No. 23 Kansas Downs Oklahoma State, 10-5
STILLWATER, Okla. – The Jayhawks’ offense struck first and continued to apply pressure until the final out was dealt as No. 23 Kansas downed Oklahoma State, 10-5, on Friday night at Cowgirl Stadium.
Offensively, the Jayhawks (31-5, 2-3) produced runs with power via a pair of home runs, but also manufactured runs capitalizing on bases loaded situations with walks and base hits. Kansas tallied eight hits and eight walks in the win over the Cowgirls (17-20, 1-4).
“I am the happiest about how we continued to put pressure on them the entire game,” said head coach Megan Smith. “We continued to have good at-bats and kept putting runs on the board, so even if they got a couple of runs or a couple of hits, we were answering back every time, which I was proud of our team for doing that.”
Kansas opened the game with a 1-0 advantage after junior infielder Chaley Brickey led off the contest with a solo home run just fair of the foul pole in right field. Brickey ended the night with three hits, including two home runs, and three RBIs.
“We challenged the offense to come out and be ready in the first inning,” Smith said. “Chaley started it off strong with that home run and we never looked back. She had a great night and I thought she was in control of her at-bats. She worked the pitcher to get her pitches, so I am really pleased with her performance.”
The lead didn’t last long for Kansas before OSU answered in the home half of the first frame. Freshman infielder Vanessa Shippy drove in Oklahoma State’s first run with a RBI double to left centerfield, which tied the game 1-1.
In the second inning, the Jayhawks regained the lead, 3-1, after scoring two runs on three hits. Brickey drove in her second run of the game with a double to left centerfield and senior utility Maddie Stein added another run with a single to left field. Brickey’s RBI double marked the 14th time this year to record a multi-hit game and 13th occasion to post multi-RBIs in a game.
After giving up the lone OSU run in the first, freshman hurler Bryn Houlton sat the Cowgirl batters down in order for her first scoreless frame of the night. The Cowgirls narrowed KU’s lead, 3-2, in the bottom of the third by plating a run on Jayhawk throwing error. Houlton bounced back from the throwing miscue to end OSU’s threat with the lead intact. Houlton struck out two batters in five innings of work and improved to 4-1 in the circle with the win.
“Bryn’s first start in the Big 12 is a tough thing in her home state and I thought she did extremely well,” said Smith. “She was poised and worked through some jams. Our offense helped her out a bit and gave her some breathing room, but she still went out there and did an excellent job. I was really happy with the way she attacked their hitters and stayed poised throughout the game.”
The Jayhawks’ offense went to work in fourth frame to load the bases and add four runs. A hit batter and walk put two KU runners a board. A fielder’s choice allowed Stein to reach, but a throwing error by OSU hurler Jessi Haffner allowed the lead runner to score giving KU a 4-2 advantage.
Freshman infielder Daniella Chavez extended the inning and loaded the bases after reaching via base on balls. Senior third baseman Chanin Naudin followed with another walk and pushed a Jayhawk run across. Freshman catcher Jessie Roane registered a RBI single to right field increasing the lead, 6-2. Junior outfielder Shannon McGinley plated the final run of the inning after drawing the fourth KU walk of the inning as the Jayhawks headed to the home half of the fourth with a 7-2 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth, Houlton tossed a 1-2-3 frame with the help of a web gem from second baseman Taylor McElhaney. The Talala, Oklahoma native ran in towards home plate from her spot at second base and made a diving catch. A second pop up ended the inning allowing KU’s offense to get back to work.
To start the fifth frame, Brickey and Behrmann led off with back-to-back walks, while a ground out advanced the pair to second and third base. Chavez singled to right field to plate both runners increasing KU’s lead, 9-2. Behrmann’s walk in the fifth marked her fourth of the game, which is one walk shy of tying Kansas’ single-game record.
With one out and bases loaded, OSU’s Shippy drove in two runs in the bottom half of the fifth with a single up the middle. Oklahoma State pushed another run across in the sixth cutting KU’s lead, 9-5, before the Jayhawks could end the threat and retire the side.
Kansas capped off its offensive efforts with another home run in the top of the seventh inning. Brickey launched her 10th homer of the year, and second of the game, to extend KU’s lead, 10-5. The Haltom City, Texas native hit a long ball to both left and right field in the second game of the series.
Sophomore Sophia Templin, who entered the game in relief during the sixth inning, shut down the Cowgirls’ offense in the final frame. Templin struck out two batters and threw two scoreless inning in her ninth appearance of 2015.
The Jayhawks clinched the series with the 10-5 victory over Oklahoma State and look to sweep the Cowgirls in the final game of the weekend on Saturday.
Kansas concludes its three-game series with Oklahoma State on Friday, April 3 at 5:30 p.m., inside Cowgirl Stadium.
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