Jayhawk Offense Powers Past Shockers, 10-1
WICHITA, Kan. – An early offensive explosion of seven runs in the first two innings paced the Jayhawks to a 10-1 victory over Wichita State Wednesday evening at Wilkins Stadium.
The Jayhawks (28-10, 3-0 Big 12) tallied 11 hits in the midweek match-up against the Shockers, which is the most in a game since the Jayhawks recorded 14 hits in a win over nationally-ranked Kentucky (3/23). Senior Alex Jones (2-for-5) and junior Chanin Naudin (2-for-4) led the team with two hits each recording their eighth and fifth multi-hit game of the season, respectively.
Kansas took the lead in the opening frame by taking advantage of three Jayhawk hits and three Shocker errors. Jones and leadoff hitter Ashley Newman sparked the offense with a pair of base hits and junior Maddie Stein drove in the first run of the game with a single to left field. KU benefited from two Shocker miscues for two more runs, while a fourth scored on a fielder’s choice. Senior Taylor Hatfield drew a walk in her first at bat bringing in another run as the Jayhawks led 5-0 after the top of the first.
The Jayhawk offense continued to find the gaps in the outfield and scored two more runs on three doubles in the second inning. Sophomore Chaley Brickey led off the frame with a double and advanced to third base on a passed ball. Freshman Harli Ridling doubled to right field allowing Brickey to come home and then Hatfield traded places with Ridling with a double of her own as Kansas led 7-0.
Kansas’ offense chased Wichita State’s starter Kaitlyn Malone out of the ball game after just one and a third innings pitched. She gave up six hits, seven runs and two earned runs.
After giving up a hit in the first inning, sophomore pitcher Kelsey Kessler settled into a groove and sat the down the batters in order in the second inning. She opened the game by throwing four scoreless innings before the Shockers were able to get a run across.
In the fifth inning, Ali Vandever put the Shockers on the board with a single to left centerfield spoiling Kessler’s shutout. Kessler struck out five WSU batters en route to her 17th victory in the circle this season. She gave up six hits in six scoreless innings of work and allowed one earned run.
Wichita State brought in Sloan Anderson in relief. She was able to silence Kansas’ offense for four innings before
the Jayhawks scored three more runs in the seventh frame. Anderson hurled five and two-thirds innings striking out two and surrendering three hits.
Offensively, Hatfield drove in two runs, but it was her defensive efforts that got the Jayhawk bench fired up. She made back-to-back diving plays in right field keeping the bases empty in the sixth inning.
In the seventh inning, Naudin got the Jayhawk bats going again with a double. Freshman Lily Behrmann pinch hit and moved Naudin over with a single, her first hit since returning to the lineup. Freshman Taylor McElhaney recorded a base hit allowing Naudin to score. Jones drove in the final two Jayhawk runs with her second base hit of the night as KU took at 10-1 lead into the bottom half of the seventh inning.
Kessler and the Kansas defense sat the WSU batters down in order in the final frame to seal the win, 10-1.
Kansas hits the road for its first Big 12 road trip at No. 15 Oklahoma April 4-6. The series begins on Friday, April 4 at 6 p.m. at the OU Softball Complex.
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