Kansas’ Comeback Cut Short, Fall to Spartans, 6-3
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For the second time when trailing, Kansas softball had the tying run in the batter’s box. KU’s late-inning rally was cut short once again, as UNC Greensboro held on for a 6-3 victory over the Jayhawks in the second game of the doubleheader.
Kansas entered the bottom of the seventh frame facing a five-run deficit. The bottom of the lineup produces three-straight base hits, igniting a late rally. The rally resulted in two runs scored with two more runners on base before the Spartans could retire the side, leaving the tying run in the batter’s box and handing the Jayhawks their second loss of the year.
UNC Greensboro outhit Kansas, 9-7, including four for extra bases. One of KU’s seven hits was a home run, Kansas already has hit six long balls in four games this season.
“Today wasn’t a great day all together, we won the first game and that’s a good thing, but not a great day for us,” said head coach Megan Smith. “We were very inconsistent today. We need to do a better job of being more consistent in our approach and how we are approaching every game.”
Although it took the offense a little while to heat up, the defense shined from the start. Junior infielder Taylor McElhaney made a diving catch in front of second base and tossed back to senior Chaley Brickey for a double play, one of several key defensive plays on the day.
Following the double play, freshman Alexis Reid ended the top of the second with a strikeout, one of two in her third outing of 2016. Reid dropped to 0-2 on the year in her second career start. She threw two innings allowing one run and one hit.
In the third frame, the Spartans took the lead after driving home two runs. Shortstop Rachael McClaskey plated the first Spartan run with a single to right field. A sacrifice fly from outfielder Nicole Thomas doubled UNCG’s lead, 2-0.
Sophomore Amanda Organ recorded the first Jayhawk hit of the second game, a single to left center. A wild pitch and sacrifice bunt moved the Houston, Texas native to third base, however Kansas couldn’t capitalize on having a runner 60 feet from home.
In the fourth inning, KU got on the board with a Chavez long ball, her second game in a row clearing the fence. Chavez’s second homer cut the Spartan lead, 2-1. Chavez ended the game 2-for-4, her third multi-hit game of 2016.
“Daniella had a good day offensively,” Smith said. “She did a lot of really good things and was consistent for us, offensively.”
In the fifth and seventh frames, UNC Greensboro added four runs to take a five-run lead into the bottom of the seventh inning. The Spartans scored three runs on three hits in the fifth and tallied their final run in the top of the seventh on three hits.
Although down by five runs with only three outs left in the game, Kansas’ offense came alive and pressured the Spartans reliever Alicia Bazonski. Organ, McElhaney and senior outfielder Shannon McGinley strung together a trio of base hits to load the bases. Brickey pushed the first run across in the late rally with a single. A wild pitch plated the second run, as Kansas trailed the Spartans, 6-3. With two runners on base and Chavez stepping up to the plate, the Jayhawks had the opportunity to tie the game with one swing, but UNC Greensboro prevailed.
UNCG’s starter Stephanie Bryden struck out four Jayhawks in six innings of work and improved to 2-0 on the year.
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