Jayhawks Blank Independence CC in Fall Exhibition
Sept. 26, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The stats won’t officially count from Wednesday’s 12-0 exhibition win over Independence Community College, but there’s still reason for excitement about Kelsey Kessler’s debut in the circle, or the Jayhawks’ day at the plate for that matter. Kessler allowed just one base runner and struck out eight in three innings and every Kansas starter reached base at least once as the Jayhawks shut out the Pirates in fall play at Arrocha Ballpark.
Kessler, a freshman from Blue Springs, Mo., threw first-pitch strikes to seven of 10 batters faced and combined with sophomore Alicia Pille to fan 12 batters without allowing a hit in a run-rule shortened, five-inning contest. Maddie Stein, Chanin Naudin and Alex Jones all knocked three base hits to help the Jayhawks out-hit the Pirates 14-0.
“It was a great first effort for us,” Kansas head coach Megan Smith said. “We’ve only been practicing for about a week and a half as a team and tonight we just wanted to see them out in full action and see what they can do. I’m really proud of their effort. I thought our pitchers did an outstanding job of setting the tone. Kelsey Kessler came in her first time pitching and I thought she set the tone for our team. Offensively, I thought we made some really good adjustments and we were doing the little things offensively, which was nice to see.”
Wearing the Crimson and Blue for the first time, Kessler left little doubt about her readiness by working ahead and fanning the first two batters of the game. Kessler’s only struggle came when she lost a full-count battle with the Pirates’ No. 3 hitter, Heather Lanphear, but she got Shelby Cassity to go down swinging and ended the inning just a few pitches later. Lanphear ended up being the only Pirate to reach base against Kessler and no ICC player put a ball in fair territory as Alison Peter flied out in foul territory down the right field line to begin the third.
The Kansas pitching staff got all the help it needed early on as well as the Jayhawks pushed across six runs on four hits in the first frame, including RBI doubles by Stein and Jones and a two-RBI triple by Ashley Newman. KU clubbed three more doubles in second inning, with another coming off Stein’s bat as she went 3-for-4 with two RBI and scored three runs. Jones and Naudin each went 3-for-3 at the plate and the Jayhawks got multi-hit efforts from Maggie Hull (2-for-3) and Newman (2-for-2).
Pille, a 17 game winner for the Jayhawks in the spring, struck out four and faced the minimum in two innings of relief before the game was called. Like Kessler, Pille threw first pitch strikes to more than half of the batters she faced and had the advantage in the count in five of six at-bats.
“That’s the key for our pitchers – they have to get ahead so they can use all the tools in their arsenal and if they don’t get ahead they can’t,” Smith said. “We thought we had something special when we got Kelsey Kessler and she showed that tonight. We need her to keep working hard and get better.”
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