Stillwater, Okla. Kansas University loaded the bases in the top of the seventh, but Oklahoma State escaped that jam to claim a 3-1 Big 12 softball victory over the Jayhawks on Friday at Cowgirl Stadium.
Kansas (26-12, 3-4) outhit OSU, 6-4, but the Cowgirls (25-20, 3-7) counted two home runs.
“She (Kat Espinosa) is a strong pitcher and threw extremely well today,” KU coach Megan Smith said. “I thought we did a good job of getting runners on, it was just getting those clutch hits when we needed them. We just didn’t do that as much as we needed to.”
Freshman Kelsey Kessler (7-4) made her first start since no-hitting Texas Tech on April 7. Since then, however, the rookie missed a scheduled start at Furman due to injury. Upon her return on Friday, Kessler surrendered a two-run homer to the third batter she faced. A leadoff homer in the bottom of the second ended Kessler’s return outing.
Sophomore Alicia Pille took over from there, shutting the door on the Cowgirls. She gave up just one hit in her five innings of relief, while striking out five.
The series will resume at noon today.
Kansas 000 100 0 — 1 6 0
Oklahoma State 210 000 x — 3 4 3
W — Kat Espinosa, 14-13. L — Kelsey Kessler, 7-4.
HR — Tarah Ettinger, Amy Graham, OSU.
KU highlights — Alicia Pille 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 5 Ks, 1 BB in relief; Alex Hugo 2-for-3; Maddie Stein 2-for-3, RBI.