Kansas drops series finale, 5-1
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Much like last night’s game ended, Kansas’ series finale saw both pitcher’s tossing shutout inning after shutout inning, but No. 14 Baylor prevailed, 5-1, with a late rally on Sunday afternoon at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park.
Sophomore hurler Alexis Reid saw her second start of the weekend and tossed three-straight shutout innings before Baylor was able to put a run on the scoreboard. Also making her second start of the series, BU’s Kelsee Selman threw five shutout innings before KU was able to push a run across home plate.
“I thought we fought all weekend and when you get into conference play that’s what you have to do against quality opponents,” said head coach Megan Smith. “You have to fight, especially when you play a top-15 program, like Baylor.”Junior Harli Ridling
The pitcher’s duel ensued for three innings as both starters got out of several jams early in the ballgame. In the second inning, Kansas (19-14, 1-2 Big 12) threatened with two runners on after senior infielder Taylor Dodson ripped a single to centerfield and senior infielder Taylor McElhaney was hit by pitch. However, the duo remained on base as Selman closed out the second inning without harm.
In the first three innings, Baylor (28-6, 2-1 Big 12) had runners advance to scoring position, but without hesitation Reid worked her way out of the jams unscathed. She ended the third frame with back-to-back strikeouts to complete her third shutout inning. She ended the day with five strikeouts after allowing two earned runs and two walks.
“She gave us a chance and that’s all you ask for from your starting pitcher,” Smith said. “She gave our offense a chance to get going. She absolutely did that. One inning they scored a few because we made a few mistakes and weren’t as mentally tough as we need to be.”
The Lady Bears ended the scoreless streak in the top of the fourth after putting two runners in scoring position. With one out, outfielder Maddison Kettler drove in the go ahead run as Baylor took a 1-0 lead. Following the run, Reid recorded her fifth strikeout, while junior catcher Harli Ridling ended the frame by picking off the runner at third base.
In the next half inning, Kansas put the tying run in scoring position after freshman infielder Becki Monaghan reached base with a single and advanced to second on an error. Monaghan was stranded 120 feet from home plate as Selman closed out her fourth scoreless frame.
After giving up an earned run in the fourth, Reid answered in the fifth by sitting the Baylor batters down in order and quickly putting KU’s offense back to work. McElhaney led off the fifth with a walk and advanced all the way to third base with a sacrifice bunt and a ground out. However, just like the inning before a Jayhawk was stranded in scoring position.
Baylor extended its lead in the top of the sixth inning after scoring runs, two unearned, on a pair of hits and an error. After a four-run sixth, Baylor headed to the bottom half of the frame with a 5-0 lead over KU.
Kansas responded to Baylor’s four-run sixth inning with a run in the bottom half of the frame. Ridling launched a solo home run, her fifth long ball of the season, to put the Jayhawks on the scoreboard. Following Ridling’s homer, Selman retired the side without further harm.
Senior Sophia Templin entered the circle in relief in the seventh and struck out two of four batters she faced for a scoreless frame. Selman returned to the circle for KU’s final chance at comeback and sealed the victory, 5-1.
Kansas travels to Oklahoma State for a three-game series against the Cowgirls starting on Friday, March 31 at 6 p.m., at Cowgirl Stadium. All three games will air on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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