No. 24/23 Softball moves past Kansas, 9-2
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Saturday afternoon at Arrocha Ballpark, senior pitcher Hailey Dolcini allowed just one hit in 6.2 solid innings of work while helping the No. 24/23 Texas Softball (25-9-1, 2-0 Big 12) extend their unbeaten streak to 15 best games of the season thanks to a 9-2 win over Kansas (10-17, 0-2 Big 12).
- Dolcini has allowed just five total hits and one earned run in his last 26.1 innings dating back to March 16 at No. 23/RV Louisiana. During that span, she holds a 5-0 overall record with a tiny 0.27 ERA and 41 strikeouts.
- With a walk in the first inning, Junior Designated Player McKenzie Parker extended his achieved base streak to 18 consecutive games.
- Dolcini’s 10 strikeouts against Kansas marked the 19th time she’s hit double digits for the Ks in her career combining stints at UC Riverside, Fresno State and Texas.
- The Longhorns are still on a 15-game unbeaten streak (14-0-1) since March 6.
- Texas went a perfect 2-0 in the Big 12 for the fourth consecutive conference season since 2018. There was no Big 12 schedule in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- With two HRs on Saturday, Texas has now reached at least two HRs in a game nine times in 2022.
- Texas is now 44-14 against Kansas, including a 22-10 road mark at Lawrence.
Senior second baseman Janae Jefferson (2 for 4, two runs, walk, HR, RBI); senior receiver Marie Iakopo (1 for 2, run, deuce, double, deuce RBI); second-year right fielder Courtney Day (1 for 2, running, FC, RBI); senior first baseman Lauren Burk (1 for 4, run, double, two RBIs); second-year center fielder Alyssa Popelka (2 for 3)
In the circle
Dolcini (11-3) picked up the win after allowing no earned runs on hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts in 6.2 innings of work. First-year student Sophie Simpson wrapped the game with a third of a perfect relief frame.
Texas struck first with the advantage of a small help from Kansas in the top of the first. After a first single to right center by first-year third baseman Jefferson Mia Scott stepped up and cut a bullet short. KU’s Ashlyn Anderson tried to get the lead runner but threw the bag away for an error as Jefferson ran all the way to first to score. After a walk from Parker, Iakopo paired off a left double to make it 3-0. The advantage quickly expanded to 4-0 as a second-year shortstop Alyssa Washington lifted a sacrificial fly deep right to tackle Iakopo.
With two outs in the top of the second, Jefferson made it 5-0 as he blasted his first HR of the season on the right.
The Longhorns got another two-out blast in the top of the third as Day smashed the first pitch she saw from Kansas starter Katie Brooks at center for a 6-0 advantage.
The Jayhawks used a Madison Hirsch start walk and wild pitch to put a runner in scoring position late in the third. After a groundout, an errant pitch on third sent Hirsch home with KU’s first run. Anderson followed up two batters later by hitting a solo HR to right center as Kansas cut their deficit to 6-2.
Dolcini quickly settled back into the circle as the Ferndale, Calif. product struck out nine consecutive Jayhawks in the fourth through sixth innings with four Ks.
The Texas offense came on again to add valuable insurance in the top of the seventh. With Iakopo and Washington on board on a walk and a short single, respectively, Burke threw a two-RBI double to right center. Second-year left fielder Bella Dayton quickly entered the box and lifted a sacrificial fly down the middle to increase the lead to 9-2.
Facing a last chance in the bottom of the seventh, Kansas fell in order against a combo of Dolcini and Simpson to complete the Texas triumph.