Jayhawks’ Rally Halted, Falls to Red Raiders, 5-4
LUBBOCK, Texas – No. 22 Kansas rallied late in the game and plated four runs in the final inning nearly mounting yet another comeback, but Texas Tech held on to win the final contest of the series, 5-4, on Sunday afternoon at Rocky Johnson Field.
The Jayhawks (33-7, 4-5 Big 12) collected nine more hits during the third game against Texas Tech, bringing its total for the weekend to 38. Infielders Chanin Naudin and Chaley Brickey led Kansas’ offensive efforts with six hits hit and both hitting over .400 for the weekend. Despite all the hits recorded by Kansas, it was the Red Raiders’ (18-23, 2-7 Big 12), who claimed the series, 2-1, with the victory.
After trailing for the entire game, KU went to work in the seventh frame in an attempt to post its ninth come-from-behind victory of the season. Although the Jayhawks put four runs on the scoreboard and had the tying run on third base, Kansas’ rally was halted before it could force extra innings or take the lead.
Brickey opened the game with a lead-off single, but was stranded as the top of the first inning came to a close. The junior finished the afternoon 3-for-4 at the plate with a team-high three RBIs. Junior outfielder Shannon McGinley recorded the Jayhawks’ second hit of the contest, a double to centerfield, but she too was left on base as KU’s offense couldn’t get anything going in the first two frames.
Freshman pitcher Bryn Houlton surrendered her first hit of the day, a lead-off single, in the second inning. She worked around the base knock and hurled a 1-2-3 inning after freshman catcher Jessie Roane threw the runner out at second to clear the bases and give KU its first out of the frame. Houlton induced two more outs to retire the side. In her second start of the weekend, Houlton struck out two and allowed two earned runs in two and third innings pitched.
In the third inning, Texas Tech’s junior outfielder Jordan Bettiol broke up the tied ballgame with a RBI double as TTU took the lead. Senior infielder Lea Hopson added another run for the Red Raiders with a single to left field and increased Texas Tech’s advantage, 2-0. Senior right-hander Beth Wilson entered the game with two outs and recorded the third out to end the Red Raiders rally.
The Red Raiders tacked on a run in the fourth inning after sophomore infielder Ashley Fultz drove in the third TTU run with a sacrifice fly to center field. After four complete innings, Texas Tech compiled a 3-0 lead.
With two outs in the fifth, Brickey registered her second hit of the game, while sophomore utility Lily Behrmann reached with a base on balls and brought the tying run to the plate, but the Red Raiders stopped KU’s offensive charge as two more Jayhawks were stranded. Through the first five innings, Kansas left six runners on base.
In the fourth inning, Texas Tech plated two more runs extending its advantage, 5-0, over the Jayhawks. The first run of the inning was scored on an error, while the second crossed home plate after a wild pitch.
McGinley and junior outfielder Briana Evans started the seventh-inning rally with a walk and a base hit, respectively. Sophomore infielder Taylor McElhaney brought home the first run of the frame with a single down the left field line as Kansas avoided the shutout. Brickey entered the batter’s box with runners on the corner, and Brickey delivered her team-leading 11th home run of the year. The long ball cut Kansas’ deficit to one run, but KU quickly loaded the bases putting the tying run just 60 feet away. Despite all the pressure and being surrounded by Jayhawks, Texas Tech’s starter Cara Custer induced the final out of the game, leaving the bases full, and clinching the series finale victory, 5-4.
Kansas remains on the road and finishes its eight-game stretch away from Arrocha Ballpark with two games at Tulsa, April 18-19. First pitch is set for Saturday, April 18 at 2 p.m., inside the Collins Family Softball Complex.
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