Sacramento, Calif. Moments after Alex Jones took a pitch off the top of her head, senior left fielder Maggie Hull picked up Kansas University’s starting softball pitcher with a walk-off home run to defeat Saint Mary’s College, 3-1, in the bottom of the seventh in game two of the Capital Classic on Friday.
Earlier, KU lost to Fresno State, 3-2.
It seemed fitting that Jones (6-0) would score the first of the two winning runs for Kansas (20-6). The redshirt junior had a career day, recording a personal-best 11 strikeouts. The Enid, Okla., native allowed four hits and walked none in her seven-inning complete-game effort.
“We’re really proud of AJ (Alex Jones), how she threw and how she fought back after giving up a big hit in the seventh,” KU coach Megan Smith said. “We’re proud of the way that she fought. We showed some fight in the last game, but I don’t think we had it enough today. It was too close of a game.”
Hull already had extended her hitting streak to 12 games with a single in the first inning. Her two RBIs and two runs scored moved her into sole possession in both categories on KU’s all-time career lists with 128 RBIs and 125 runs.
“She had been hitting the ball hard, it was just a matter of time for her,” Smith said. “It’s one of those things that if you stay patient and stick to the game plan, then it’ll work, and it did for Maggie today.”
Three hits from junior second baseman Ashley Newman and a double from freshman catcher Alex Hugo helped Kansas come back and tie the game against Fresno State, but the Bulldogs scored a run in the bottom of the sixth to defeat KU.
Facing the second-winningest program in Division I softball, Kansas took an early lead in its first at-bat against Fresno State. FSU came back and to take the 2-1 lead before Kansas knotted the score at 2-2 in the top of the sixth. A two-out RBI single in the bottom of the sixth, however, swung the game in favor of the Bulldogs for good.
Newman collected her fourth three-hit game of the season to lead KU.
Sophomore Alicia Pille made the start, but after leaving the game with a 2-2 score after five complete innings, she left with a no decision. The sophomore right-hander gave up two runs, and the first of two hits she allowed was a solo home run.
KU will meet Texas State at 11 a.m. (CDT) today.
Fresno State 3, Kansas 2
Kansas 100 001 0 — 2 7 1
Fresno State 001 011 x — 3 3 0
W — Jill Compton (7-8). L — Kelsey Kessler (5-3).
2B — Alex Hugo, KU. 3B — Diane Runge, FS; HR — Stesha Brazil, FS.
KU highlights — Ashley Newman 3-for-3; Mariah Montgomery 1-for-3, RBI; Chanin Naudin 1-for-2, RBI.
Kansas 3, Saint Mary’s 1
Saint Mary’s 000 000 1 — 1 4 2
Kansas 000 010 2 — 3 5 0
W — Alex Jones (6-0). L — Jessica Lemmon (1-5).
HR — Sarah Lira, SM; Maggie Hull (5), KU.
KU highlights — Maggie Hull 2-for-3, 2 RBIs, 2 runs; Alex Hugo 2-for-2.