committed two errors in the win.

Settlemier (13-9) allowed six hits, struck out five, and walked two in 8.1 innings of work. Lefty reliever Christina Ross struck out two and gave up one hit in 0.2 innings.

Sallinger (28-7), the ACC Pitcher of the Year and league tournament MVP, fanned eight batters, gave up four hits and walked none in the win. Stanley, who also celebrated her 21st birthday Friday, notched two of KU’s four hits.