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Archive for Monday, April 19, 2010

Kansas softball battles, but falls

Kansas shortstop Mariah Montgomery, left, prepares to put the tag on Oklahoma State’s Kelsey Ancors. KU fell to OSU, 4-3, Sunday at Arrocha Ballpark.

Kansas shortstop Mariah Montgomery, left, prepares to put the tag on Oklahoma State’s Kelsey Ancors. KU fell to OSU, 4-3, Sunday at Arrocha Ballpark.

April 19, 2010

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KU softball drops close contest

The KU softball team fought hard to stay in the game against Oklahoma State on Sunday. The Jayhawks fell 4-3 at home. Enlarge video

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KU vs. Oklahoma St. box score ( .PDF )

Kansas University sophomore Marissa Ingle had two at-bats late in Sunday’s 4-3 loss to No. 9 Oklahoma State that demonstrated — in Ingle’s mind, at least — what the KU softball team is all about.

“We’re fighters,” KU coach Megan Smith said. “Some days it works for us, and some days it doesn’t.”

Sunday was one of those days it didn’t. But not by much.

On the heels of an 11-3 loss to OSU on Saturday, the Jayhawks fell behind 3-0 after two innings Sunday and appeared to be headed for another long day.

But in the fifth, with two outs and nobody on, Ingle found a way to smack a spark into her team when she lifted a 3-1 pitch over the left-center-field fence to put KU on the board.

KU sophomore Marissa Ingle (21) is all smiles with teammates after cracking a homerun and scoring two as the KU women hosted the Okahloma State cowgirls on Sunday April 18, 2010. Kansas fell 4-3 in a hard-fought game.

KU sophomore Marissa Ingle (21) is all smiles with teammates after cracking a homerun and scoring two as the KU women hosted the Okahloma State cowgirls on Sunday April 18, 2010. Kansas fell 4-3 in a hard-fought game.

KU senior Alicia Irwin pulls in a bunt on Oklahoma State's Kelsey Ancors (19) for an out. The Jayhawks fell 4-3 to the Cowboys Sunday, April 18, 2010.

KU senior Alicia Irwin pulls in a bunt on Oklahoma State's Kelsey Ancors (19) for an out. The Jayhawks fell 4-3 to the Cowboys Sunday, April 18, 2010.

The home run was packed with meaning. For starters, it put the Jayhawks back in the game despite being just the team’s second hit of the day. For Ingle, it was her fifth homer of the year and her third in seven Big 12 Conference games.

Most importantly, however, it was the first earned run surrendered by OSU pitcher Kat Espinosa in the last 46 innings.

“Home runs are huge because we had some girls striking out and coming back to the dugout just saying, ‘Dang, she got me,’” Ingle said. “But when you see your teammate get a hit, you kind of say, ‘Well, if she’s gonna hit it, I’m gonna hit it,’ and that just gets everyone pumped up and excited and gets the positive thoughts going.”

Oklahoma State answered Ingle’s blast with a two-out RBI in the top of the sixth to push its lead to 4-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth. That’s when KU’s grit surfaced again.

KU pulled within 4-3 when Amanda Jobe smashed a pitch to deep center field that was dropped by OSU’s Kelsey Anchors at the wall, scoring two.

That brought Ingle back to the plate, this time with a chance to tie the game or give Kansas (18-26, 1-10) the lead.

On the 11th pitch of the at-bat, she roped a shot down the first-base line that likely would have driven in two runs had it not landed in the glove of OSU first baseman Julie Ward.

“Today we fought and were in the whole game,” Smith said. “So the fighting never gets old.”

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