Pille’s Shutout Effort Paces Kansas over WCU, 6-0

Junior Maddie Stein collected three hits in four at bats and posted two RBI.
Kansas 6, Western Carolina 0
Patriots Point // Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
KU 0 0 2 2 2 0 0 6 9 0
WCU 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 0 2 2

Box Score (.pdf)

Batting Leaders
M. Stein 4 1 3 2 0 0
T. Dodson 4 1 2 2 0 0
T. Sigmon 2 0 2 0 0 0
Kansas IP H R ER BB SO
A. Pille 7 2 0 0 0 10
J. Garrett 3.1 5 4 4 1 4
C. Buchanan 1.2 3 2 0 0 0
T. Sigmon 2.0 1 0 0 1 2

MT. PLEASANT, S.C. – Strong pitching and timely hitting once again won out, as the Kansas softball team was led by junior Alicia Pille’s complete game shutout and junior Maddie Stein’s three hits and two RBI for a 6-0 victory over Western Carolina in the first game of day two of the College of Charleston Cougar Classic at Patriots Point Saturday.
“I was excited to see how we came out (Saturday),” head coach Megan Smith said. “Pille threw a great game and we were solid defensively.  Offensively we did really well. We executed with runners in scoring position and had some clutch hits. I was pleased with the overall effort”
Pille was only touched for hits twice, by the same WCU player, as Kansas improved to 3-3 on the season.  She scattered 10 strikeouts over seven innings and posted her 16th career shutout to even her record to 1-1 on the season, lowering her season earned run average to 2.10.
“Pille has been a mainstay for us for the last two years, has been really successful and has won a lot of games for us,” Smith said. “We saw the true Pille (Saturday). She was dominant. She was very poised and confident and went right at them. I’m really pleased for her.”
Kansas dropped Western Carolina to 0-3 on the season thanks to a pair of runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings. The scoring started in an unassuming way. Chanin Naudin drew a walk to start the third inning, but after back-to-back Kansas outs it seemed like nothing was going to come of it.  After a single by Ashley Newman and Chaley Brickey loading the bases after being hit by a pitch, Stein found herself at the plate. After looking at a ball, Stein took the second pitch to centerfield and plated the game’s first two runs.
“Maddie has been clutch her whole career,” Smith said. “She stepped up, was really confident and came through for us. She very steady and when you see her approach at the plate she is just calm and confident all the time. That is why she is so clutch for us. She doesn’t get amped up and she is just very consistent with her approach.”
In the fourth inning, Taylor Dodson squibbed a one-out infield single that the Catamount’s threw away and she advanced to second on the throwing error.  She wasn’t there long, as Naudin drove her home with a single to center. Naudin later scored when Alex Jones placed a double over the drawn-in leftfielder’s head and KU led, 4-0.
In the fifth, the Jayhawks benefited from another WCU error, as Stein reached first base when the ball was dropped at the bag. Taylor Hatfield added a single and both runners scored when Dodson belted a double to centerfield.
“Doddie (Taylor Dodson) is great offensively,” Smith said. “She just needs to calm down a bit in the box. She is a spark plug for us, emotionally she is a fiery player and sometimes offensively you have to dial that back and stay focused. She starting to do that and she’s just a freshman. She’s got great power up at the plate and quick hands and I was really happy with her performance (Saturday) and (Friday).”
The Jayhawks collected nine hits in the game, as Stein (3) and Dodson (2) were the two KU players with a multi-hit game.  Not only was the victory the second in the tournament for Kansas, but it was over a program that Coach Smith started from scratch back in 2005.
“It was odd,” Smith said about facing a former team. “It has been a while since I have been there.  It seems like forever ago. I was proud to start that program and proud to win its first conference championship. I will always follow them and wish them well, but we certainly wanted to beat them. I have a lot of respect for their coach and the program.”
The Jayhawks will return to the field later in the day, as Kansas will face tournament host College of Charleston at 2:30 p.m. CT.
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