Kansas' Comeback Falls Short at Kentucky, 4-2
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Junior Chanin Naudin’s third home run in as many games started a seventh inning rally for Kansas, but No. 8 Kentucky halted the late inning comeback and held on to win, 4-2, on Saturday night at John Cropp Stadium.
The Jayhawks (23-10) scattered five hits in their fouth game of the weekend, while the Wildcats recorded seven hits.
Sophomore pitcher Kelsey Kessler was tested early on in the game. In the second inning with two runners in scoring position, Kessler fought off one batter and recorded a strikeout after a 10-pitch at bat. She got the next batter to ground out retiring the side and stranding the runners.
After throwing two scoreless innings, the Wildcats got on the board in the third inning. A fielder’s choice and a throwing error put two Kentucky runners in scoring position. Lauren Cumbess stepped up to the plate and cleared the bases with a double to left-centerfield giving UK a 2-0 lead.
Kentucky’s left fielder Maisie Steed tacked on another run for the Wildcats in the fourth inning after launching a home run to centerfield. The Wildcats lead grew to 4-0 after Sylver Samuels singled to centerfield bringing home a run.
Kessler struck out five batters in her 15th complete game of the season. Two of the four Wildcat runs were earned, so Kessler’s ERA remained at 1.49 for the season. The loss dropped Kessler’s mark in the circle to 13-7, while the Wildcats’ ace Kelsey Nunes improved to 10-2 on the year and struck out six Jayhawks.
Junior Maddie Stein led off the seventh inning with a single through the right side, which extended her hitting streak to eight games. Naudin stepped into the batter’s box with two outs and crushed the ball to left-centerfield and cut the deficit to two runs.
Kentucky recorded the final out, which put an end to the Jayhawks’ rally an Kansas fell, 4-2.
KU concludes the weekend with a rematch against No. 8 Kentucky on Sunday, March 23 at 11 a.m. CT in Lexington.
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