GREENVILLE, S.C. – Redshirt junior Alex Jones retired 15-straight batters after Furman took a 2-0 lead into the second, but the score stood for the remainder of the afternoon in the second game of the day at Pepsi Softball Stadium on Saturday.
Kansas (25-11, 3-3) entered the weekend with the best offense in the Big 12 Conference, but managed just two hits against Furman (22-18, 7-7). Although Jones held the Paladins to four hits, they were sufficient enough for the victory.
“We were really flat today,” head coach Megan Smith said. “I think you have to go out and play a team like Furman the same way we play a team like Texas Tech and were weren’t even close to that today.”
Making her first start in the circle since March 15, Jones (7-2) allowed three-straight singles to start the game. She worked quickly to find her groove, giving up an RBI groundout for the first run of the game. A leadoff single to start the second also scored by way of an RBI groundout, but marked the last hit she would surrender. Jones finished with three strikeouts and no walks in her fifth complete game of the year.
“Our pitching was good and we made some good defensive plays,” Smith said. “But overall the attitude from the entire team was disappointing. We have to bounce back and find it within ourselves to come out and be an entirely different team tomorrow than we were today.”
Following the single to start the second, Jones racked up three-straight outs to get out of the frame down, 2-0. She went on to throw four-consecutive 1-2-3 innings, but the lead would prove insurmountable.
Furman starter Lauren Collier (11-8) had much to do with that. The junior right-hander threw a complete game shutout, striking out four, walking three and only allowing two hits.
Freshman first baseman Alex Hugo drilled her second double of the day and eighth of the season in an attempt to rally the Jayhawks in the top of the sixth, just as she did in game one, but it was to no avail. After senior left fielder Maggie Hull snapped her KU record 20-game hit streak in game one, she responded with a double in game two. Both would be totaled in the five base runners left on.
For the Paladins, Collier and first baseman Stephanie Spain collected the pair of RBIs, both without the use of a hit.
Kansas and Furman will wrap up the three-game series Sunday at 10 a.m. CT.