🥎 Kansas Softball Opens Season at the Candrea Classic
TUCSON, Ariz. – The Kansas Softball team will open the 2022-23 campaign on Thursday as the Jayhawks head west to compete in the Candrea Classic at Hillenbrand Stadium against No. 12 Arizona, Long Beach State and North Carolina State.
Kansas will play five games over three days to open the season. The Jayhawks will first face off against Long Beach State on Thursday, followed by matchups against No. 12 Arizona and North Carolina State on Friday. To round out the tournament, Kansas will play back-to-back games Saturday against Long Beach State and North Carolina State. The Candrea Classic is named after legendary Arizona coach Mike Candrea, who won eight national championships with the Wildcats and led USA Softball to a gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics.
After finishing third in the Postseason NISC tournament last season, the Jayhawks return 15 players and one transfer, along with adding seven freshmen.
Coach Jennifer McFalls and Kansas return six players that started in 40 or more games last season, including sophomore pitcher and first baseman Olivia Bruno, junior pitcher and first baseman Savanna DesRochers, junior catcher Lyric Moore, senior infielder Ashlyn Anderson, senior shortstop Haleigh Harper and senior centerfielder Shayna Espy.
Bruno was unanimously named to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team after a stellar freshman season. Bruno led the team in both batting average (.345) and home runs (13) her freshman season., while also maintaining an ERA of 4.72.
In the circle, Kansas returns four starting pitchers in Bruno, junior Kasey Hamilton, sophomore Katie Brooks and DesRochers. Hamilton started 28 games in the circle, striking out 103 batters in 149.0 innings pitched.
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The Jayhawks will travel to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to take on the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge next week, Feb. 15-18.