Auburn, Ala. — Kansas University surrendered five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and lost, 8-5, to undefeated Auburn on Saturday at the Tiger Softball Invitational.
Kansas (6-2) led, 3-0, after the top of the third, but gave up runs in four straight innings as the Tigers won their 10th game of the season.
“Auburn is a great team, always solid, but we didn’t show up to play today,” KU coach Megan Smith said. “We showed up for a few innings, but we just took a few innings off, and you can’t do that against a team like Auburn.”
Propelled by senior Mariah Montgomery (3-for-3, HR) and multi-hit games from freshmen Alex Hugo and Chaley Brickley, the Jayhawks out-hit the Tigers, 12-9, but Auburn held the edge in runners left on base with eight to KU’s 11.
“We didn’t execute with runners in scoring position,” Smith said. “And when you do that, you’re breathing life into them, and that’s what happened. We went on and on, leaving runners, and became stale because of that. They took advantage of it.”
Freshman Kelsey Kessler (2-2) picked up the loss in relief of sophomore starter Alicia Pille in the sixth inning. With a 4-3 Kansas lead, Kessler allowed a single and a walk and needed just one more out when Auburn’s Morgan Estell hit the go-ahead, two-run double. KU senior Morgan Druhan replaced Kessler on the mound but gave up two more runs off three walks and a single. Pille then re-entered the game to close out the inning.
The Jayhawks will play their final game of the Tiger Invitational at 9 a.m. today against Bryant University.