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Archive for Sunday, April 16, 2006

KU hurler catches a break

Humphreys strikes out 10 in four-hit shutout

April 16, 2006

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Finally, the capricious gods of softball smiled on Kassie Humphreys.

Humphreys, the best pitcher in the Big 12 Conference with a losing record, scattered four singles and fanned 10 as Kansas University clipped Texas Tech, 1-0, Saturday at Arrocha Ballpark.

"She did deserve one," KU coach Tracy Bunge said.

Humphreys, who lowered her earned-run average to 1.37 and elevated her record to 10-13, won in spite of three teammates' errors and puny offensive support.

The junior right-hander from Glendale, Ariz., mowed down the first nine Red Raiders she faced. However, Tech placed runners in scoring position in the last four innings, and each time Humphreys shut the door.

"I still felt I was in control of my pitches," she said. "My mentality was to go after them."

Humphreys, who had earned back-to-back Big 12 pitcher of the week awards, was coming off her worst outing in a month - a 4-0 loss Wednesday at Missouri. She surrendered seven hits, and all four MU runs were earned.

"I'm pretty hard on myself, and that being the Border Showdown and all that, it hurt me a little bit," she said. "But it reminded me that not every game is guaranteed."

Meanwhile, the Jayhawks continued to have difficulty manufacturing runs. They managed only five singles off Tech right-hander Erin Crawford, but three came in the first inning.

Val Chapple led off with a hit off the third baseman's glove. Two batters later, Jessica Moppin wormed a single into left field to set the stage for clean-up hitter Serena Settlemier.

Settlemier, who entered tied for the league lead in runs batted in, delivered a run-scoring single up the middle.

"Serena's our RBI machine," Bunge said. "She just keeps hitting the ball hard."

Nicole Washburn stroked a one-out single in the second inning. The Jayhawks' lone safety the rest of the way was a ground single by Moppin in the fourth inning.

"Today wasn't our best game," Settlemier said, "but it feels good to get a win and get our confidence back."

The Jayhawks had dropped six of their first eight conference games, mainly because they manufactured only six runs in their last six games combined.

"It wasn't pretty. It was a struggle," Bunge said of Saturday's win, "but we found a way, and that's the bottom line."

Kansas (22-20, 3-6) will play host to Texas Tech (18-25, 4-5) at noon today, then entertain Missouri on Wednesday.

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