Kansas, Missouri State split softball doubleheader
- Mar. 27, 2012
- 0 Comments
The Kansas softball team won the first game of a doubleheader against Missouri State on Tuesday, but could not hold onto an early lead in the second game to secure the sweep.
Despite the Jayhawks’ (23-7, 2-4) victory during the first game, coach Megan Smith said she questioned the team’s demeanor in the early part of game one.
“We started extremely flat,” Smith said. “We’re a team that plays hard, and we pride ourselves on being locked in and ready to go. We really didn’t see that in the beginning of the game today.”
Missouri State took advantage, putting up a run in the first inning on Kansas’ pitcher freshman Alicia Pille.
Still, Pille (11-4) kept the Jayhawks in the game until the offense came through.
Kansas put only three runners on base throughout the first five innings, but the top of the lineup was due in the sixth.
Sophomore infielder Ashley Newman, whose .380 batting average leads the team, led the inning with a bunt single. Two more singles loaded the bases with no outs for senior cleanup hitter Liz Kocon.
“It’s really important for the lead-off hitter to set a tone and be a spark plug basically,” Newman said. “I know I can depend on the people behind me to hit me in.”
Kocon did just that with a two-run double to right field, giving Kansas a 2-0 lead and its first runs of the day. Senior shortstop Mariah Montgomery knocked in two more runs to continue the rally, and the Jayhawks had all the runs they would need.
In game two, despite jumping ahead with a three-run first inning, Kansas allowed Missouri State to chip away at the lead and ultimately win the game.
Missouri State answered Kansas with a first-inning run of its own, making the score 3-1. Missouri State then put up zeros until a three-run fourth inning gave them a 4-3 lead and knocked KU’s pitcher junior Morgan Druhan (7-2) out of the game.
“The second game, we started off really strong, locked in,” Smith said. “The pitching just wasn’t as sharp throughout the day, and it kind of got us in a little rut.”
Kansas tied the score with a run in the fifth, but Missouri State had the answer again, scoring the deciding run in the bottom half of the fifth.
Montgomery said the team knew it was playing a tough team but lacked the intensity needed to win both games.
“We learned some lessons today about being locked in and being selfless,” Montgomery said. “About looking at the front of the jersey and not the back and how we have to play for Kansas.”
The midweek matchup was a make-up series after rain postponed it last week.
Edited by Corinne Westeman