Kansas Moves to 5-0 After Sweeping Weekend Tourney

Sept. 30, 2012

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Fueled by a pair of grand slams from senior Maggie Hull and freshman Alex Hugo in game one and a complete game shutout from sophomore in game two Alicia Pille, Kansas cruised through the Kansas Fall Invitational undefeated, Sunday at Arrocha Ballpark.

Using several combinations of position players, the primary purpose of fall exhibition play, head coach Megan Smith was happy with the key changes she sees her players excelling in early in the year.

“It’s tough when you change positions,” Smith said. “But they’ve done a great job of locking in on that, accepting it and running with it. I thought Mariah (Montgomery) played extremely well at first (moved from shortstop) and Maddie (Stein) did a good job behind the plate (moved from first base). We need to let them keep getting more comfortable with it as the fall continues.”

Game One: Kansas 13, Seminole State Community College 1 (5)
The Jayhawks erupted for 12 runs and 13 hits – in the second inning alone – to lock up the game in a hurry. Hull and Hugo led the charge with a grand slam apiece as every Jayhawk scored at least one in the monster inning. KU finished with 13 runs on 17 hits, highlighted by 11-straight base knocks in the bottom half of the second.

“Obviously, we have a lot of strong offense returning and newcomers who are coming in and doing extremely well,” Smith said. “I didn’t think we made all of the adjustments that we needed to, but we still pounded out double-digit hits, which was nice.”

Aside from Hull and Hugo’s four-RBI performances, Kansas was led by junior Taylor Hatfield’s 3-for-3 day, highlighted by a two-run double in the second. Seven Jayhawks posted multi-hit efforts in the lopsided victory.

Senior first baseman Mariah Montgomery kick started the offense with a sharp line drive to centerfield that fell in for a double to lead off the bottom of the second. Freshman shortstop Chaley Brickey and junior second baseman Ashley Newman followed that with infield singles to load the bases.

With one away, Hatfield put a two-run double off the right field wall. Sophomore left fielder Cassen Salamone kept the scoring rally going when she roped a single up the middle to give Newman room to score.

Holding a 3-0 lead already, Maggie Hull came up with the bases loaded. The senior captain drove the high delivery to the opposite field, launching a grand slam over the left field fence, powering KU to a 7-0 lead.

Still only one out against them, the Jayhawks kept rolling. Hugo cleared the scoreboard with her bases-loaded blast that put the game out of reach, 12-0.

“It’s really exciting,” Smith said of the senior/freshman grand slam combo. “Maggie has been great for us her whole career and Alex Hugo will be great for us her whole career, too. It was great to see them do that.”

A solo shot in the top of the fourth broke up senior Morgan Druhan’s no-hitter and she wouldn’t allow another in her five innings of work. She finished the morning with nine strikeouts and no walks.

Game Two: Kansas 8, Butler Community College 0 (6)
The weekend finale got off to a pitcher’s duel feel as both starters kept each team off the scoreboard through the first two innings.

Sophomore starter Alicia Pille finished the afternoon with a complete game shutout, surrendering just one hit, walking one and collecting six strikeouts in six innings.

Sophomore catcher Maddie Stein paced the offense, going 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. Freshman shortstop Chaley Brickey was one of five Jayhawks to post multiple hits in game two and led KU with two runs scored.

Stein broke the scoring silence in the bottom of the third. The sophomore captain dropped an RBI single into shallow left, sending redshirt junior right fielder Alex Jones home and handing KU the 1-0 lead.

In KU’s following at bat, KU used singles from sophomore third baseman Chanin Naudin, junior centerfielder Elsa Moyer and Jones to load the bases. With two away, Stein came up clutch with a two-run single to center as KU opened the gap, 3-0.

Pille’s no-hit bid ended with a leadoff double in the top of the fifth, but three-straight pop outs would leave the runner on second to keep the shutout intact.

Back-to-back doubles from Brickey and Naudin added to the Kansas lead in the bottom of the fifth, 4-0. In the Jayhawks’ next trip to the plate, Stein roped a double for her third hit of the game and quickly scored on a single from junior second baseman Ashley Newman.

Moyer’s line out to centerfield gave senior Rosie Hull all the time she needed to sprint home and wrap up the game run-rule style, 8-0.

The Jayhawks will continue their fall exhibition season on Wed., Oct. 3 when they play host to the Baker Wildcats. First pitch at Arrocha Ballpark is set for 6 p.m.

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