Texas Blanks No. 22 Kansas, 6-0
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas’ red-hot offense entered Big 12 Conference action having outhit 24 opponents and seven Jayhawks posted a batting average above .300, but Texas had an answer in the circle keeping KU bats quiet for most of the night. The Longhorns stunned No. 22 Kansas, 6-0, on Friday night at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park ending the Jayhawks (29-3, 0-1) second longest win streak of the season.
Texas (21-9, 1-0) outhit KU, 8-4, and struck first in the opening frame to take an early lead. The Jayhawks’ offense couldn’t gain enough momentum to overcome the Longhorns lead. The loss is just the third loss of the season and the second time that Kansas’ powerful offense has been shutout.
“The Big 12 is tough, but we didn’t show up tonight,” said head coach Megan Smith. “That’s the bottom line. I was really disappointed with our lack of effort and lack of grit. We are a gritty team, we play tough and fight, but we didn’t do that tonight.”
Sophomore pitcher Sophia Templin made just her sixth appearance this season and made the most of her opportunity by setting multiple career highs. After replacing senior Alicia Pille in the third inning, Templin struck out six of the first nine batters she faced, while only surrendering one hit in the process. Templin continued to ease her way through the Longhorn lineup after retiring the sides in order in the fourth and fifth innings. She finished her relief outing with a career-high eight strikeouts.
“I thought Sophia threw extremely well,” Smith said. “I was really proud of her effort and I loved how she was fearless, she just pitched. The rest of our team was fearful the entire game for some reason. She was confident and went right at them.”
The DeSoto, Kansas native was not done setting career milestones, her five innings of work marked a new personal best. After throwing four scoreless innings and allowing only one run, Templin’s ERA improved to 3.13 on the season.
Templin entered the game replacing Pille (18-1), who suffered her first loss of the season. The loss ended Pille’s 18-game winning streak, which is the longest winning streak in the circle dating back to at least 2002.
In the first inning, Texas put four runs on the scoreboard on three hits to take an early lead. With just one out remaining in the inning, the Longhorn’s third baseman Erin Shireman slugged a three-run homerun over the left field wall, which gave Texas a quick 3-0 lead.
The Longhorns continued their two-out rally when senior Marlee Gabaldon slapped a base knock to left field allowing the runner on second base to score, extending the Longhorn lead to 4-0. With runners on second and third, a sacrifice fly to right-center stretched the Longhorn lead to 5-0 in the second inning.
Texas’s fast start was topped with pitcher Erica Wright’s performance in the circle, who finished the game with nine strikeouts and just two walks. Her complete game shutout cooled of the Jayhawks’ hot offense and limited KU to just four hits, two of which were from the KU’s freshman catcher Jessie Roane.
In the fifth inning, Kansas threatened to push a runner across. Roane reached with her first hit of the night and advanced to second after sophomore infielder Taylor McElhaney was hit by a pitch. Roane got even closer to coming home after stealing third base, but the Longhorns escaped the inning unharmed.
In the final frame, Kansas continued to fight as junior Shannon McGinley recorded a base knock down the right field line to leadoff the inning. Although the Jayhawks were able to move runners into scoring position, Texas ended the game and KU’s threat of a rally. KU stranded a total of seven runners in the 6-0 loss to Texas.
The Jayhawks will continue their three-game series with Texas Saturday, March 28 at 2 p.m., inside Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park. It’s Party in the Park, so join the Jayhawks for fun prior to the game, including inflatables and a live band.
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