No. 21 Lady Bears Edge Jayhawks, 3-2
WACO, Texas – Kansas took an early lead over nationally-ranked Baylor before the Lady Bears scored three unanswered runs and claimed the series with a 3-2 victory on Saturday night at Getterman Stadium.
Kansas dropped to 21-6 on the season when scoring first. Despite scoring two runs in the third and taking the lead, No. 21 Baylor answered the next half inning to knot the game up two runs each. The ballgame would remain even until the bottom half of the seventh when the Lady Bears hit a walk-off sacrifice fly with two outs to end the game.
In her eighth start of the season, freshman hurler Alexis Reid struck out the first batter she faced before stranded a pair of Lady Bears on the corners. Reid tossed five scoreless frames in her 13th appearance of her rookie campaign. She struck out two while allowing nine hits and three runs in the complete-game loss.
“This is a tough environment to come in as a freshman and face a ranked Baylor at their field,” said head coach Megan Smith. “She fought, she battled and gave us an opportunity. It’s a great learning experience for her as she moves forward in her career.”
Sophomore third baseman Jessie Roane led off the third inning with a single to right field for KU’s first hit of the game. Senior outfielder Briana Evans and junior infielder Taylor McElhaney followed suit with two more base hits to load the bases with no outs. Evans finished the night 2-for-3 with a run scored, for her fourth multi-hit game of the season.
“Briana (Evans) has been coming on strong these last few weekends and we need her to,” Smith said. “We need her on the bases. When the bottom of our order is doing good things we are going to score runs because Chaley (Brickey) and Shannon (McGinley) a chance to get some RBIs. They are key to our offense and they definitely came through today.”
Senior shortstop Chaley Brickey drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly to left field. Brickey’s run batted in not only gave KU its first run of the series and lead, but also claimed Kansas’ all-time RBI record with her 151st career run batted in. Earlier this season, Brickey became the Jayhawks’ all-time walk and runs scored leader.
“Chaley is among good company up there and has been all season battling for the career RBI record,” said Smith. “Maddie Stein, Maggie Hull, Mariah Montgomery and Liz Kocon all great players that I’ve had the privilege to coach here. Chaley is the best of the best, you know, she shows that every day she comes out here. I am really proud of her and what she’s been able to accomplish. It’s definitely a special feat, especially amongst those players’ names that she passed.”
KU’s offense continued to roll through the third inning and loaded the bases for a second time, which allowed sophomore first baseman Daniella Chavez to drive home another run on a fielder’s choice. Kansas would load the bases for a third time in the frame before Baylor ended the rally, but the damage was done as the Jayhawks took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the third.
“That is stringing together quality at-bats,” said Smith of the big offensive third frame. “When we can string quality at-bats together, especially with the top of our order coming up, we are going to score some runs. I just wish we could’ve done that a couple more times during the game, but the third inning our offense certainly did its job.”
Baylor answered in the home half of the third, tying the ballgame with a pair of runs. The Lady Bears first run crossed home plate on a wild pitch while a sacrifice fly to centerfield tied the contest, 2-2.
The Lady Bears came 60 feet away from taking its first lead of the game, but Reid got out of the bases loaded jam to toss her third scoreless frame and keep the ballgame even two runs each. In the seventh inning, Baylor took its first lead, 3-2, with a sacrifice fly to left field. The Lady Bears’ walk-off sacrifice fly clinched the victory and the series with two-straight wins.
“We are competing and we’re fighting,” Smith said. “We were right there with them and our team needs to believe it. Tomorrow we need to come out and play the best that we can play. Today we weren’t as sharp as we could’ve been, so tomorrow I just want to see us play our game. Whatever happens happens, but I want us to play the best we can play.”
Kansas concludes the three-game Big 12 Conference series at Baylor on Sunday, April 24. First pitch is slated for 12 p.m. on Fox Sports Plus and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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