DePaul Slips Past Kansas, 3-2

Senior Taylor Hatfield had the lone RBI for the Jayhawks in the loss to DePaul
DePaul 3, Kansas 2
Patriots Point // Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
DePaul 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 3 7 3
KU 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 2 3 2

Box Score (.pdf)

Batting Leaders
C. Brickey 3 2 1 0 0 0
T. Hatfield 2 0 1 1 1 0
M. Connolly 3 1 2 1 0 1
N. Pihl 3 0 2 0 0 0
Kansas IP H R ER BB SO
K. Kessler 4 4 1 1 0 3
A. Pille (L) 3 3 2 0 0 1
K. Verdun (W) 7 3 2 1 3 7

MT. PLEASANT, S.C. – The Kansas softball team held a 2-0 lead after four innings in its final game at the College of Charleston Cougar Classic, but single runs in each of the fifth, sixth and seventh innings gave DePaul a 3-2 come-from-behind victory Sunday at Patriots Point.
The final two runs scored by DePaul (7-3) were both unearned, as the Jayhawks (4-4) recorded costly errors in each of the game’s last two innings.
“Offensively we didn’t execute, we couldn’t move runners and our defense let us down,” head coach Megan Smith said. “We just lost some focus there at the end defensively.”
Leading 2-1, KU surrendered its one-run advantage in the top of the sixth. DePaul had chased Jayhawk starting pitcher Kelsey Kessler in the previous inning and was threatening against Alicia Pille with runners on first and second and two outs. The Blue Demons successfully completed a double steal and in the process Kansas catcher Harli Ridling’s throw was wide of the third-base line, as shortstop Chaley Brickey tried to cover the bag with the drawn-in defense. The arid throw allowed Ali Lenti to score after stealing third and tie the game, 2-2. Pille struck out the next batter.
“DePaul has a lot of speed and they put a lot of pressure on you when they are on the bases,” Smith said. “We haven’t seen that yet this year and certainly is a good learning experience for our players.”
In the seventh, DePaul led off with a single and advanced the runner to second with a bunt. On the following at bat, Megan Coronado hit a chopper through Chanin Naudin’s legs at third base which allowed Cherelle Chambers to score the winning run for the Blue Demons. In the bottom of the inning, the Jayhawks were retired in order.
After winning a pair of games Saturday, Pille (2-2) took the hard-luck loss for the Jayhawks. She pitched three innings of relief and allowed three hits and two runs, both of which were unearned, while striking out one. DePaul’s Kirsten Verdun improved to 5-1 on the season with the win. She limited KU to three hits over seven innings and struck out seven, while walking three.  She also allowed both runs, one of which was earned.
“(Verdun) is a talented pitcher,” Smith said. “She moves the ball really well and has a late break on her pitches. She kept us off balance with her change up. I give her a lot of credit, we knew she was going to be tough after watching her all weekend and she was.”
Kansas got on the board first, when Brickey reached first after being hit by a pitch with one out in the frame. After a ground out by Taylor Dodson, Brickey advanced to second.  Brickey eventually came home when Taylor Hatfield lifted a single just over the shortstop’s head in short left field to give KU the 1-0 lead.
Brickey also scored the game’s second run after doubling to right-center field in the fourth inning. After advancing to third on an infield out, Brickey crossed the plate when Naudin reached base on a fielding error by the DePaul shortstop.
Kessler, who started in the circle for KU, went four innings and allowed four hits, including a solo home run to Mary Connolly to straight-away centerfield in the top of the fifth inning. Connolly was the last batter Kessler faced after striking out three.
“It was a good weekend,” Smith said. “We came here to get tested and we did. I thought that we battled, we fought and we learned a lot about our team. The freshmen got to see top-level competition for five games straight, which was good because we got to see how they responded. We are going to take what we learned here and move forward and progress.”
Kansas will be back in action Friday when the Jayhawks face SIU Edwardsville at 10 a.m., in the first game of the Jackson State Tournament in Jackson, Miss. The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.