Texas Blanks Jayhawks, 8-0
AUSTIN, Texas – Sophomore Kelsey Kessler battled her way through a pitcher’s duel on Sunday afternoon, but came out on the losing side after Texas’ offense erupted for seven runs on seven hits in fifth inning to clinch the win, 8-0, at McCombs Field.
“We were in it until the end and I don’t think the final score indicated the closeness of the game,” said head coach Megan Smith. “Texas’ pitcher threw great today and we didn’t make the adjustments needed. The bases were loaded and we didn’t execute. When you give an offensive team like Texas opportunity after opportunity without putting something on the board they will gain more confidence. Kelsey threw the ball well all weekend, but they are an outstanding hitting team.”
Kessler struck out five in her third appearance and second start of the weekend. She allowed just one run in the first four innings of the ball game allowing Kansas’ offense time to get something started.
In just two seasons, Kessler has amassed 353 career strikeouts after recording 12 K’s in her last three outings. Kessler, a Blue Springs, Mo., native is 10th all-time on Kansas’ strikeout list and is just four shy of moving into ninth place.
In the bottom of the opening frame, Kessler began her 21st start of 2014 with a pair of strikeouts before Taylor Thom recorded UT’s first hit. She stole second base to move into scoring position and Devon Tunning drove in the go ahead run with a single to left field. Kessler recorded the third out with a K to strike out the side as Texas led 1-0.
In the third inning, the Longhorns recorded their fourth hit, but catcher Harli Ridling gunned down the base runner at second base with the help of shortstop Chaley Brickey to clear the bases and give Texas two outs. Kessler induced a ground out with the next batter to end the inning as KU trailed 1-0.
Kansas had an opportunity to even the score and take the lead in the fourth. Freshman Lily Behrmann leadoff the frame with a walk, while Brickey collected the second Jayhawk hit with a single to left field that placed KU runners on first and third. Third baseman Chanin Naudin loaded the bases after getting hit by a pitch. Texas’ Tiarra Davis prompted a pop up to the Longhorns shortstop to end the inning without harm and kept her shutout intact.
Texas ended the scoreless inning streak with seven runs on seven hits in the bottom of the fifth. A walk-off base clearing triple from Stephanie Wong sealed the victory for the Longhorns, 8-0. Wong led Texas with three RBIs and recorded a multi-hit game as UT outhit Kansas, 11-2. Senior Ashley Newman and Brickey each recorded a hit in the series finale.
In her third start of the weekend, Davis earned the win after throwing her second shutout of the series. She threw five innings striking out one allowing two walks and two hits.
Kansas wraps up the 2014 regular season with its final Big 12 series May 9-11 at Arrocha Ballpark. The Jayhawks host Iowa State for a three-game series. KU will honor its seniors on Saturday, May 10 and the final two games of the regular season will air on the Jayhawk Television Network.
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