Kansas Makes History, Defeats North Florida for 18th-Straight Win
March 10, 2012
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - On Feb. 11, the Kansas softball team picked up its first win of the season - 29 days later, the Jayhawks accomplished what no team in the program's history has done before when they defeated North Florida, 1-0, for their 18th-straight victory at the UNF Softball Complex.
Kansas (18-2) tied the 1992 Jayhawks with its 17th-straight win on Friday night, but on Saturday afternoon the 2012 squad claimed sole possession of the longest winning spree in the program's history.
Going the distance in the circle, freshman starter Alicia Pille (9-2) made the lone run stand through all seven innings, tossing her sixth complete game shutout of the season. She struck out six, walked two and allowed just four hits in her ninth-consecutive victory. The Royse City, Texas native has not allowed an earned run in 28.0 innings.
North Florida (10-10) was led by third baseman Alyson Bailey with a 2-for-3 performance, while starter Ashley Brown (1-2) was saddled with the loss.
The Jayhawks did all of the game's scoring in their first trip to the plate, taking advantage of a mishap in the outfield on a sharply hit ball by redshirt senior Liz Kocon. The error gave Maggie Hull the chance to take off for home, giving the Jayhawks the 1-0 lead they would never surrender.
Meanwhile, Pille had things under control in the circle. A hit batter and a double put runners on second and third with only one out in the top of the second, but Pille ignored the rally. She collected a strikeout and a pop-up foul to end the first Osprey danger.
North Florida would threaten again in the top of the fifth when again a hit batter and a base hit landed two Ospreys on base looking to score. Freshman catcher Lexi Bryant came up with a crucial catch in foul territory to keep the shutout intact.
By the bottom of the fifth, the Jayhawks were eager to add to their slim lead. Freshman centerfielder Cassen Salamone, sophomore second baseman Ashley Newman and Maggie Hull did their part, rallying on two outs for three-straight hits to chase Brown from the game.
Although junior shortstop Mariah Montgomery's shot to centerfield off of reliever Kayla Goff looked like it was on its way to breaking the game open, UNF centerfielder Danica Mandarano tracked it down and made an impressive catch. KU went back to the dugout clinging to the 1-0 margin.
In their final at bat, the Ospreys tried to spoil the Jayhawks' bid for history as they received a vital single from leadoff hitter Jackie Reese. An error allowed her to sprint to third base with only one away. Pille buckled down and tossed into a pop for the second out, while her sixth strikeout of the afternoon sealed the 1-0 historical victory.