Pille's Gem Guides Jayhawks to, 5-0, Victory Over UMKC
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Junior hurler Alicia Pille’s sixth shutout of the season paced Kansas to a, 5-0, victory over UMKC on Tuesday evening at Missouri 3&2 Complex.
Pille, a Royce City, Texas, native, had a perfect game intact for Kansas (29-13, 3-3 Big 12) with two outs to go in the seventh inning before the Kangaroos recorded their lone hit. Pille sat down 19 batters in order in her one-hitter and faced a total of 22 batters, which is one over the minimum.
“I am really pleased with (Alicia) Pille’s performance,” said head coach Megan Smith. “After a tough weekend at Oklahoma, it’s great to see her bounce back and pitch extremely well. All of her pitches were working well and she was going after hitters.”
In her 15th start of the season, Pille struck out eight and tossed seven scoreless innings. Her ERA dropped to 2.02 on the year after hurling a complete-game shutout. The shutout over the ‘Roos marks the second-straight shutout for Pille and the Jayhawks over UMKC dating back to the last appearance in 2013. With the win, Pille improves to 10-3 on the season.
“(Ashley) Newman and AJ (Alex Jones) sparked us and did some good things up at the plate,” Smith said. “Taylor McElhaney seems to always be on base, which is a good thing. Those three really got us started and we carried that over.”
Kansas’ offense was ignited by Newman and Jones in the third inning. McElhaney led off the frame by reaching after getting hit by a pitch. Newman and Jones loaded the bases with back-to-back bunts down the third base line. Stein doubled to centerfield giving the Jayhawks a two-run lead. Freshman Lily Behrmann walked in another KU run before the inning was retired and gave Kansas the lead, 3-0.
In the seventh inning, freshman catcher Harli Ridling started the inning with a four-pitch walk. Third baseman Chanin Naudin gave KU two insurance runs with one swing of the bat. Her fourth home run of the season extended the Jayhawk lead, 5-0.
“Chanin’s home run late in the game was a big hit for us,” added Smith. “Her home run put it out of reach for them.”
Pille retired the first batter in the final frame, but UMKC’s Bri Wyatt fouled off a couple pitches before spoiling the perfect game with a single on the left field line.
Katie Kelley started in the circle for UMKC and fell to 6-13 on the season with the loss. She struck out four batters, gave up nine hits and five runs in six innings of work.
Jones finished the game 3-for-5 with a run scored for her ninth multi-hit game, while Newman was 2-for-5 with a run scored for her 14th multi-hit game in 2014.
Kansas returns to Big 12 action April 17-19 when the Red Raiders of Texas Tech visit Arrocha Ballpark for a three-game series. The opening game of the series is Thursday, April 17 at 5 p.m.
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