🥎 Jayhawks Win First Two Games of Rock Chalk Challenge

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas softball team swept a doubleheader against Tulsa Wednesday to open the Rock Chalk Challenge at Arrocha Ballpark.

The Jayhawks improve to 15-11, while Tulsa falls to 14-13. Kansas is set to continue play this Sunday, March 19th, against Nebraska (1:30 p.m. CT) and UMKC (4 p.m. CT). 

Game 1: Kansas 4, Tulsa 3

Pitching and defense controlled the game early as the teams combined for just two hits in the first three innings. Tulsa doubled and stranded a runner in the top of the fourth, while Kansas got a single from sophomore Olivia Bruno and a double from junior Lyric Moore to lead off the bottom half, before back-to-back groundouts and a pop up to the pitcher ended the threat. 

Junior Kasey Hamilton again retired the Golden Hurricane in order in the fifth to keep Tulsa off the scoreboard. Senior Shayna Espy hit a one-out triple to right and single on a single up the middle from freshman Presley Limbaugh for the first run of the game. Kansas took the 1-0. Lead into the sixth inning, where it got a two-run home run from freshman Aynslee Linduff – the first of her career – and a solo shot from sophomore Sara Roszak to push the lead to 4-0.

Tulsa got a pair of baserunners in the top of the sixth and followed that with a two-out, three-run home run to make it a one run game. Hamilton retired the next batter on an infield pop up to end the game. 

Espy finished 2-for-3 with a triple while five other Jayhawks had a hit, including Moore with a double. Kansas had seven hits, compared to five for Tulsa, and neither team committed an error. 

Hamilton (5-4) tossed a complete game, striking out seven while allowing three runs on five hits to earn the win. 

“In the first game, Kasey Hamilton threw a great game, besides giving up a home run,” said Head Coach Jennifer McFalls. “I just loved her compete factor that she brought to the circle today.”

Game 2: Kansas 9, Tulsa 1 (5)

The Jayhawks got the scoring going early. With bases loaded in the bottom of the first, Linduff was walked, bringing the runner from third home and giving Kansas a 1-0 lead.

With two outs in the second, Kansas scored three more runs. After singles from Espy, Limbaugh and Moore, Bruno hit a double to center, clearing the bases to extend Kansas’ lead to 4-0.

Tulsa got on the board in the top of the fifth with a solo home run to center.

Kansas forced the run-rule in the bottom of the fifth. With runners on the corners, Addison Purvis hit a line drive through the right side to extend the Jayhawks lead to 6-1 while putting runners back on the corners. Roszak collected another RBI after she hit a single to left.

Hailey Cripe then stepped up to the plate and ended the game with her third career home run, a three-run blast to left that put Kansas up 9-1 and invoked the run-rule.

Sophomore Katie Brooks (3-2) pitched a complete game, allowing one run on four hits, with four strikeouts and one walk.

Nine different Jayhawks would collect a hit and Espy was the lone Jayhawk with two hits.

“Great team effort today,” said McFalls. “I thought our pitching was really solid. Katie Brooks needed that game today. She’s been working all week at fixing some things, with her mechanics. So, I was really proud to see her come out and compete today. We just found a way to keep scoring runs. Our goal was to attack today, and we did that offensively, especially in the second game. I’m proud because we put a lot of work in.”