The University of Nevada Softball team (23-19, 8-7 MWC) traveled to Lawrence, Kansas to face off against the Kansas University Jayhawks (24-23, 3-9 Big XII Conference). Heading into the nonconference series against the Jayhawks, the Wolf Pack came off its third consecutive series win of the season. The Jayhawks were the second Power 5 team the Wolf Pack faced this season. The Pack had defeated the other opponent, Iowa State, twice earlier in the season.
Below is a game-by-game look at this week’s nonconference series against Kansas.
Game 1 (April 21, 2017)
The Nevada Softball team was held scoreless for most of the night. In fact, through the top of the seventh inning with two outs, the Wolf Pack was unable to score any runs. However, a five-run rally by the Wolf Pack offense was able to propel the team to the opening win of the series.
Nevada pitcher McKenna Isenberg started out shaky, allowing an early Kansas 2-0 deficit after the first inning. However, she was able to hold them scoreless for the next five innings to help mitigate the damage. She finished out the game with four earned runs, six walks and nine strikeouts on 160 pitches.
Heading into the final inning down two runs, Nikki Orozco drew a walk that was advanced to scoring position with a hit from Melissa Arriaga. In the ensuing at-bat, Raquel Martinez, who went 3-of-4 in her plate appearances. Another walk drawn by Sierra Mello set up a bases loaded situation for Erika Hansen.
Hansen, one of Nevada’s seasoned veterans, smacked a ball into a gap in deep center field for a bases-clearing double that allowed the team to take the lead. The rally was capped by another double by Aaliyah Gibson to give the Wolf Pack the 5-2 lead through the middle of the seventh.
While the Jayhawks put forth a rally of their own, scoring two runs in the bottom of the seventh, Issenberg was able to strike out the final batter in a high-pressure bases loaded situation to seal the win for the Wolf Pack.
Game 2 (April 22, 2017)
The following day, the Wolf Pack found itself in a pitcher’s duel through the first four innings. Sophomore Kali Sargent held the Kansas offense to only one run in four innings. However, the Wolf Pack was unable to maintain its defense and allowed for the Jayhawks to score five runs in the fifth inning.
With the score at 6-1 heading into the top of the seventh, the Wolf Pack was able to tally an extra two runs. However, the five-run deficit proved too much to overcome.
The final score was 6-3 in favor of the Jayhawks, evening the series at one win apiece.
Game 3 (April 23, 2017)
With the series tied at 1-1, Sunday’s game gave the Wolf Pack the opportunity to continue its streak of series victories to four straight. An early 1-0 lead sparked by some small-ball with a walk drawn by Martinez, a Swain bunt which advanced Martinez to third, and a throwing error allowing for the Wolf Pack to take an early run.
Nevada extended their lead with Orozco drilling a homer over the left-field wall to give the Wolf Pack a 2-0 lead.
The Jayhawks bats came alive in the bottom of the second as they were able to score seven unanswered runs in back-to-back innings to take the lead.
By game’s end, the Wolf Pack was unable to stop the bleeding as Kansas was able to tack on six more runs. The final score was 13-5.
The Wolf Pack will return to conference play on April 28 to face off against Colorado State in a three-game series.