Ole Miss Home Runs Sink Kansas, 6-2

Senior Alex Jones scored the game’s first run and finished with one hit in two at bats.
Ole Miss 6, Kansas 2
Patriot Point // Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
KU 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 4 1
Ole Miss 0 0 1 3 0 2 X 6 7 3

Box Score (.pdf)

Batting Leaders
A. Jones 2 1 1 0 2 0
T. Hatfield 4 1 1 1 0 1
Ole Miss
L. Ladner 3 1 2 4 0 1
N. Martinez 3 1 2 1 0 1
Kansas IP H R ER BB SO
K. Kessler 5.1 6 6 6 0 11
B. Wilson 0.2 1 0 0 0 1
Ole Miss
E. Gaitan 2.1 2 2 1 3 2
S. Fenter 4.2 2 0 0 0 3

MT. PLEASANT, S.C. – The Kansas softball team appeared to carry the momentum of its win earlier in the day over Fordham into the contest against Ole Miss, but after leading 2-0 KU surrendered six unanswered runs and fell, 6-2, Friday in the first day of the College of Charleston Cougar Classic at Patriot Point.
The Jayhawks (2-3) manufactured a run in the first inning, after senior Alex Jones earned a base on balls on four pitches.  She was sacrificed to second by Ashley Newman and then advanced to third on a passed ball.  Chaley Brickey forced her home on a sacrifice fly to center field and just like that KU was up 1-0 without a base hit.
Kansas added to its lead in the top of the second when senior Taylor Hatfield belted her first-career home run over the wall in left center.  The Jayhawks looked like they were going to add to their lead in the third inning with the bases loaded and only one out, however Ole Miss (3-4) was able to get out of the jam.
In the meantime, sophomore pitcher Kelsey Kessler cruised through the first two innings retiring six-straight Rebel batters, including five via the strikeout.  But in the bottom of the third, Natalie Martinez led off the inning with a home run straight down the left field line.  Kessler regrouped and retired the next three batters, two by way of strikeout, and still led, 2-1, at the end of the third inning.
“In the first game, we were really excited about what we saw offensively and defensively,” head coach Megan Smith said. “Our lineup did extremely well creating the opportunities and making the most of the opportunities. In the second game, I felt like we got two quick runs and took a step back, instead of continuing to put pressure on them.”
In the fourth inning, Ole Miss got its offense started with a bunt single that was followed by a hit by pitch to give the Rebels runners on first and second base with two outs. Londen Ladner put Ole Miss in front with a three-run home run which also straddled the left field line.
The Jayhawks stranded five runners on base over the game’s final three innings and finished with 11 total for the game. Ole Miss chased Kessler (2-2) from the game with two insurance runs and four hits in the sixth inning to take a 6-2 lead. KU collected four hits on the day, while Shelby Jo Fenter (2-0) came on in relief to earn the win for the Rebels.
“It would be nice if you could bank some of those runs and bring them back (referencing the 10 scored in the first game), but that is not the way it works,” Smith said. “We had opportunities in the second game and left a lot of runners on. We have four freshmen in the lineup (Harli Ridling, Taylor Dodson, Lily Behrmann, Taylor McElhaney) and it is tough for freshmen to step up in those critical situations, but it is good we are getting that experience now against some real good teams.”
Kessler finished with 11 strikeouts in five and one-third innings, but she allowed six hits and six runs, all earned, in the loss. Beth Wilson came in for relief of Kessler and made her Kansas debut. She posted two outs, including a strikeout, and allowed a hit.
“Kelsey threw well,” Smith said.  “She was dominant in that first game and came out dominant in the second game. She asked for the ball in the second game and hadn’t thrown many pitches in the (Fordham) game so we went with her.  She’s a competitor and she fights out there. I thought she pitched well, but she took a little breather too in that second game and wasn’t completely locked in the whole game.”
KU finished the day 1-1 after posting a 10-1 mercy-rule win over Fordham in the first game.
The Jayhawks will be back in action for two more games on Saturday.  Kansas opens the second day of the College of Charleston Cougar Classic against Western Carolina at 8 a.m. CT, before facing the host College of Charleston at 2:30 p.m.
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