Kansas’ late rally falls short to No. 8 Sooners, 4-1
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas softball rallied late in the game and had the tying run in the batter’s box, but No. 8 Oklahoma halted KU’s rally and prevailed with a 4-1 victory over the Jayhawks on Thursday night at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park.
Despite trailing the nationally-ranked Sooners (36-7, 7-0 Big 12), Kansas manufactured a run on two hits in the final inning and left the game-tying run at the plate when the last out was made. Freshman infielder Becki Monaghan pushed the lone KU (21-20, 3-7 Big 12) run across home plate with two outs, which brought the tying run up to bat.
“Being down 4-0 in the seventh, we could’ve easily cashed it in and said ‘Let’s go home,’ but we didn’t do that,” said head coach Megan Smith. “We fought the last inning. Becki (Monaghan) came through with a big hit and the tying run was at the plate, so that’s good momentum to carry over to tomorrow.”
Junior Erin McGinley
Although the Jayhawks were able to avoid being shutout for the second game in a row, Oklahoma’s ace Paige Parker struck out a career-high 15 batters and improved to 14-5 on the year in the circle with her dominating performance.
Junior outfielder Erin McGinley recorded the first hit of the series, a double to left center, for her fourth game in a row with a hit. McGinley inched closer to crossing home plate and advanced to third on a wild pitch, but OU’s Paige Parker recorded a strikeout for the final out of the frame, leaving McGinley 60 feet from home plate. Oklahoma outhit KU, 7-3, in the first game of the series.
With two hits in the top of the second, Oklahoma took a 1-0 lead over the Jayhawks. Freshman catcher Alissa Dalton drove in the go ahead run with a single to left field. OU threatened to add to its early advantage, but sophomore hurler Alexis Reid’s third strikeout ended the inning with two Sooners still on base. Reid ended the night with six K’s, two shy of her career best, and allowed a pair of walks.
Parker struck out seven-straight batter following KU’s scare in the opening frame. After McGinley reached third base, Parker buckled down to retire the next seven Jayhawk batters in order. McGinley hit a laser down the first base line and OU managed to get the line out, which ended the streak of strikeouts.
Sophomore infielder Shay Knighten extended the Sooners’ lead in the top of the fifth after driving in two more OU runs with a single up the middle. Knighten’s two-RBI single increased Oklahoma’s lead, 3-0, heading to the bottom half of the frame.
In the sixth, Oklahoma added another run and increased its lead, 4-0, over the Jayhawks. Reid helped her own cause to retire the side. The sophomore snagged a line drive and threw over to first base for the inning-ending double play.
McGinley reached with no outs in the seventh after a pass ball on her third strike. She stole second to move into scoring position before junior infielder Jessie Roane singled to centerfield. With runners on the corners and two outs, Monaghan delivered a RBI single as Kansas trailed, 4-1.
With the shutout performance lost, Parker wasted no time retiring the final KU batter and Oklahoma took the first game of the series, 4-1.
Kansas continues its three-game series with No. 8 Oklahoma on Friday, April 14 at 5 p.m., at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park. The game will be broadcast on the Jayhawk Radio Network and live video stream via KUAthletics.com.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.