Jayhawks' Late-Inning Rally Falls Short, 9-7
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Sophomore Chaley Brickey’s 10th home run of the season sparked Kansas’ rally in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Jayhawks scored three runs in the extra frames and had the go ahead run on base, but Texas Tech held off KU’s offense to win, 9-7, Friday night at Arrocha Ballpark.
“I am proud of the way we fought and responded, but I’d like to see that fight at the beginning and not wait for the other team to do something,” said head coach Megan Smith. “It seems like that’s what we’ve done this weekend. We’ve waited to see what they do and then fight.”
Brickey was one of two Jayhawks to record three hits in the second game of the series. She finished the night with a team-high three RBIs. Senior Ashley Newman also posted three hits, a RBI and three runs scored.
“Newman and Chaley hit the ball well and I’m really pleased with them,” Smith said. “Offensively, we did good things and scraped some things together, but then we sat back on our heels. I wish we would’ve attacked more and that proved to be the difference late in the game.”
Kansas (29-15, 3-5 Big 12) had a one-run lead heading into the seventh frame, but a costly throwing error allowed Texas Tech to score tying the game and send it into extra innings.
Junior Alicia Pille got the starting nod on Friday evening. Her scoreless inning streak, which was at seven prior to the game, was halted right out of the gate after the Red Raiders first baseman Gretchen Aucoin hit a three-run home run over the scoreboard in left centerfield, which gave Texas Tech a 3-0 lead.
Pille settled down and hurled five scoreless innings after giving up the home run. The junior struck out nine batters, while giving up seven hits and four walks in the loss.
“Pille had a rough first inning, but she bounced back and pitched extremely well,” said Smith. “She used her change up well and had a good game after a rocky start.”
The Jayhawks led off the bottom half of the first with a back-to-back singles from Newman and Brickey. Junior Maddie Stein drove in the first Kansas run as KU trailed, 3-1. Stein’s 37th RBI of the season puts her 35 RBIs away from the Jayhawks’ all-time record.
In the third inning, a single, a fielder’s choice and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases for Kansas, which chased out TTU’s starter Cara Custer. Newman brought home a run with a sacrifice fly cutting the deficit to one run in the next at-bat. Brickey loaded the bases for the second time in the frame after recording a walk. She is just four walks away from setting a new single-season mark. Brittany Talley worked her way out of the jam as the Red Raiders held on to the lead, 3-2.
Kansas tied the game in the fourth after capitalizing on a Texas Tech error. Newman, a second baseman from Salina, Kan., once again ignited KU’s offense after beating out a bunt down the right field line for a single. TTU recorded an error attempting to throw Newman out at first and instead she advanced to second base. The error also allowed freshman Katelyn Schumacher to score and tie the game. Brickey gave Kansas its first lead of the series. She popped up behind first base and the ball fell just fair for a base hit. Brickey’s single drove home Newman as the Jayhawks took the lead, 4-3.
Texas Tech took advantage of a Kansas error in the seventh inning, which allowed the tying run to score. The two programs traded scoreless frames in the eighth inning and each offense came alive in the ninth frame.
The Red Raiders scored five runs to take a 9-4 lead into the bottom of the ninth. Newman led off with her third hit of the night as Brickey stepped into the batter’s box. Brickey hit the ball out over the left field wall, her second game in a row with a home run, as Kansas trailed by three runs. Freshman Lily Behrmann kept the rally alive with a single through the left side. Her base knock drove in another Jayhawk run and put the go ahead run on base. Texas Tech was able to get out of the bases loaded jam by inducing a fly out to left field ending the game and claiming the victory, 9-7.
KANSAS SET TO CELEBRATE ‘JAYHAWKS FOR A CURE’ ON SATURDAY
Many of the Kansas’ teams host a ‘Jayhawks for a Cure’ game, which honors cancer survivors and fighters, while raising awareness. On Saturday, the Jayhawk softball team will honor one of their own, Paul Buske, the late husband of head coach Megan Smith.
Buske lost his battle with kidney cancer in June of 2011 and Saturday’s game against Texas Tech will honor him, survivors and others affected by the disease.
All fans that wear orange or pink will receive $3 admission to Saturday’s game. Those in attendance will receive a special orange ‘Jayhawks for a Cure’ towel. Also, Smith and Buske’s son, Cooper, will throw the first pitch.
The Jayhawks will conclude their three-game Big 12 series against Texas Tech on Saturday, April 19 at Arrocha Ballpark. First pitch for the series finale is set for 1 p.m.
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