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Originally published May 16, 2014 at 02:47p.m., updated May 16, 2014 at 06:22p.m.

Border War resumes: KU softball beats Nebraska, faces Mizzou next

Members of the Kansas University softball team celebrate at the plate after Taylor Hatfield (10) hit a two-run home run in the first inning of Friday's NCAA regional softball game against Nebraska on Friday, May 16, 2014, in Columbia, Mo.

Members of the Kansas University softball team celebrate at the plate after Taylor Hatfield (10) hit a two-run home run in the first inning of Friday's NCAA regional softball game against Nebraska on Friday, May 16, 2014, in Columbia, Mo.

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photo

David Welker/Special to the Journal-World

Members of the Kansas University softball team celebrate at the plate after Taylor Hatfield (10) hit a two-run home run in the first inning of Friday's NCAA regional softball game against Nebraska on Friday, May 16, 2014, in Columbia, Mo.

photo

David Welker/Special to the Journal-World

Kansas pitcher Kelsey Kessler (44) delivers a pitch during Friday's NCAA regional softball game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at University Field on May 16, 2014 in Columbia, Missouri.

photo

David Welker/Special to the Journal-World

Kansas second baseman Ashley Newman (22) safely slides into second base in the first inning of Friday's NCAA regional softball game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at University Field on May 16, 2014 in Columbia, Missouri.

— The Border War is back on.

At least for one day.

Kansas University’s upset-minded softball team wasted no time Friday afternoon against No. 19 Nebraska, scoring three runs in the top of the first to establish the upper hand on the way to a 3-1 victory in the Jayhawks’ first NCAA Tournament game since 2006.

Now the Jayhawks (34-21) will take on old Border War foe Missouri — a 6-5, eight-inning victor over Bradley on Friday — in the second round of the Columbia regional at 3:30 p.m. today.

Last weekend, Missouri junior Corrin Genovese went off about the defunct rivalry between KU and Mizzou in an interview with Gabe DeArmond of PowerMizzou.com.

“We wanted to keep the tradition going,” she said Sunday night after learning Kansas would travel across the state line for the NCAA Tournament regional at Missouri this weekend. “They backed out, they felt disrespected. But for us to be the first team to play them after that went down, I think it’s a big statement game. KU’s done everything they can to avoid us the last couple years playing so they might lose the first round, you never know.”

The showdown against Mizzou marks the first time the Jayhawks and Tigers have gone head-to-head since Missouri left the Big 12 for the SEC in 2012. The game will be streamed for free on YouTube.

“I hope we get the opportunity to play them. I really do,” KU junior pitcher Alicia Pille said earlier this week. “We’re gonna bring it. Hopefully everything goes our way.”

The winner of the postseason Border War moves on to Sunday with a 2-0 record in the double-elimination regional and would then need just one more win to advance to next week’s super regionals.

Fifth-year KU coach Megan Smith, who has the Jayhawks in the postseason for the first time since she arrived, acknowledged earlier this week she anticipated an anti-Kansas crowd this weekend.

“I think any time you go to a regional site, whoever’s hosting has really good fans and really good support,” Smith said. “You always feel like the underdog when you go into those places. (Columbia) won’t be any different than any other place.”

Despite the excitement surrounding the rivalry, the Jayhawks’ Ashley Newman said earlier this week KU had to ignore Genovese’s trash talk.

“We knew that we couldn’t focus too much on that,” she said, “because we still had another team ahead of them.”

Friday, the Jayhawks wasted little time in avenging a loss earlier this season to the Huskers.

With two outs in the opening half inning, KU junior Maddie Stein drove in senior Newman with a single off of Huskers pitcher Tatum Edwards before senior Taylor Hatfield smacked a two-run homer.

Sophomore Kansas pitcher Kelsey Kessler threw all seven innings, allowed five hits and struck out six for the win against Nebraska (40-16).

“She was phenomenal today,” Smith said of Kessler. “She showed a lot of grit, which is good to see from your pitcher. She gave up some base-runners that she was not happy about. She clawed out of it and showed a lot of fight. It was a great outing for her.”

Nebraska outhit Kansas 5-4, but the Jayhawks made the most of their hits.

“I let a lot of runners on that I probably shouldn’t have,” Kessler said. “The defense was solid behind me. When runners are on, it makes me focus more on getting the out.”

Later Friday, Missouri blew a 4-0 lead when it allowed Bradley to score five runs in the top of the seventh. But the Tigers (42-16) tied it in the bottom, then plated a single run in the eighth to set up the Border War showdown.

The loser of today’s game will play again at 8:30 p.m. today against either Bradley or Nebraska. Today’s winner will play at noon Sunday for a chance to advance to super regionals.

Kansas 300 000 0 — 3 4 0

Nebraska 000 100 0 — 1 5 0

W — Kelsey Kessler, 20-14. L — Tatum Edwards, 22-12.

2B — Maddie Stein, Kansas; Hailey Decker, Nebraska. HR — Taylor Hatfield, Kansas.

Kansas highlights — Kessler 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 Ks; Stein 2-for-3, R, RBI; Hatfield 1-for-3, R, 2 RBIs; Ashley Newman 1-for-3, R.

Comments

Aaron Paisley 5 months, 2 weeks ago

I feel incredibly dirty and unclean saying this, but Go Missouri. That statement only applies to their game against Bradley today because I want to see a Border War! I miss the rivalry, I want them to play again, I completely understand the logic for KU not wanting to help out the traitors in the rectum of America, but it still doesn't change that I miss the rivalry!

Waylon Cook 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Did Misery buy Bradley shirts when they beat us in the tourney? Hopefully they did and that bad karma gets them a loss. Nothing more than I would like to see than Misery and the Huskers in the losers bracket. Then that d i c k head EarleyWHINE and Bo Pelini slug it out in the parking out. Our girls came to play today and Megan needs to put Kessler in the circle tomorrow. Being a Mizwho native she knows what this means and I know she will show them what she can do!

CONGRATS LADIES! Megan even with less talent when she first got her played the Tiggers tuff. Could be a dogfight.

Armen Kurdian 5 months, 2 weeks ago

I don't care who you play ladies, just TERMINATE your opponents with EXTREME PREJUDICE!

Jack Jones 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Well done, Jayhawk women!! Make the most of this moment regardless of who shows up as the next opponent ~ as you are aware, these opportunities don't come up predictably.

Aaron Paisley 5 months, 2 weeks ago

There is a going to be a Border War tomorrow!

Jeff Worthington 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Yep, Mizzou was up 4-0 going into the last inning and Bradley scored 5 to take the lead, but Mizzou tied it in the bottom of the 7th and won in extra innings 6-5. It would've been pretty awesome to be playing Bradley tomorrow while Mizzou was one game away from elimination. Especially considering how much they ran their mouths after the brackets were announced. Go whoop some ass Jayhawks!

Dirk Medema 5 months, 2 weeks ago

I was really hoping they would have lost to Bradley and then NU. That would have been Karma.

Aaron Paisley 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Hell no! I want to see KU beat them twice and leave no doubt about who's superior!

Michael Johnson 5 months, 2 weeks ago

I'm confused. The story says KU will meet MU at 3:30 pm today. Is it tomorrow, because it also says the loser will play Bradley or Nebraska tonight?

Andrew Hartsock 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Sorry. That's the story for Saturday's paper. The days were changed to reflect that. KU and MU play Saturday, as do Bradley and Nebraska. It should be fixed now.

Josh Galler 5 months, 2 weeks ago

One former Big 12 foe down, next up is Mizzery. Go KU Softball beat the former big 12 foe MUCK FIZZOU

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