Originally posted on Kansan.com on March 2nd, 2014. Printed in Kansan on March 3rd, 2014.
The Jayhawks (11-6) had nothing but hard fought battles this weekend in Chattanooga, Tenn. Kansas won their first three contests, extending their winning streak to five, but fell in their last game against Murray State.
In the first game of the Coach B Classic, Kansas took on Southern Illinois (6-7). Sophomore pitcher Kelsey Kessler (7-3) posted eight strikeouts in the shutout, not allowing a single run in the contest. This was Kessler’s second straight shutout of the season.
On the offensive side of things, sophomore infielder Chaley Brickey slammed her second home run of the season, added another hit and chalked up two RBI. Senior infielder Ashley Newman had two hits in the contest as well. Junior utility Maddie Stein also pulled in two RBI in the contest.
In the night game of the day, Kansas took on Murray State (8-7), the ball rarely left the infield until the seventh inning when Kansas loaded the bases and Newman cracked just enough of the bat to bring home a win.
“It was a good day, obviously if you can win two, it’s a great day,” said coach Megan Smith. “I think we still have some work to do offensively to capitalize… we’re getting runners on, we’re getting runners in scoring position, but we’re not executing every time. We need to do a better job with that. I think our pitching and defense was stellar, so I’m excited about two wins.”
Junior pitcher Alicia Pille and Kessler shared the mound. Pille recorded 10 strikeouts, while committing an error and allowing six hits and two runs. Kessler came in to relieve and recorded the win. Kessler added two strikeouts to Pille’s 10.
In the first game of the second day of the Classic, Kansas faced Miami (OH) (4-7). Pitching was Pille, senior Alex Jones and Kessler. Pille allowed three hits, two runs and committed two errors. Jones allowed two hits, while striking out two. Kessler came away with the win, allowing just one hit and threw six strikeouts.
At the plate, Newman connected three times on her four at bats, with one triple, adding a run for the Jayhawks. Freshman catcher Harli Ridling added two hits, one run and two RBI.
In the final game of the tournament, Kansas faced Murray State for the second time. In the previous matchup Kansas won 3-2. Murray State came out swinging, scoring three runs in the first inning. Kansas battled back in the second inning with two runs. The two RBIs came from junior infielder Chanin Naudin and freshman infielder Taylor McElhaney. The third and fourth innings remained scoreless for both teams, with Kansas trailing by one run. The fifth inning, Murray State crossed home, extending their lead 4-2. Kansas wasn’t going to let them get away that easy though. Stein smashed a two RBI home run, tying the game. Extra innings were needed, but Kansas couldn’t control a wild pitch where Murray State capitalized.
Kansas is back in action March 7 in the Under Armour Classic in Tampa, Fla.