Behrmann's Blast Sparks Kansas Bounce Back Victory
DELAND, Florida – Sometimes one swing of the bat isn’t enough to shake off the ill effects of a shutout loss, so No. 25 Kansas used 10 hacks to work things out in a run-rule shortened victory over Stetson, 10-1, at Wilson Field Saturday evening. Jayhawk left fielder Lily Behrmann hit a two-run blast and doubled against the Hatters, part of a four RBI effort to lead the team in KU’s third game of the Stetson Classic.
Kansas made quick work of the tournament host, scoring all 10 runs over the final three innings to bounce back from a 4-0 shutout loss to Chattanooga earlier in the day – just the second time the Jayhawks (20-2) have been topped this season. Behrmann was joined by Chaley Brickey (2), Maddie Stein (2) and Shannon McGinley (2) with multiple hits, and tied for the team lead with two runs scored after also reaching on a walk.
“We had a tough game earlier offensively, we were not locked in,” Kansas head coach Megan Smith said. “They came out and accepted our challenge of having better at-bats and stringing them together. I’m really proud of the way our team bounced back.”
Both teams had opportunities in the first two innings but neither could put a score on the board until Behrmann’s opposite field home run, a two-run shot that scored Briana Evans, sparked a five-run outburst by the Jayhawks. Brickey followed with a double off the base of the wall to add another and Daniella Chavez and McGinley each had run scoring singles as the team batted around against Stetson starter Courtney Brandt.
“Lily is a total player,” Smith said of the Jayhawk igniter. “She can use her speed, she can use her power. What she’s doing offensively for us is huge. She’s a big part of our lineup and when she does well, we do well as a team.”
Brickey joined the home run festivities with a solo shot to lead off the fourth and Kansas added four more runs in the fifth, two more off the bat of Behrmann, to complete its scoring.
Kansas starter Alicia Pille quietly scattered two hits over five innings to improve to 11-0 and surrendered just one run in the bottom of the fourth. It could’ve been a little more uneasy for the senior ace but Brickey, the Jayhawks’ shortstop, and second baseman Taylor McElhaney made a pair of great plays with runners on to prevent further damage. Brickey made a diving stop on a line drive by Amanda Grimaldo and flipped to second to get one out as the Hatters’ lone run scored.
“We have great defense up the middle,” Smith said. “Taylor and Chaley are dynamic players, they make big plays. They make the routine plays, but they make big plays. Chaley had an awesome play to get an out at second – she didn’t quite get a double play, but that ball could have made it to the fence it was hit so hard. She did a great job of diving to get it. Our defense has been stellar all year. It’s something we focus really hard on and we take pride in. They came through for Pille today.”
Kansas’ collected 10 or more hits for the 10th time this season and saw the offense stroke multiple home runs for the fifth time in 2015. The Jayhawks are the first time in the Big 12 Conference to reach 20 wins this year, needing only 22 games to get there.
“We’ve had a good start, but it’s just a start,” Smith said. “We’ve got to keep working and pounding away. Our players are hungry for it. Every time they come out they want to win, and they were really upset about the first game and came out with a vengeance. We’re ready to keep tacking on some wins and get ready for conference play.”
Kansas will close its competition at the Stetson Classic Sunday morning with a third match-up against Chattanooga for the tournament crown at 9 a.m. (CT).
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