Jayhawks Blank Oklahoma State, 4-0
LAWRENCE, Kan. – With one swing of the bat, sophomore Chaley Brickey gave the Jayhawks the lead and all the momentum it needed on Saturday afternoon in Arrocha Ballpark as Kansas beat Oklahoma State, 4-0, in the second game of the three-game series.
The momentum pendulum swung back-and-forth between dugouts throughout the first four innings as both teams attempted to take the lead and control early on. It wasn’t until the fifth inning when Brickey made a catch over the railing of the third base dugout and launched her eighth home run of the season that the momentum stopped shifting. Her defensive play ended the top half of the inning, but it was her long ball in the bottom half of the frame that gave the Jayhawks a 1-0 advantage.
Kansas’ (26-10, 2-0) 4-0 victory is just the second game in the last 10 meetings against the Cowgirls that has been decided by more than two runs. It also marks the first 2-0 start in Big 12 action under head coach Megan Smith.
After giving up a leadoff hit to OSU centerfielder Shelby Davis, junior Alicia Pille settled down and retired the next three batters to end the inning. She struck out one in the top of the opening frame. In the bottom of the first, the Jayhawks strung together a pair of singles sparked by Brickey, but the rally was halted before KU could get a runner across and the game remained scoreless.
Two more Jayhawks got on base in the second inning as freshman Taylor McElhaney recorded her first hit of the day with a single to left field. KU runners made it as far as second base before the Cowgirls’ pitcher Whitney Whitehorn ended the inning by inducing a fly out to centerfield.
Davis led off the third inning with her second base hit of the day. Freshman catcher Harli Ridling cleared the bases by throwing Davis out as she attempted to steal second bsae. Ridling has caught eight base runners this season.
In the top of the fourth, Pille helped herself out by snagging a line drive. She struck out three in the combined shutout. Pille hurled five scoreless innings and gave up seven hits as her ERA fell to 1.81 on the year. She earned the win and improved to 9-3 in the circle.
Brickey shined both offensively and defensively in the fifth inning. She started on the defensive side by ending the top half of the fifth with a diving catch over the railing in the third base dugout. On the offensive side, Brickey stepped into the batter’s box with two outs and delivered a solo shot over the left field fence as Kansas led, 1-0.
Sophomore Kelsey Kessler came on in relief in the sixth inning. After allowing two OSU runners to reach, Kessler struck out the side to end the inning. She struck out five in two innings of work. Her two scoreless innings in the circle completed the shutout and earned her second save of the season.
In the sixth inning, Kansas added three insurance runs and extended its lead . Junior Chanin Naudin led off the frame with her third double of the series. Senior Taylor Hatfield drew a walk and freshman Katelyn Schumacher bunted the runners over to second and third base. Senior second baseman Ashley Newman drove in the first of three runs with a single up the middle. Senior outfielder Alex Jones doubled to centerfield cashing in two more Jayhawk runs sealing the victory for Kansas, 4-0.
Whitehorn recorded the loss in the circle and fell to 4-5 on the year. She struck out one in 4.2 innings of work for Oklahoma State.
After opening the series with back-to-back shutouts over the Cowgirls, Kansas looks to sweep the series on Sunday, March 30 at noon inside Arrocha Ballpark.
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