Kansas Looks Flawless in Five-Inning Win Over Iowa State, 8-0
April 22, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. - Alicia Pille was one hit shy of perfect and Maddie Stein drilled her third homer in two days as the Kansas freshmen highlighted a flawless performance to take the series from Iowa State in five innings, 8-0.
The first two games witnessed back-and-forth moments from both teams coupled with rarely seen rulings to bring both squads to the finale looking for the series victory.
On Sunday, a Kansas (28-16, 5-13) victory was never in doubt. The Jayhawks put together one of its most well-balanced efforts of the season, taking a lead in the first inning that they would never surrender en route to picking up its fifth win, and second series victory, in the Big 12 Conference this season.
"It's tough to sweep anyone in conference, especially a team that hits as well as Iowa State, but we needed to win the series," head coach Megan Smith said. "Yesterday was tough but our girls bounced back today and were dominant. Our offense was great. We win that game because Alicia Pille threw as well as she did. She was dominant and did a great job."
Iowa State (14-30, 2-13) was never able to find a rhythm as Pille retired every batter through the first three innings. Sunday marked her third one-hitter of the season and the first in conference play. Pille struck out three, walked none and with an error-free defense behind her, ISU shortstop Lexi Slater's fourth-inning single was all that stood in the way of her perfect game.
Tori Torrescano (8-21) took the loss for Iowa State, tossing 4.0 innings and surrendering seven runs on 10 hits.
At the plate, the Jayhawks received its routine stellar performances from junior left fielder Maggie Hull and Stein, the freshman first baseman. Hull extended her hit streak to 12 games, the last seven of which were multi-hit performances. Hull went 2-for-3 on Sunday with a run scored and an RBI.
Stein, meanwhile, continued to clobber the ball, cranking out her third homer in two games to finish the day 2-for-3 with the homer, a double, two RBIs and two runs scored.
Hull now leads the Big 12 with her .424 average on the season, while Stein is right behind her at .408. If the season ended today, both would break KU's all-time season record (Jill Larson, .400, 1979).
The hot-hitting pair had plenty of help as six of the starting nine punched out 2-for-3 days. Redshirt senior right fielder Liz Kocon, junior shortstop Mariah Montgomery and freshmen Lexi Bryant and Chanin Naudin each cranked out two hits in the finale.
After being pitched around for most of the series, Montgomery benefitted from Smith shifting her down in the lineup. In her first trip to the plate, she drove in her team-leading 42nd RBI of the year to put Kansas on the board in the bottom of the first, 1-0.
With the lead in hand, Kansas never looked back with Pille in control in the circle.
The rookie retired the first nine batters she faced as her offense worked behind her to build additional run support. The Royse City, Texas native allowed the only hit of the game in the fourth inning and struck out the side in the fifth. Her 154 strikeouts this season leave her three shy of third-most all-time by a freshman at Kansas.
As Pille kept the Cyclones off the board, Kansas added to it. In the Jayhawk third, Maggie Hull dropped her streak-extending single into left and Stein followed her to the plate. In nearly the exact same spot that she targeted on Saturday, Stein crushed her third, two-run homer of the series over the right field wall.
Naudin, who had snapped her 11-game hit streak the day before, immediately resumed action on Sunday when her lined shot to center drove in Kocon and rounded out the Jayhawks' three-run bottom of the third inning.
As she has all year, Hull shined under pressure in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs and sophomore second baseman Ashley Newman on third, Hull delivered an RBI single - her 13th RBI of the year with two outs and runners in scoring position - and KU climbed ahead, 5-0.
Back-to-back singles to open the fifth ended Torrescano's start for reliever Lauren Kennewell. A base hit from Naudin loaded the bases with no one out before Bryant drove in the first run of the inning. Needing two more runs for the run rule, senior Kelsey Alsdorf was called on to pinch hit. She put the ball in play and an ISU error allowed two runs to score, sealing the shortened 8-0 victory.