Comeback Falls Just Short as Kansas Edges Texas Tech in Opener
April 5, 2013
LUBBOCK, Texas - Texas Tech rallied from an early four-run deficit with three runs in the sixth but its comeback fell just short as Kansas held on for a 4-3 victory Friday evening in the series opener at Rocky Johnson Field.
The loss marked Tech's third-straight, its longest losing streak this season. The Red Raiders (27-15; 1-3) came into the series riding a five-game winning streak at home as well.
"Credit Kansas for coming out early and making a few things happen," Tech head coach Shanon Hays said. "I liked the rally in our team tonight but we just needed to make a few more plays earlier in the game. Kansas has a good club, so we'll need to be ready to go the rest of the weekend."
Kansas (22-10; 1-3) scored four runs in the first three innings, two of which that came unearned after a pair of Tech errors. The Jayhawks plated two runs in the first, beginning with a two-out RBI single from Maddie Stein, who finished 2-for-4 at the plate.
Both of Kansas' next two runs came off Tech fielding errors, though, as the Jayhawks plated one more in the first and then one in the second. Chanin Naudin followed up in the third with a two-out home run to left field to further extend the lead.
Even with the early deficit, Tech had a chance to tie the game in the seventh after Gretchen Aucoin opened the frame with a double to left center. The rally was short lived, however, as pinch runner Marisa Malazzo was stranded on third after Kansas reliever Kelsey Kessler worked out of the jam.
Kessler picked up her first save of the season after tossing the final 1.2 innings in relief of Alicia Pille, who surrendered the three runs off four hits and four strikeouts in her 5.1 innings.
Pille (8-6) held Tech to just one hit - a Shelby Johnson single to lead off the fourth - through five innings until rallying with three runs in the sixth. Johnson jump-started the rally with a RBI double to left center to complete a 2-for-3 day at the plate.
Johnson scored second later as Katelyn Williams lifted a two-run homer to center field, cutting the Kansas' lead to just one run. Williams nearly went deep earlier in the game but her high fly ball to right in the fourth was held up in the wind and eventually caught near the warning track.
Cara Custer (12-7) took the loss for Tech after allowing three runs, one of which was earned, off two hits in just over an inning. Brittany Talley tossed five innings of relief for the Red Raiders where she gave up one run off five hits while Aucoin also came in to combine on one full inning in the circle as well.
The two teams will continue the series Saturday afternoon with a 4 p.m. first pitch at Rocky Johnson Field.
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