Stein Chases Record as No. 22 Kansas Downs UMKC
LAWRENCE, Kan. – No. 22 Kansas continued its offensive efforts from its contest earlier in the afternoon with help from senior utility Maddie Stein, who tied Kansas’ all-time RBI record, in the Jayhawks’ 5-2 win over UMKC.
Stein has been an offensive powerhouse for the Jayhawks for much of her career. Now finding herself in the middle of her senior campaign, the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma native sits atop Kansas’ all-time RBI ranks with former teammate, Maggie Hull-Tietz. Stein has now collected 140 RBIs—just one shy from owning the RBI record outright.
“Maddie is consistent and steady for us,” said head coach Megan Smith. “When she comes up she’s going to do something and she’s been that way since the day she walked on campus. She is very confident in herself, she hits the ball well and has quality at-bats. It’s going to be exciting when she breaks that record because a great Jayhawk broke that record just a couple years ago and Maddie is another great Jayhawk. It’s going to be fun to be a part of that.”
With runners on second and third, Stein got Kansas’ (27-2) bats firing early with an RBI sacrifice fly to left field to push the first run across for the Jayhawks, who took a quick 1-0 lead.
KU continued to work the batter’s box after junior outfielder Briana Evans got the ball to drop in shallow center for a hit to lead off the home half of the third inning. Sophomore outfielder Lily Behrmann drew a four-pitch walk making a trip to first base and advancing Evans to scoring position. Junior Chaley Brickey stepped up to the plate and singled to left field loading the bases for the Jayhawks, and setting Stein up for her second RBI of the game. An error on the UMKC shortstop gave Kansas a 4-0 lead after three innings.
Senior hurler Alicia Pille had a perfect game going through the first three innings after retiring 10-straight batters in order. A single in the fourth inning broke up the pitcher’s gem, who limited the ‘Roos to five hits. Kansas’ ace would go on to strike out seven and throw her 14th complete game of the season. The victory improved Pille’s mark in the circle to a perfect 16-0 this season.
“She looked really sharp,” Smith said. “She honestly didn’t have her best stuff to day, but she fought it out. She continued to battle and use the defense behind her. She had a really, really sharp start and just kind of gutted it out the rest of the way.”
UMKC senior Caitlin Christopher sent a long ball directly down the left field line hitting the foul post. The shot was ruled a home run and plated the ‘Roos first run of the day in the fifth frame. Junior utility Katie Kelley registered the ‘Roos second and final run with an RBI single to center field.
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, freshman catcher Jessie Roane headed toward the plate with no one on base and delivered her second career home run to put a stamp on the Jayhawk’s victory.
“That was big for us,” Smith said. “We struggled with at-bats late and they kind of tacked on some runs. I thought that was really big for us to send out a message going into the seventh that we aren’t done scoring and we can continue to score. It gave us a little bit of confidence going into those final outs.”
Katie Kelley tossed all six innings for the ‘Roos and struck out four Jayhawks during her time in the circle. Despite UMCK’s defensive efforts, Kelley collected the loss.
Kansas has become a force to be reckoned with behind the plate. After today’s pair of games eight of nine Jayhawks in the starting lineup are hitting over .300, and four of those are hitting over .400. The Jayhawks’ offensive power is headed by Brickey, who is registering a .429 batting average, so far this season.
The Jayhawks continue day two of the Rock Chalk Challenge by facing Georgia State on March 21 at 1 p.m., in Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.