North Texas Daily

ICYMI: Softball takes two from Kansas in Lawrence

ICYMI: Softball takes two from Kansas in Lawrence

ICYMI: Softball takes two from Kansas in Lawrence
April 27
10:06 2022

Following a stretch where the team lost three of its last four, softball bounced back with a series win against the University of Kansas over the weekend. 

Freshman shortstop Cierra Simon went 6-for-11 at the plate, hitting two home runs and tallying five RBIs as she increased her batting average from .243 to .270 in the series. North Texas (27-12, 13-5 Conference USA) clinched the series on Friday after winning both games of a double-header. Kansas (15-28, 2-10 Big 12) won the closing game Saturday afternoon to deny the Mean Green their first series sweep since April 3.

Game 1: North Texas 12, Kansas 4

Junior left-handed pitcher Ashley Peters opened the first of two games Saturday, pitching 4.1 innings, striking out two, walking one and giving up four runs (one earned) on six hits. Sophomore right-hander Kasey Hamilton went 4.1 innings for the Jayhawks, striking out six, walking three and allowing four runs on eight hits. Both pitchers were scored a no-decision in the contest. 

Following a scoreless and hitless first inning, redshirt sophomore outfielder Molly Rainey hit a one out single up the middle for the first hit of the contest. Junior infielder Saleen Donohoe was then hit by a pitch and both runners advanced on a sophomore catcher Ashlyn Walker single. A strikeout and flyout got Hamilton out of the bases loaded jam.

Sophomore catcher Lyric Moore led off the bottom of the second with a triple but was stranded after Peters set down the next three. North Texas took the lead on an RBI single from sophomore first baseman Kailey Gamble in the top of the third which Kansas immediately responded to.

Peters retired the first two batters in the bottom of the third but ran into trouble after junior infielder Ashlyn Anderson reached on an error at second. Senior utility player Savanna DesRochers then singled to put two on for freshman utility Olivia Bruno. A single got past Cobb in center field to score both runners and allow Bruno to round the bases for a three-run single.

The Mean Green erased the 3-1 deficit in the top of the fourth on a pair of RBI singles from Simon and sophomore outfielder Kalei Christensen. Hamilton’s day ended following the Christensen hit as she made way for DesRochers to flex into the circle for the Jayhawks. 

With the game tied at 3-3 until the bottom of the fifth, Anderson singled with one out. DesRochers followed her up with a single of her own which forced Peters out of the contest in favor of freshman right-handed pitcher Skylar Savage. Moore singled to give Kansas a one-run lead before Savage got out of the inning.

Sophomore outfielder Lexi Cobb led off the top of the sixth with a double, putting the tying run on base for Simon. Representing the go-ahead run, Simon gave North Texas the lead with her fourth home run of the season. Christensen walked and Gamble singled before Rainey brought them both home with a two-run single. Freshman infielder Emma Grahmann singled to score Rainey which forced Jayhawks head coach Jennifer McFalls to re-enter Hamilton into the contest.

Cobb and Christensen hit a pair of two-run doubles on Hamilton to extend the North Texas lead to 12-4. With the run-rule in effect, Savage closed out the game for her 11th win.

Game 2: North Texas 9, Kansas 5

Donohoe took the circle for her first collegiate start in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader after Savage had been the listed starter. She recorded no outs and allowed the first three batters to reach base before Savage entered. Bruno and DesRochers doubled and junior shortstop Haleigh Harper grounded out to score four runs, all charged to Donohoe.

Savage went on to pitch 5.1 innings, striking out three, walking one and surrendering two runs on nine hits. Freshman right-hander Katie Brooks started for Kansas, pitching 2.1 innings, striking out four, walking three and allowing four runs on four hits. Both pitchers were scored a no-decision in the contest.

Cobb led off the game with a solo home run before the Jayhawks’ four-run first. Down 4-1, the Mean Green offense tied the game in the top of the second. Rainey led off the inning with a single followed by Walker being hit by a pitch. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch before Cobb walked to load the bases.

Simon then walked, scoring a run to bring the deficit down to two which was followed by a two RBI double by Christensen to tie the game. A snared ball at first by Bruno ended the inning, keeping the game tied.

Brooks’ day ended after a Donohoe one-out single in the top of the third as DesRochers checked into the contest. DesRochers hit Walker with a pitch before retiring the side. Savage got through the bottom of the third clean which allowed North Texas to take the lead on a go-ahead sacrifice fly by Evans in the fourth.

Kansas tied the game in the bottom of the sixth with a leadoff single by Harper and one out RBI single by senior outfielder Macy Omli. Peters relieved Savage after the game-tying base hit. Donohoe gave the Mean Green the lead back in the top of the seventh with a no-doubt grand slam to left field in the top of the seventh.

Peters set down the Jayhawks in four batters to end the game and secure her team-leading 14th win.

Game 3: Kansas 9, North Texas 4

Peters started the final game of the series, pitching 1.2 innings, striking out one and giving up four runs (one earned) on five hits. Hamilton started her second game in as many days, pitching a complete game, striking out eight and walking six as she surrendered four runs on five hits. 

North Texas struck first with Simon’s second home run of the weekend to give the Mean Green a 1-0 lead. With an early lead, Peters retired Kansas in order in the bottom half. North Texas went down scoreless in the top of the second before the Jayhawks scored four in the bottom of the inning to take the lead.

Two base hits and an error loaded the bases for Harper, who singled to left to give Kansas a 2-1 lead. A junior outfielder Shayna Espy single up the middle and Anderson double made the score 4-1. Savage checked in for Peters and recorded the final out of the inning. 

The Mean Green tied the game in the top of the third on an RBI double by Christensen, Gamble RBI single and Rainey sacrifice fly. A home run by freshman utility player Sara Roszak provided an instant response as Kansas retook the lead in the bottom of the third.

The fourth and fifth innings saw no scoring from either squad as Savage and Hamilton settled in. Omli hit a two RBI double in the bottom of the sixth, followed by an Espy double and Anderson RBI groundout to add four insurance runs heading into the final frame. 

Sophomore second baseman Mikayla Smith led off the inning with a walk, then Simon got on with a bunt single to put runners at the corners. Christensen struck out and senior third baseman Tayla Evans fouled out to end the game. 

North Texas has a midweek tilt with Tarleton State University (27-19, 12-9 Western Athletic Conference) on Wednesday before a trip to Birmingham, Ala., to take on West Division rival, the University of Alabama-Birmingham (21-20, 9-8 C-USA).

“We can’t sweep a series when we take a day off like we did [Saturday],” head coach Rodney DeLong said. “Overall, we still accomplished winning a road series.”

Featured Image: Sophomore Kalei Christensen holds up her glove during a game on April 1, 2022. Photo by Kristian Freeman

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Reed Smith

Reed Smith

sports editor

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