Rally Halted; Jayhawks Fall at Texas, 2-0
AUSTIN, Texas – Kansas’ fifth-inning rally was halted before the Jayhawks could gain momentum and get on the scoreboard as Texas topped the Jayhawks, 2-0, Friday night at McCombs Field.
Junior Chanin Naudin sparked the late-inning rally that loaded the bases and put the go ahead run on base for the Jayhawks in the series opener. Naudin’s base knock not only ignited the two-out rally, but spoiled the Longhorns no-hitter.
“Our offense was a little sluggish,” said head coach Megan Smith. “We were making good decisions and swinging at good pitches, but not putting good swings on those pitches. Chanin came through for us with a big hit and sparked something. We’ve got to do a better job of putting quality swings on pitches tomorrow.”
KU (29-20, 3-10 Big 12) scattered two hits, while giving up six in the loss to UT. The Longhorns scored first in the opening frame and took a 1-0 lead after Devon Tunning hit a RBI double to left centerfield. Sophomore Kelsey Kessler ended the inning with her second strikeout after surrendering two hits.
In the third inning, Texas extended its lead with one run. The leadoff hitter reached on a single and stole second base. A sacrifice bunt moved the runner to third base and Taylor Thom hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield as the Longhorns lead extended to 2-0.
After the second run scored, Kessler settled into a groove and tossed three consecutive scoreless innings. She struck out the side in the fourth and sat down five batters in order via strikeout before a ground out ended the fifth inning. Kessler (17-13) struck out a total of seven Texas batters in six innings of work, while giving up six hits and walk.
“Kelsey looked good tonight and was confident in the circle,” Smith said. “She was hitting her spots and her movement was great. She gave up two runs, but dominated the rest of the way. Kelsey gave us a chance to be in the ball game.”
Shortstop Chaley Brickey broke up the perfect game with a walk in the fourth inning. She was the first Jayhawk to reach base after Texas’ starter Tiarra Davis sat down the first 11 KU batters in order.
Kansas’ two-out rally in the fifth was fueled by Naudin’s base hit. She singled up the middle to end Davis’ no-hitter. Freshmen Taylor Dodson’s walk and Taylor McElhaney reaching on an error loaded the bases for Kansas. The Longhorns ended the inning with a fielder’s choice tagging the Jayhawk runner out at home preserving their 2-0 lead.
Brickey posted the second KU hit of the night in the sixth inning. The sophomore hit an infield single to the shortstop. Davis threw a two-hit complete game and Texas held on to win the first game of the series, 2-0.
The Jayhawks continue their three-game Big 12 series at Texas on Saturday, May 3 at McCombs Field. First pitch for the second game of the series is set for 3 p.m. and will be broadcast on the Longhorn Network.
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