Kessler, Kansas Cruises past SIU Edwardsville, 5-0

Taylor Hatfield was 3-for-3 at the plate with a run and RBI.
Kansas 5, SIU Edwardsville 0
JSU Softball Field // Jackson, Miss.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
SIUE 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1
KU 0 0 0 1 4 0 X 5 9 0

Box Score (.pdf)

Batting Leaders
T. Hatfield 3 1 3 1 0 0
A. Newman 3 1 2 0 0 0
C. Naudin 2 0 1 3 1 0
C. Yankolovich 3 0 1 0 0 0
A. McDavid 3 0 1 0 0 0
Kansas IP H R ER BB SO
K. Kessler 7.0 2 0 0 1 5
E. Greenwalt (L, 1-4) 3.0 3 1 0 4 2
H. Chambers 3.0 6 4 4 0 2

JACKSON, Miss. – Two days prior, Kansas’ Kelsey Kessler battled 10 innings to earn a 4-3 win over SIU Edwardsville, on Sunday seven innings was more than sufficient to earn her second shutout of the season in a 5-0 win on the final day of the Jackson State Softball Tournament.
Kessler, who retired the last 13 Cougar batters consecutively, lifted the Jayhawks to an 8-5 record, while limiting SIUE to only two hits. She struck out five on the day and only walked one to improve to 4-3 for the year.
“Everything was working for (Kelsey),” head coach Megan Smith said. “It’s funny, because she faced them for 10 innings on Friday and faced them for all seven (Sunday) and they still struggled to catch up with her. That’s a testament to her. Coach (Abbie) Sims had a good game plan and threw some different things at them to keep them off balance.”
The two teams were scoreless for the first three innings, but in the fourth, Kansas was the benefactor of a dropped fly ball in left field which would have been the third and final out. Chaley Brickey was on second base after earning a base on balls and advanced after a single by Taylor Hatfield. With two outs, Lily Behrmann lifted a pitch down the leftfield line, but Kayla Riggs had the ball roll out of glove allowing Brickey to score and take a 1-0 lead.
“We started off slow offensively and they made a miscue and we took advantage of it,” Smith said. “We kind of gained momentum from that offensively, but defensively and our pitching looked really good.”
In the fifth inning, Kansas gave Kessler all the insurance runs she needed. Hatfield, who was 3-for-3, drove home Ashley Newman, after Newman and Maddie Stein each singled and Brickey loaded the bases on with a hit by pitch to open the frame. With the bags still full, Naudin blasted a two-out double into left-centerfield that cleared the bases and pushed the KU lead to 5-0.
“Chanin has been struggling (at the plate), but she’s been battling,” Smith said. “In her at bats, she battles. She has been working through it and when you keep battling and keep a good mentality, good things will happen eventually.”
Kansas scattered nine hits, led by Hatfield’s three. Stein and Newman each had two apiece. SIU Edwardsville fell to 3-11 on the season, as the Jayhawks posted a 4-1 record at the weekend tournament.
“Anytime you can go 4-1 on a weekend, that’s big for us,” Smith said. “We are still learning our team and we learned a lot this weekend. Players are starting to gel a little bit offensively. Defensively we have always been strong, but offensively we have been struggling a little bit.”
Kansas is slated to return to action on March 1, when the Jayhawks will face Murray State at 4 p.m. CT in the Coach B Classic at Carbondale, Ill. The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.