Kansas Blasts Past Cyclones in Series Opener, 11-4
AMES, Iowa – Kansas’ potent offense returned to the plate producing a pair of three-run home runs and four extra-base hits as the Jayhawks opened the series over Iowa State with an 11-4 victory on Friday evening at the Cyclone Sports Complex.
The Jayhawks’ (36-13, 6-10 Big 12) offensive burst was highlighted by home runs from freshman designated player Daniella Chavez and senior third baseman Chanin Naudin, which accounted for six of 11 Kansas runs. While powerful at the plate, KU was also patient in the batter’s box and collected 12 walks, one shy of its single-game record of 13 base on balls.
“The last two weeks, we’ve faced the two best pitching staffs in the conference and our offense wasn’t as potent as we wished,” said head coach Megan Smith. “But, today we stuck to the game plan, worked the pitcher really well and came up with clutch hits. So, I am really pleased with our offensive performance.”
Chavez, a product of Crowley, Texas, led the roster with four RBIs against the Cyclones (26-26, 3-13). On the season, Chavez has registered 58 RBIs, which is four away from a new Kansas single-season record. Serena Settlemier currently holds the single-season RBI mark of 61, which she accomplished during the 2006 season. Chavez leads the squad with 18 multi-RBI performances, including five games with four or more RBIs.
“Daniella (Chavez) was great today and came up with some clutch hits,” said Smith. “Every time she steps into the box we feel like she’s going to do something really good for us. All season she has been clutch. She’s not a typical freshman, she steps into the box with confidence and poise, which is so impressive to see. She can have a horrible at-bat and come out in the next at-bat to change the game for us, which is what she did today. I was really proud of her performance and demeanor in the box. I am really excited that we get her for another three years.”
It was a one-run ballgame through the first two frames with each program taking a turn with the lead on the scoreboard. Freshman catcher Jessie Roane’s single to centerfield in the first inning plated a run, giving the Jayhawks their first advantage of the day.
In the second inning, ISU centerfielder Brittany Gomez evened the score, 1-1, after her RBI single drove in the first Cyclone run. Iowa State continued the second frame by scoring the go ahead run and took its only lead of the game, 2-1.
In the third inning, Kansas’ home run fun began, but not before two Jayhawks reached base. Junior Chaley Brickey led off the frame with her second walk of the game. Brickey has collected 97 career walk, 30 this season, and needs 12 more to set a new all-time KU record. Senior Maddie Stein advanced Brickey with a single, her first of two base knocks. With two runners on base, Naudin stepped to the plate and regained the lead, 4-2, for the Jayhawks with her eighth long ball of 2015.
Kansas extended the third by loading the bases after Naudin’s home run, which sophomore second baseman Taylor McElhaney took advantage of with a walk. McElhaney’s walk brought home another KU run, increasing KU’s lead, 5-2.
In the bottom half of the third, senior hurler Alicia Pille and the Jayhawk defense put another zero on the board. Pille tossed her Big 12-leading 20th complete game of the year and surrendered only two earned runs, while scattering six hits. Pille improved to 22-6 in the circle with the win.
“It’s tough at the end of the year to come out and throw seven innings against teams in our conference,” Smith said of Pille’s performance. “She was poised and our offense gave her breathing room. She did a really good job of attacking batters and she did a good job of mixing speeds with her pitches. I was really pleased with her fight today and happy to see her do so well this late in the season.”
KU loaded the bases for third time in the fourth inning and Kansas once again to advantage of having a Jayhawk on each base. Junior outfielder Shannon McGinley kept the scoring streak alive after reaching via fielder’s choice and allowed a run to cross plate.
Brickey and Chavez each hit a RBI double in the fifth inning, increasing KU’s lead, 8-2. The pair of runs extended Kansas’ scoring streak to at least one run scored in three-straight innings. The Jayhawks scored at least one run in five of seven frames in the series opener.
After a quiet couple innings for the Cyclones, designated player Aly Cappaert ended the scoring drought for Iowa State. She led off the frame with a solo shot to right field, but the Jayhawks would quiet ISU’s offense before it could gather any more momentum.
With a five run lead, Chavez sealed the victory with Kansas’ second three-run homer in the seventh inning. Chavez’ 13th long ball of 2015 gave the Jayhawks their largest lead of the night, 11-3. Cappaert answered in the bottom of the seventh with her second solo home run, but it was no match for Kansas and the Jayhawks came out on top, 11-4, to start the three-game series.
Stacy Roggentien earned the starting nod for the Cyclones, but was chased out of the circle after two and third innings of work. Roggentien gave up four hits and five runs, while dropping to 12-9 on the season.
Kansas continues its final regular season series of 2015 against Iowa State on Saturday, May 9. First pitch for the second game of the weekend is slated for noon at the Cyclone Sports Complex and will air on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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