#KUTopMoments: Softball Makes the 2014 Columbia Regional
After closing out the 2014 regular season winning four of the team’s final five games (including a three-game sweep of Iowa State), the Kansas softball team waited to see if they did enough to earn its first NCAA regional appearance since 2006. KU’s 33-21 regular season record turned out to be enough to get selected to the Columbia Regional.
In the first game of the regional, Kansas drew a matchup against the 40-15 Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Jayhawks were able to jump out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning thanks in large part to a two-run home run by junior outfielder Taylor Hatfield. That was all the offense that Kansas was going to need to get the victory with sophomore Kelsey Kessler pitching in the circle.
Kessler finished the game allowing just one run in 7.0 innings to go along with six strikeouts. KU’s 3-1 victory gave the team its first win in an NCAA regional since a 2-1 win over BYU on May 19, 2006.
The Jayhawks were unable to maintain their momentum after their game one victory over the Cornhuskers, falling in consecutive games to Missouri (3-6) and then in a rematch against Nebraska (1-2), concluding their 2014 season.
Sophomore infielder Chaley Brickey
“Growing up I would always watch the road to the Women’s College World Series on tv with my mom. It had always been a goal of mine to be a part of such an incredible experience. I still to this day remember watching the selection show with my teammates. When we saw our name pop up on the screen the room filled with emotions. We did not think we were going to make it in, to be honest. Going into the tournament there were still so many emotions, I mean we were going into rival territory at Missouri. It was our first experience at a regional tournament so we didn’t really know what to expect, but we did know that we just needed to go outplay the game to the best of our ability and just enjoy the experience of playing against the best of the best, no matter the outcome. I wish I could better explain all of the different emotions of that weekend. It was such a roller coaster. All I know is leaving there 1-2 the returners had a nasty taste in their mouths and we knew we had to work hard for next season.”