Kansas Fights off C of C’s Rally, Wins 6-5 in Eighth

Senior Ashley Newman was 2-for-4 with two RBI.
Kansas 6, College of Charleston 5 (8 inn.)
Patriots Point // Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 R H E
KU 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 6 13 0
CofC 0 0 0 0 4 0 1 0 5 9 0

Box Score (.pdf)

Batting Leaders
H. Ridling 3 2 3 2 2 1
A. Newman 4 0 2 2 0 0
C. Frisbie 4 0 3 0 0 0
M. Maples 4 1 2 2 0 0
Kansas IP H R ER BB SO
K. Kessler 4.2 6 4 4 3 7
A. Pille (W) 3.1 3 1 1 0 3
H. Klicker (L) 4.2 11 3 3 0 2
V. Cassell 3.1 2 3 2 6 2

MT. PLEASANT, S.C. – Kansas freshman Taylor Dodson split the infield on the right side with the bases loaded in the top of the eighth to drive Chaley Brickey across the plate and Alicia Pille sat the College of Charleston down in order in the bottom of the frame to cap a 6-5 victory in a game full of twists and turns at the College of Charleston Cougar Classic at Patriots Point Saturday.
The win was the Jayhawks second of the day, as well as Pille’s second in the circle, and Kansas improved to 3-1 in the tournament and 4-3 on the season.
“What a fun a game, that’s why you’re involved in the sport to have games like that,” head coach Megan Smith said. “We came out strong and the College of Charleston punched back at us, but that was really good to see our young team having that grit and that fight.”
Alex Jones laid down a perfect bunt on the third-base side in front of the catcher to open the game with a single. Ashley Newman bunted Jones over to second, before Brickey notched another infield single deep in the hole to the shortstop to give KU runners on first and second with only one out.
Maddie Stein hit into a fielder’s choice and KU had runners on the corners with two outs. Freshman Harli Ridling fought off eight pitches before stroking a single into leftfield to drive home Jones from third.
KU extended its lead, 2-0, in the top of the third when Ridling blasted a 1-0 pitch over the wall in left center for her first collegiate home run. Ridling picked up her third hit of the game in the fifth inning with a single and she later scored after Behrmann drew a bases-loaded walk that gave Kansas a 4-0 lead.
“Harli is a special player,” Smith said. “Defensively, she’s unbelievable behind the plate. Offensively, she’s special. You can see her feeling more and more comfortable as the games progress. She’s got a lot of power, a lot of poise and some swagger up at the plate, which I like.”
The Jayhawks were cruising heading into the bottom of the fifth, up 4-0. That quickly changed as the Cougars smacked three hits and drew two walks off KU starting pitcher Kelsey Kessler to tie the game, 4-4. The College of Charleston was still threatening with runners on second and third and two outs when Pille entered the game. Pille made quick work of the Cougars striking out the only batter she faced in the inning on only five pitches.
Pille was tagged for a run in the seventh, but showed that same fire in the eighth putting the Cougars down in order with a pair of strikeouts for her second win of the day. She went three and a third innings for the win, while allowing three hits and a run, while striking out three.
“(Pille) was determined and you could see that when she came in,” Smith said. “I thought that last inning she was dominant and was out there with a purpose.”
Neither team tallied a run in the sixth, while each plated a score in the seventh forcing the extra frame. KU’s seventh-inning run was a result of a timely infield hit by Newman to score Chanin Naudin, who was on base as a result of a hit by pitch.
The Jayhawks were able to take the game into extras thanks to a foul-ball catch by Stein up against the KU dugout. The catch was the third extra-effort snag by the Kansas infield on the day with Brickey and Newman having the others.
“Our infield defense is one of the best in the country and I would put ours up against anybody,” Smith said. “Their plays (Saturday) kept us in the game and fueled our fire. Our team really gets motivated when they see our defense make some good plays. Ashley Newman was just phenomenal, both defensively and offensively.”
Kansas posted 13 hits in the game, led by Ridling’s three-hit effort. Jones, Newman, Dodson and Behrmann each collected two hits apiece.
“That’s a big win for us,” Smith said. “It’s early in the season, but to get a win like that on their home field against a really solid College of Charleston team, that’s a good win for us. Especially the way it went down, with us having to battle and fight for it. We are young and we are growing and we are going to keep doing that all season.”
Kansas concludes the College of Charleston Cougar Classic Sunday when the Jayhawks face DePaul. The game is scheduled for 8 a.m. CT.
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