Late Rally Lifts Kansas Past Kent State, 6-2
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Senior infielder Ashley Newman started Kansas’ seventh-inning rally with a base hit, which propelled the Jayhawks to a, 6-2, come from behind win over Kent State Friday morning at John Cropp Stadium.
The Jayhawks (21-9) entered the final frame trailing the Golden Flashes, 2-1. Newman’s single to third base kicked off KU’s late inning comeback. Kansas rallied for five runs on five hits to complete the come-from-behind win over the Flashes and open the Kentucky Tournament with a victory.
Kent State scored first taking an early lead, 1-0, after Maddy Grimm hit a solo home run to left field in the first inning. It was the first of only three hits that sophomore pitcher Kelsey Kessler would give up in her 19th start of the season.
Kessler, a native of Blue Springs, Mo., struck out five batters and improved to 12-6 on the year with win. She allowed one earned in seven innings, dropping her ERA to 1.48 on the year.
Kansas threatened in the second inning after loading the bases with a pair of walks and a hit-by-pitch. The Flashes retired the side before Kansas could scoring and maintained their 1-0 lead.
Junior Maddie Stein evened the score, 1-1, in the third inning. She ripped a double to right field allowing Newman to cross home plate, who led off the inning with a base hit. Kent State answered in the fourth inning after Kim Morgason drove in the go-ahead run and the Flashes led, 2-1.
Kessler kept Kent State’s offense silent over the next two innings. She limited the Flashes to only one hit and no runs in the final three innings of the game.
In the seventh inning, Kansas rallied for five runs on five hits to take the lead. Newman’s single started KU’s come-from-behind rally. Sophomore Chaley Brickey hit one deep to left centerfield. The Flashes’ center fielder dropped the ball as Brickey reached on an error allowing Newman score and tied the game, 2-2.
The rally continued as a passed ball advanced the Jayhawk runners to second and third. Stein recorded an infield single as senior Alex Jones crossed home plate giving Kansas the 3-2 lead. The Jayhawks’ offense pressed on and added even more run support. Freshman Harli Ridling extended KU’s lead, 4-2, with an RBI single through the left side. Before Kent State could end the inning, senior Taylor Hatfield cleared the bases with a triple off the left center wall. KU took a 6-2 advantage into the bottom of the seventh.
Kessler shutdown the Flashes in the final frame sealing the, 6-2, comeback win over Kent State. Kansas outhit the Flashes, 7-3, with Newman and Stein each recording two hits. Stein led the team with two RBIs.
The Jayhawks continue the Kentucky Tournament against Fairfield Friday afternoon.
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