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Monday, March 3, 2003

Jayhawks claim Crimson Classic crown

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— Mel Wallach blasted her third home run in two days Sunday, and Kansas University won the Crimson Classic with a 2-1 softball victory against Texas-Arlington.

Kara Pierce (10-3) won her third straight decision, striking out eight and walking two in a complete-game five-hitter.

The Jayhawks (14-4) were 4-1 at the three-day tournament and are off to their best start since the 1992 season.

KU's 1992 team started 16-2 and later advanced to the College World Series.

"I am thrilled with the way the team is playing," coach Tracy Bunge said. "This team is finding a way to win close games. Mel Wallach's performance was huge this weekend, and Kara Pierce was steadier than anybody could expect. It was just a great weekend for the team."

Pierce was named tournament MVP after going 3-1. She struck out 18 batters in 25 innings, allowing just two earned runs for a 0.56 earned run average.

Wallach (5-for-16, four RBIs), Melaney Torres (3-for-12 with a game-winning RBI) and freshman Jessica Moppin (4-for-14 with three runs) also were named to the all-tournament team.

Trailing 1-0 with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, Wallach hit a solo homer that sent the championship game into extra innings.

With one out in the bottom of the eighth and runners on second and third, Torres drove in Lindsey Weinstein with a sacrifice fly.

Kansas will take this week off to focus on midterm exams. The Jayhawks are scheduled to play a doubleheader March 15 with New Mexico State at Stillwater, Okla., before a weekend series with Oklahoma State.

Kansas 2, Texas-Arlington 1

Texas-Arlington 000 000 10 -- 1 5 0

Kansas 000 000 11 -- 2 6 0

W--Kara Pierce. L--Garro.

2B--UTA: Rowan. HR--Kansas: Mel Wallach.

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