(Kansas City, Mo.) – Saturday afternoon, the Kansas City softball team (11-16, 0-2 SL) did not come away victorious in its home opening series as the Omaha Mavericks (27-4, 5-0 SL) took both games, 2-1, in what was UMKC’s first taste of Summit League action this season.
With these losses, the Blue & Gold has now dropped four in a row.
Through the first three innings of game one, UMKC’s Deanna Friese (7-8) maintained a no-hitter, while her counterpart, Dana Elsasser (16-4), held a shutout of her own and did not allow her first hit until infielder Jenna Rangel reached base on an infield single in the third.
As the game progressed, Friese continued to mow down Omaha’s lineup in the fourth by retiring the side, whereas Kansas City’s offense came alive, sparked by a two-out Emily Ott double to left field. Next up, designated hitter Katie Kelley RBI-singled through the right side to bring in pinch runner Bri Wyatt for the first run of the game.
In the fifth, after Friese retired the Mavs in order to maintain her no-hitter, the Kangaroos had a chance do some damage when outfielder Brooke Parker recorded an infield single with Rangel at first. During the sequence, however, Rangel was tagged out at third to end the inning after she rounded second.
The following inning, Friese saw her no-hitter come to an end when outfielder Lindsay Redding connected for a single to left field. Then, ensuing batter Allie Mathewson knotted the game at one with an RBI-double to left center, ending Friese’s shutout.
In the sixth, same score, Kansas City’s Liz Broyles looked to grab the momentum for her squad when she led off the inning with a single through the left side. Two batters later, after infielder Marlee Maples reached on a fielder’s choice, Ott connected on a frozen rope to third. Unfortunately, Omaha’s Molly Negrete made a spectacular catch for the out and then fired the ball to first for the double play to end the inning before Maples could get back.
In the seventh, Friese bounced back after seeing her no-hitter and shutout end by forcing a pop-out and striking out infielder Molly Negrete to begin the inning. But, Friese found herself in a hole when she hit the next two batters to put the game-winning run at second.
However, Friese got out of the jam by striking out Mara Eeman to keep the game tied, while the Kangaroo offense did not score later in the frame as the game went into extra innings.
With both squads battling fiercely, the Mavs were able to breakthrough in the 10th when Mathewson connected for a triple to left, followed by a Tara Trede RBI-single to make it a 2-1 ball game.
Down to its last chance, Kansas City found themselves with the bases loaded and two outs after Ott forced a walk. Although, Omaha’s defense held steady as Kelley flew-out to right field in foul territory to end the game.
Despite the loss, Friese allowed five hits, walked four batters and tallied 10 strikeouts, while Elsasser recorded four K’s and surrendered four walks to secure the win.
Similar to game one, game two was scoreless through three innings until Omaha’s Amber Lutmer RBI-singled up the middle to drive in Mathewson from second in the fourth inning. Later in the frame, the Mavs made it a 2-0 ball game when infielder Tonya Petersen RBI-doubled to left center to bring in Lutmer from second.
In the sixth, Kansas City’s offense generated some momentum with back-to-back two-out singles by Rangel and Broyles. In an effort to keep the energy going, Omaha’s Ashton Hughes (7-0) struck out Ott to end the inning for Kansas City.
After pitcher Cinda Ramos (3-7) and UMKC’s defense kept the deficit at one in the seventh, catcher Caitlin Christopher kick-started a hopeful rally with a lead-off single up the middle. Next up, Maples sent the ball deep to left field off the fence for a possible base hit, but pinch runner Kristi Lee could not beat the throw at second as she was tagged out.
Despite the hiccup, the Kangaroos managed to load bases with Kelley and infielder Chelsea Hartwig recording back-to-back singles. With pinch hitter Maddie Garton at the plate, she grounded out to short, but not before Maples scored from third to make it a 2-1 ball game.
With Kansas City down to its last out, Elsasser (3) replaced Hughes in the circle and sealed the victory by striking out Parker.
At game’s end, the Kangaroos outhit the Mavs, 8-6, led by Hartwig going to 2-for-3. Pitching wise, meanwhile, Ramos recorded two K’s and walked two batters.
Coming up, the Blue & Gold will look to bounce back tomorrow in the series finale at 12 p.m.