Potent Offense Results in Jayhawk Sweep
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas softball opened the 2014 Fall season with a pair of wins after defeating Washburn, 8-1, and Southern Nazarene, 9-0, on Saturday at Rock Chalk Park. The Jayhawk offense outscored its opponents 17-1, while outhitting the opposition 24-6.
“It was great to step out on the field today in this great facility,” said head coach Megan Smith. “It was special to see our girls out on the field competing for the first time. We’re so thankful for this facility and excited to represent Kansas on such a great field.”
KU recorded four home runs and eight extra base hits in its first two victories of the Fall slate. The Jayhawks trailed by a run in the opening inning of game one, but would take the lead in the next half inning and not fall behind again for the next 10 innings.
“Offensively, we struggled a little bit last year,” Smith said. “We found ways to get it done, but it wasn’t dynamic. Today, I thought we showed some spurts of a dynamic offense with power and extra base hits. Offensively, we have a lot to look forward to.”
While Kansas’ high-powered offense highlighted the opening day of the Kansas Fall Invitational, the Jayhawk pitchers were also successful after allowing only one run, a solo home run, in 10 innings pitched. The KU pitching staff combined for four strikeouts and limited its opponents to six hits.
“Overall, our effort was great today,” said Smith. “We saw some really good things from our defense and we had some new players do some great things out there. Daniella (Chavez) did awesome at the plate. She is a force at the plate, which she showed today. Our pitching did well today too. Beth (Wilson) stepped up and looked really solid. (Alicia) Pille always looks solid and she continued to look that way.”
In the opening game, Washburn lead off the opening frame with a solo shot over the right field fence to take an early, 1-0, lead. After giving up the leadoff homer, freshman Bryn Houlton settled down and threw three shutout innings in her first appearance of the fall season. Houlton struck out one and allowed only three hits in her four-inning outing. The opening at-bat that resulted in a home run would be the only run allowed by the Jayhawks.
Sophomore Lily Behrmann knotted the game up 1-1 after hitting a home run of her own, which was the first of three Jayhawk long balls in the first game. A RBI double to right field from senior Maddie Stein gave KU the lead, an advantage the Jayhawks wouldn’t surrender for the remainder of the game.
In the second inning, freshman Daniella Chavez adding to the Kansas lead driving a run in as she was tagged out at first base. An error in the third inning increased KU’s lead to 4-1.
Senior Beth Wilson took over in the circle in the fifth inning and tossed two shutout innings of relief. She struck out one batter in her scoreless outing. She sat the batters down in order in the top of the fifth and allowed only one Ichabod to reach base, which was erased after freshman catcher Jessie Roane caught the runner stealing at second base.
Kansas’ offense erupted in the final inning of the game as four runs crossed home plate on two home runs. Chavez hit the first two-run home run to dead centerfield and junior Chaley Brickey hit another two-run long ball to left field to end the game. KU defeated Washburn, 8-1, in the debut game of the fall tournament.
In the second game of the day, Stein put the Jayhawks on the board first with a two-RBI single up the middle in the first inning. Stein ended the day with three hits, six RBIs and a walk.
In the second inning, Kansas’ offense added four runs on four hits increasing its lead to 6-0 over Southern Nazarene. Stein hit a home run over the right field fence plating three-of-four KU runs in the second frame.
The Jayhawks tacked on three more runs late in the game to extend their lead to 9-0. Roane drove in a run in the third inning, while Chanin Naudin and Katelyn Schumacher each drove in a run with an extra base hit in the fourth inning.
Senior pitcher Alicia Pille threw four scoreless innings and struck out three batters. She limited Southern Nazarene to just three hits. Sophomore Sophia Templin entered the circle in the fifth inning and tossed one hitless inning in relief as Kansas shutout Southern Nazarene, 9-0.
The Jayhawks conclude the two-day Kansas Fall Invitational on Sunday, Oct. 5 with games against Butler and Labette at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., respectively, at Rock Chalk Park.
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