Kansas’ Late-Inning Rally Cut Short by Longhorns

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – In the final inning, No. 22 Kansas loaded the bases with a single and a pair of walks, putting the tying run in scoring position and the go ahead runner on base, but Texas halted KU’s comeback and escaped Arrocha Ballpark with a, 7-5, win on Sunday afternoon.
All five runs that Kansas (29-5, 0-3) put on the score board came in the form of five home runs, which is one long ball shy of tying Kansas’ single-game record. It also marked the second time this season that the Jayhawks launched hits over the fence in a game, the first was at New Mexico State (2/14).
“We were all about winning innings today and we really only won two, so that’s not going to be enough to win the game,” said head coach Megan Smith. “Lily (Behrmann) coming through that first inning was big because we had struggled in the first inning in the first two games. We had a lot of home runs, but no one was on base when we hit them, which is why we couldn’t pull it out.”
Kansas’ offense posted 11 hits in the series finale, while the Longhorns (23-9, 3-0) collected 14 hits on the afternoon. Freshman infielder Daniella Chavez led the offensive charge for the Jayhawks with three hits, including two home runs. The Crowley, Texas native is tied for the most home runs on the roster with eight. Senior infielder Chanin Naudin and sophomore infielder Taylor McElhaney also registered multi-hit games with two hits each.
Sophomore hurler Sophia Templin recorded her first career start on Sunday against Texas. She struck out the first batter she faced, but the Longhorns struck first stringing together a triple and single to score a run after the first initial out. Texas led, 1-0, after the top of the first frame.
The Jayhawks answered during the home half of the opening frame and evened the score, 1-1 after sophomore utility Lily Behrmann leadoff the inning with a home run to right centerfield. The Overland Park, Kansas native launched her fifth home run of the season on top of the indoor practice facility beyond the fence in right field.
After Templin worked around a bunt single to throw a scoreless second frame, Naudin gave Kansas the lead with the Jayhawks’ second home run of the game. With two outs, Naudin’s sixth long ball of 2015 sailed over the wall in left field giving Kansas a 2-1 advantage.
In the next inning, Texas took back the lead, 3-2, with a two-RBI double from Kelli Hanzel. The Longhorns added an insurance run after bringing home a second runner before the inning was retired.
Kansas narrowed the Longhorns’ lead, 4-3, in the third inning with yet another home run as the first three runs came from a Kansas long ball. In the third frame, Chavez lifted a solo shot over the wall in right field, the first of two home runs for the designated player.  
Texas attempted to push more runs across and extend its lead in the fourth inning, but senior Alicia Pille, who took over in the circle in the third, worked a scoreless frame stranding two Longhorns in scoring position. Kansas also threatened in the bottom half of the inning after McElhaney and junior outfielder Briana Evans recorded back-to-back singles, but Texas ended KU’s offensive pressure without harm.
In the fifth inning, Texas scored three unearned runs increasing its lead, 7-3, the largest lead of the afternoon. A costly error in the outfield extended the inning allowing the Longhorns to tack on three additional runs. The Jayhawks put another run on the score board via home run in the fifth inning. Chavez recorded her second solo shot of the game to right field as Kansas continued to chip away at the Longhorns’ lead, 7-4.  
Junior infielder Chaley Brickey led off the bottom of the seventh frame with Kansas’ fifth home run, which narrowed the lead, 7-5. The Jayhawks continued to rally late in the game and loaded the bases with a single and a pair of walks. Although KU had the tying run in scoring position, Texas ended the threat and the game by recording the final out to hold on to win, 7-5.
Kansas hits the road for its first Big 12 road trip of the 2015 season. The Jayhawks head to Stillwater, Oklahoma for a three-game series against Oklahoma State starting Thursday, April 2, at Cowgirl Stadium.
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