Erin Kalka breezed through the first inning of Wednesday night’s game, retiring the Kansas Jayhawks in order on two line-drive outs and a ground out.
She was getting ahead in counts and looked in total control on the mound.
When her offense, aided by a Kansas error, manufactured a run in the bottom half, another blowout win, the kind No. 18 Missouri has grown so accustomed to playing at home, seemed probable.
Kalka’s momentum didn’t last long, though. In the top of the second, she ran into trouble in the person of Kansas shortstop Destiny Frankenstein, who led off the inning with a single.
By the time the inning ended, the Jayhawks had sent seven to the plate and rallied for three runs. A Nettie Fierros home run punctuated the big frame.
The Jayhawks never relinquished the lead and cruised to a 5-3 victory at University Field.
A crowd of 380 witnessed the renewal of the Missouri-Kansas rivalry. The Tigers had a chance to reclaim the lead in the Border Showdown series for the second time this season.
They fell short.
Kansas earned 1.5 Showdown points with the win and leads Missouri 14.5 to 12.5 in the 2004-05 standings.
Several Missouri athletes were in attendance to support their fellow Tigers. They included LaToya Bond, Cherice Mack, Christelle N’Garsanet and EeTisha Riddle of the women’s basketball team and Brandon Coleman of the football team.
In addition, Missouri super fan Larry Wyatt II, best known for showing his devotion at Tiger baseball games, showed up.
He wanted to be part of the rivalry.
“That’s the only reason I’m over here,” he said. “It’s KU.”
Wyatt was at his usual rowdiness for most of the game, repeatedly calling the opposition “chicken hawks.”
After the Fierros home run, he took exception to the Kansas fans’ cheering.
“Quiet down in the peanut section,” Wyatt yelled.
He left for Taylor Stadium to watch the end of the baseball team’s 10-2 victory after Missouri (31-7, 5-4 Big 12) had a frustrating bottom of the sixth.
Janessa Roening led off the inning with a single and things looked promising for the Tigers. They had the heart of their order coming up, trailing 5-2.
The rally ended too quickly. Roening was promptly erased when the next hitter, Micaela Minner, grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.
Cleanup hitter Amanda Renth grounded to second base to end the inning.
Jen Bruck hit a pinch-hit home run with two out in the bottom of the seventh, but it came far too late.
Kansas (18-16, 2-5) pitcher Christina Ross quickly recovered to finish her first save of the season.
After the game, Missouri coach Ty Singleton said he wasn’t overly aggravated by the loss because of the opponent.
“For me, a loss is a loss,” he said. “Obviously we want to win Big 12 games and that doesn’t matter if it’s Texas, or Kansas, or Oklahoma or whoever.”