Speed at the Top Sets Tone in Kansas Win

Kelsey Kessler posted her second-straight shutout on a two-hitter with 10 strikeouts.
Kansas 6, LIU Brooklyn 0
Eddie C. Moore Softball Complex // Clearwater, Fla.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
LIU 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 3
KU 3 1 0 0 2 0 X 6 9 1

Box Score (.pdf)

Batting Leaders
C. Brickey 3 2 2 0 1 0
M. Stein 4 0 2 2 0 0
LIU Brooklyn
M. Green 2 0 1 0 0 0
Kansas IP H R ER BB SO
K. Kessler (W, 9-5) 7.0 2 0 0 0 10
S. Procter (L, 7-9) 4.1 8 6 6 4 2
C. Vondrak 1.2 1 0 0 1 0

CLEARWATER, Fla. – The Kansas softball team behind the legs of Ashley Newman and Alex Jones claimed its fourth-straight victory, including nine wins in its last 11 contests, after downing LIU Brooklyn, 6-0, in the final day of the Under Armour Showcase at the E.C. Moore Softball Complex Sunday morning.
“We came out the first inning and we just went right at it,” head coach Megan Smith said. “We were really aggressive and I think our slappers set the tone for the entire game.”
The win improved Kansas’ record to 15-7 on the season and 4-1 in the three-day event. Sophomore pitcher Kelsey Kessler landed her second-straight shutout, her fifth of the season and 12th of her career, after allowing only two hits and striking out 10, her fifth double-digit strikeout total this season. With the victory, Kessler’s record is now 9-5.
“Our pitchers have been dominant the last two days to only give up one run,” Smith said. “Kelsey kept them off-balance and just went right at them.”
KU tagged the Blackbirds for three runs in the first inning, after Newman and Jones each reached base safely on infield hits. The Jayhawk tandem continued to showcase their speed with a double steal, in which the LIU Brooklyn catcher overthrew third base allowing Newman to score easily.
Following a Chaley Brickey base on balls, Maddie Stein put Kansas in front, 2-0, with an RBI single to centerfield. Chanin Naudin followed suit with an RBI single of her own to score Brickey and push the lead to 3-0.
Kansas added to its run total in the second inning, as Brickey doubled down the leftfield line with two outs. Once again, Stein stepped into the box and promptly drove home a Jayhawk run with a single to center for a 4-0 edge.
“(Maddie) is just a poised hitter,” Smith said. “She is really good at during her job and her job is to drive in runs. She gets up there and she is confident, has good at bats and she executes for us.”
The Jayhawks were retired in order in the third and fourth innings, but returned to their scoring ways in the fifth. Harli Ridling opened the frame by drawing a base and balls. After a foul out, Taylor Hatfield smacked her first triple of the season to plate Ridling, the fifth KU run of the game.
“(Taylor) had a good weekend,” Smith said. “She is being more aggressive and attacking pitches more which is what is going to help her be successful more offensively. I thought she looked really good this weekend.”
Hatfield later scored when Nikki Bruce came on to pinch hit. In her first at bat of the season, Bruce battled to a full count and delivered a single to centerfield for the 6-0 lead.
“Nikki is one of our hardest workers,” Smith said. “She’s a bullpen catcher and doesn’t get a lot of playing time, but is a very good player. She’s going to get some playing time now.  She proved today that she can have good at bats and she’s always been good behind the plate. I was excited to see her come through.”
The Jayhawks totaled nine hits in the game with Brickey and Stein leading the way with two apiece.
Kansas will be back in action on Tuesday, when the Jayhawks have their 2014 home opener with a double header against South Dakota State at Arrocha Ballpark. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.
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