Long Ball Lifts No. 14 Baylor Past Jayhawks, 2-1
WACO, Texas – Sophomore Kelsey Kessler tossed her 19th complete game of 2014 and was two outs away from taking the Jayhawks to extra innings against No. 14 Baylor. The Bears had other plans and hit a walk-off home run in the seventh to slip past KU, 2-1.
Although, Kansas (29-18, 3-8 Big 12) outhit the Bears, 7-4, the solo shot over the right centerfield fence proved to be enough for Baylor to take a 2-0 lead in the series. Freshman Lily Behrmann led the offense with multi-hit effort after going 2-for-3 at the plate.
While the Jayhawks’ offense chased out two BU pitchers, Kessler (17-11) went the distance after tossing seven innings. She struck out three BU batters, while surrendering four hits and two runs. Kessler sat the Bears’ batters down in order three times.
Sophomore Chaley Brickey walked her way to the top of Kansas’ single season base on balls record with a pair of walks. She has 37 walks this season besting the previous mark of 36 set by Tracy Bunge in 1985.
KU threatened to take the lead in the second inning. Senior Taylor Hatfield and junior Chanin Naudin put runners in scoring position for the Jayhawks with a single and a double, respectively. Taylor McElhaney bunted down the first base line and reached on a fielder’s choice as Hatfield was tagged out at home, which ended the inning and preserved the scoreless tie.
Baylor’s Linsey Hays doubled down the left field line scoring the first run of the day in the bottom of the second inning to give Baylor the lead, 1-0.
Behrmann jump started the Jayhawks’ offense with a single in the third inning. Junior Maddie Stein moved her over to third base with a single to right field. For the second-straight inning, a fielder’s choice ended the inning before a Kansas runner could cross home plate.
Kansas’ defense had a pair of web gems in the second game of the series. McElhaney made the first in centerfield after making a catch on the outfield wall to end the inning and keep the game at 1-0 in Baylor’s favor.
McElhaney carried over the momentum from her catch to the batter’s box in the fifth inning. The Talala, Okla., native leadoff the fifth frame by reaching base after getting hit by a pitch. Back-to-back bunts from second baseman Ashley Newman and Behrmann loaded the bases. Brickey drove in the tying run with a single through the left side. After Brickey tied the game, Baylor called upon All-American Whitney Canion to get BU out of the jam, which she did by retiring the next batters.
Freshman catcher Harli Ridling made the second web gem in the sixth. She dove into the first base dugout to catch a ball in foul territory. She made the play and retired the leadoff batter. Kessler and the defense sat down the next two batters for their third 1-2-3 inning.
Kansas loaded the bases again in the seventh inning with a pair of walks and an error. The Jayhawks had an opportunity to take the lead with two in scoring position, but Canion got out of another bases loaded situation unscathed.
Hays, the Bears designated player, fouled off several pitches before connecting for a solo home run over the fence in right centerfield. Hays’ walk-off home run gave Baylor the victory, 2-1.
The Jayhawks conclude their three-game Big 12 series at Baylor on Sunday, April 27 at Getterman Stadium. First pitch for the series finale is set for noon.
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