🥎 Dramatic Win Against Host Grand Canyon Keeps Kansas Unbeaten

PHOENIX, Ariz. – The Kansas Softball team stayed perfect on the season Saturday, winning both of its games at the GCU Kickoff Classic, including an extra inning thriller in the nightcap.

The Jayhawks moved to 4-0 on the season, beating Fordham in their first game of the day, before topping host Grand Canyon in eight innings in the second game.

Kansas scored two runs with two outs in the seventh inning against Grand Canyon to tie the game, before scoring three runs in the eighth to win and stay unbeaten in the tournament and on the season.

The Jayhawks will wrap up play at the GCU Kickoff Classic on Sunday with a 12:30 p.m., matchup with Weber State.

Game 1 – Kansas 6, Fordham 2

The Jayhawks picked up a win over the Rams to start the day in the afternoon. Freshman Olivia Bruno got her first start in the circle and earned her first win after throwing six innings and allowing just one hit. The Topeka native allowed two runs on the one hit, while striking out a pair.

Kansas struck first on the scoreboard in the top of the second. Bruno led off with a single up the middle and Cheyenne Hornbuckle followed by reaching on a fielder’s choice. Bruno advanced to second thanks to an error by the first baseman. 

With two on and nobody out, Lyric Moore stepped up to the plate. Moore singled to bring home Bruno and advance Hornbuckle to second. Sophia Buzard got hit by the pitch to load the bases. A wild pitch allowed Hornbuckle to come home and both Moore and Buzard advanced. 

With two on and no out, Haleigh Harper delivered a sac bunt to bring home Moore and give the Jayhawks a 3-0 lead. 

Fordham had no answer until the bottom of the fourth when the Rams hit a two-run home run to make the score at 3-2, Kansas.

Bruno responded in the top of the fifth by hitting her first career home run to give the Jayhawks a two-run advantage at 4-2. 

Kansas struck again in the top of the seventh when the Jayhawks pulled ahead and solidified their lead. Ashlyn Anderson led off with a single and Gayre followed with a single, and advanced to second after an error by Fordham’s center fielder. Anderson scored and Angela Price, who pinch ran for Gayre, came home. 

With one on and one out, Hornbuckle grounded out to second, but gave Price the chance to tag up and come home which gave the Jayhawks their sixth and final run. 

Savanna DesRochers came in to relieve Bruno and got the final three outs for the Jayhawks. 

On top of her performance in the circle, Bruno also led the offense going 2-3 with a home run and an RBI. Moore followed by going 2-4 with a double and an RBI. 

Game 2 – Kansas 10, Grand Canyon 7 (8 innings)

Senior outfielder Macy Omli delivered a two-run, two-out single with the Jayhawks down to their final out, to tie the game in the seventh inning at seven apiece. Omli scored Shayna Espy and Moore to knot the game. 

Grand Canyon loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the inning, but freshman Katie Brooks got a strikeout to strand the bases loaded and force extra innings. 

The Jayhawks placed Gayre on second base to start the inning, since she made the last out of the seventh. With two outs and Gayre on third, Moore hit a sharp grounder to short that couldn’t be handled, allowing Gayre to score and make it 8-7. 

DesRochers, making a pinch-hit appearance, then doubled to score Moore and give Kansas a two-run lead at 9-7. Following a walk, Espy delivered an RBI single to score DesRochers and make it 10-7. 

Brooks then retired the side in order in the bottom of the eighth to secure the win for Kansas. The freshman pitched 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief to earn the win and improve to 2-0 on the young season. 

Espy had four hits in the win to pace the Jayhawks, finishing 4-for-6 with an RBI and two runs scored. Omli and Bruno each had two hits in the win, with Omli going 2-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored, while Bruno went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a pair of walks. Moore went 1-for-2 with a double and two runs scored. She reached base four times. 

Kansas trailed nearly the entire way. Grand Canyon led 5-1 after three and 7-3 after five, before Kansas scored two in the six, two in the seventh and three in the eighth to win.