Lubbock, Texas — A third-inning solo shot from sophomore third baseman Chanin Naudin proved to be the game winner as Kansas University edged Texas Tech, 4-3, in the opening game of a three-game Big 12 softball series on Friday at Rocky Johnson Field.
Naudin’s homer gave KU (22-10, 1-3) a 4-0 lead before the Red Riaders (27-15, 1-3) rallied with a three-run sixth.
A double to lead off the bottom of the seventh gave Tech a shot, but freshman Kelsey Kessler ended the threat and picked up her first save with 12⁄3 scoreless innings.
“It was a very fun game,” KU coach Megan Smith said. “We think all three games this weekend will be like this. They are a very good team with a very good offense. Tonight was our night. (Starter Alicia) Pille and Kessler threw well, and our offense came through and really put pressure on them, and it worked.”
Sophomore catcher Maddie Stein led the KU offense, going 2-for-4 with an RBI. Junior second baseman Ashley Newman also racked up two hits and her eighth stolen base of the year.
Maggie Hull extended her hit streak to a Big 12-best 18 games in her first at-bat, stole second and scored the game’s first run.
Pille (8-6) earned the win. After issuing a leadoff walk, she retired nine straight and allowed three runs off four hits in 51⁄3 innings.
The teams will meet again at 4 p.m. today.
Kansas 211 000 0 — 4 8 0
Texas Tech 000 003 0 — 3 5 3
W — Alicia Pille, 8-6. L — Cara Custer, 12-7. Sv — Kelsey Kessler, 1.
2B — Shelby Johnson, Gretchen Aucoin, TT. HR — Chanin Naudin, KU.
KU highlights — Kessler 12⁄3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 K; Maddie Stein 2-for-4, RBI; Ashley Newman 2-for-3.