Behrmann’s Grand Slam Seals No. 22 Kansas' Win over EMU
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Sophomore Lily Behrmann took advantage of a bases loaded situation and sent one deep over the centerfield wall to register her first career grand slam and Kansas’ ninth of the season. The bases clearing blast led No. 22 Kansas to a 13-2 victory over Eastern Michigan Friday afternoon in Arrocha Ballpark.
One her second trip to the plate in the first inning, Behrmann entered the batter’s box with a Jayhawk at each plate and ripped one over the centerfield wall to continue the Jayhawks’ (26-2) trend of going yard with runners on every base. The Overland Park, Kan. native was the icing on the cake to an explosive first inning for KU.
“Lily’s a pesky hitter, she has potential to hit for power, she can lay down a bunt and beat it out,” said head coach Megan Smith. “She works pitchers really, really well. She has a lot of quality at-bats, it’s hard to pitch to her. She can hit you from a lot of different angles.”
The offensive frenzy began when a trio of Jayhawks were each issued a walk to load the bases for the first time in the bottom frame. Before the inning would conclude Kansas would be dealt six walks. The Jayhawks average 4.3 walks a game and have recorded a total 123 walks this season, just 51 shy of setting a new single-season record.
“They came out and kind of punched us with two runs and I felt like we fought back really well,” Smith said of KU’s answer in the first inning. “We had a lot of quality at-bats, our batters worked the pitcher, worked good counts and made some things happen to come up big.”
A wild pitch tossed to freshman infielder Daniella Chavez would score Kansas’ first run and ignite a 10-run inning. Chavez would go on to hit a single through the right side and tack on the tying run to knot the game up, 2-2.
Two more singles contributed by senior infielder Chanin Naudin and freshman catcher Jesse Roane gave Kansas a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish for the remainder of the game as the Jayhawks continued to tack on insurance runs in the first inning.
A pair of walks loaded the bases for the second time and registered another run for Kansas. With a 6-2 lead over the Eagles, Behrmann took to the plate and secured the Jayhawks 26th victory this season.
KU boasts a perfect 23-0 record when outhitting its opponents after recording nine hits to Eastern Michigan’s three.
Eastern Michigan struck first after a single and walk were issued senior Lindsay Rich hit a deep double to the centerfield wall to bringing in two runs as the Eagles took an early 2-0 lead. Those would be the only two runs EMU would collect as KU kept the Eagles at bay for the rest of the game.
Kansas plated three more runs in the third inning behind Chavez’s second RBI single of the day as well as a RBI single from senior infielder Maddie Stein. Stein is just three RBIs away from moving into first in Kansas’ all-time career records. The senior has recorded 138 RBIs in a Crimson and Blue uniform.
Seven Jayhawks recorded a hit in their afternoon matchup against Eastern Michigan, led by junior Chaley Brickey and Chavez’s two hits apiece.
Freshman hurler Bryn Houlton got her third start and pitched all five innings, her first career complete game, in the Jayhawks’ 10th run-rule victory this year. The Savanna, Oklahoma native recorded three strikeouts on the day, registering her third career win.
“Bryn came out and they put a couple good hits on her in the first inning, but then I think she settled in really well,” said Smith. “She was hitting her spots well, mixing up her speeds and had good presence. She hasn’t gotten a ton of innings here lately and I was really pleased with the way she came out and bounced back after that first inning. She looked sharp the rest of the game.”
Eastern Michigan pitcher Lindsay Rich threw four innings earning the loss in the circle. She collected three strikeouts and allowed eight earned runs in her 15th appearance on the season for the Eagles.
The Jayhawks continue day two of the Rock Chalk Challenge by facing Georgia State on March 21 at 1 p.m. in Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park.
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