Daggers were flying from the eyes of Kansas University softball coach Tracy Bunge early Wednesday evening. Bunge wasn't grinning after the Jayhawks split a twinbill with Wichita State at Jayhawk Field.
Kansas pulled out a dramatic 3-2 walk-off win in the opener thanks to WSU miscues, but KU gaffes proved costly as the Shockers captured the second game, 4-3.
"We were fortunate," Bunge said. "They gave us one game. We'll take those, but we gave them the second game the way we played defense."
A wild throw by shortstop Courtney Wright, a hit batsman, a groundout and a ground ball that went right through the legs of second baseman Amy Hulse gave the Shockers a 2-0 lead in the second inning of the nightcap.
"(WSU) was shell-shocked, but we made those errors," Bunge said, "and their confidence level came up."
Third baseman Megan Urquhart also made an error that led to an unearned run in the first game.
"All of them are seniors and the three seniors didn't do the job defensively today," Bunge said. "Nobody feels worse than them, but we have to play better than that."
Defense and pitching have been magnified over the last couple of weeks because the Jayhawks aren't scoring runs.
"We're spraying hits around, one an inning, but there's no real spark plug," Bunge said. "We've got some kids pressing, some who aren't relaxed."
Kansas (26-17) out-hit the 16-22 Shockers, 8-5, in the second game, but scored all three runs in the third inning Â two on a blast over the right-field fence by Christi Musser, her team-leading sixth of the season.
KU collected six hits in the first game, but two WSU errors enabled the Jayhawks to score two in the bottom of the seventh and escape with the 3-2 victory.
Kansas now has two days off before returning to Big 12 Conference action against Texas Tech. Game times are 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday at Jayhawk Field. Members of KU's 1992 College World Series team will be honored on Saturday.
In the meantime, Bunge's plans call for very little batting practice.
"For the next two days we'll talk mainly about what we need to do mentally," Bunge said. "I'm going to have Mark Thompson, our team psychologist, talk to them. We're pressing. Too many are trying to take the team on their shoulders. We're just trying too hard."
Freshman Serena Settlemier pitched five innings in relief of starter Kara Pierce to earn the first-game victory, her eighth in 14 decisions. Settlemier allowed three hits, fanned six and gave just one unearned run.
Kansas 3, Wichita State 2
Wichita State 010 001 0 Â 2 6 3
Kansas 001 000 2 Â 3 6 2
Two outs when winning run scored.
Lindsay Craig and Robin Sando; Kara Pierce, Serena Settlemier (3) and Dani May. WPÂSettlemier, 8-6. LPÂCraig, 12-13.
2BÂJody Lupo, Robin Sando, WSU; Lindsey Weinstein, Megan Urquhart, KU. SBÂShelly Musser, Leah Tabb, KU.
Wichita State 4, Kansas 3
Wichita State 021 010 0 Â 4 5 0
Kansas 003 000 0 Â 3 8 2
Ashley Patrick, Lindsay Craig (4) and Robin Sando; Kirsten Milhoan, Kelly Campbell (5) and Dani May. WPÂCraig, 13-13. LPÂMilhoan, 4-3.
2BÂAmy Hulse, KU. HRÂChristi Musser, KU. SBÂStephanie Scott, WSU; Lindsey Weinstein, Megan Urquhart, KU.