🥎 Kansas Tops No. 17 Texas A&M to Highlight 2-0 Saturday in College Station

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Kansas softball team went 2-0 on Saturday, defeating North Dakota State 8-3 before handing No. 17 Texas A&M a 1-0 loss, their first loss of the season, at Davis Diamond in College Station.

In the second game of the day, Kansas was led by Kasey Hamilton and Olivia Bruno. Hamilton threw a complete game and did not allow a run to the Aggies. She gave up only four hits, along with four strikeouts against 29 batters.

Kansas extended its winning streak to five and improved to 8-5-1. North Dakota State fell to 6-8 and Texas A&M moved to 12-1.

“First of all, Texas A&M has a great ball club,” said Head Coach Jennifer McFalls after the game. “I’m so proud of Kasey Hamilton. I thought she was just dealing and truly let her defense totally help and support her tonight. Our defense has played great these last few games and kept us in the game. I was really proud of Olivia Bruno stepping up and just doing what she does by driving in that run for us tonight.”

GAME ONE (vs. North Dakota State)
Kansas got into scoring position early in the top of the first. Presley Limbaugh opened the game with a walk, followed by an Aynslee Linduff single. Campbell Bagshaw hit a linedrive single to left to load the bases. After Hailey Cripe hit a soft grounder to third, NDSU got the lead runner out at home, but the Jayhawks kept the bases loaded. Lyric Moore hit a single the opposite way to score KU’s first run and in the next at-bat, Olivia Bruno drew a walk to score another one. Kansas failed to get more runs across with bases loaded as the game turned to the bottom half of the first with a Kansas lead of 2-0.

In the circle, Savanna DesRochers saw her first appearance and start in the circle. North Dakota State followed suit with a single in its first at-bat as well. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runner to second, Cripe made a tough play on a hard-hit grounder to the 5-6 gap. However, the runner advanced to third and was brought home with another NDSU single. Linduff put a stop to NDSU’s scoring with a tough catch in foul territory as KU moved to the second with a 2-1 lead.

Cripe opened the third frame by reaching first on a NDSU fielding error. Moore followed that up with a two-run home run over center field to extend KU’s lead to 4-1. That was Moore’s second home run of the season and the 11th of her career.

DesRochers earned relief in the fifth after earning a quality start in the circle. She finished the afternoon with six hits, one run and one strikeout in four innings pitched. Bruno took the circle and got three quick outs in the fifth to keep KU’s 4-1 lead.

Sara Roszak opened the sixth inning with a single to left and was followed up by a Ashlyn Anderson double. Emma Tatum and Kadence Stafford come on as pinch runners, and Tatum reached home after a perfectly placed bunt by Angela Price extended the lead to 5-1. Price stole second to put two runners in scoring position, and Limbaugh drew a walk to load the bases with no outs. The inning ended without any more damage, however, after the Jayhawks struck out three-straight times to end the threat.

Kansas added insurance runs in the top of the seventh after loading the bases to open the frame. Addison Purvis came in as a pinch hitter and smoked a single to right, scoring two more runs to make the lead 7-1. With runners on the corners, Limbaugh did her job by hitting a hard grounder to second, which scored one to extend KU’s lead to 8-1 as the game headed to the bottom of the seventh.

The Bison tried to answer the seven-run deficit. After Bruno opened the frame with two quick outs, she walked the next batter. In the next at-bat, NDSU hit a two-run home run to cut KU’s lead down to 8-3, but Bruno responded with a strikeout, which gave Kansas the 8-3 victory.

Win: Savanna DesRochers (1-0)
Final line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 SO
Loss: Piper Reed (1-3)
Final line: 2.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 1 SO

GAME TWO (at No. 17 Texas A&M)
Kasey Hamilton got the start against No. 17 Texas A&M and tossed a complete-game shutout, allowing four hits and three walks while striking out four.

Kansas got its first hits of the contest during the top of the fourth. With no outs, Limbaugh smoked a grounder at the second baseman for a single, which was followed up by a textbook bunt from Linduff that barely stayed fair as it came to rest on the foul line. However, Limbaugh tried to advance third and was thrown out.

Texas A&M knocked on the door in the bottom of the sixth. After the Aggies opened the frame with a double, Hamilton intentionally walked a batter to put runners on first and second. Hamilton forced a popup to herself and Linduff made a running play to catch a flyout in foul territory to keep the game scoreless.

With one out in the top of the seventh, Bruno stepped to the plate and delivered the deciding score as she smoked the ball over the centerfield fence to score the go-ahead run. Texas A&M got one runner on base with one down in the bottom of the seventh, but the Bruno home run proved to be the difference maker as Hamilton got a strikeout and a flyout to close out the game, giving Kansas the 1-0 victory over the No. 17 Aggies.

Win: Kasey Hamilton (2-4)
Final line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 SO
Loss: Shaylee Ackerman (3-1)
Final line: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 6 SO

Kansas will conclude its play at the Texas A&M Invitational as it takes on North Dakota State for the second time at Davis Diamond on Feb. 25. Action will start at 9 a.m. CT and fans are encouraged to follow along live statistics or follow the official Kansas Softball X Account for live updates throughout the game.