Jayhawks Cruise to 15-1 Victory Over Avila
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas’ offense made a statement in the opening innings of its final game of the Fall season by scoring 14 runs in two frames. The early offensive eruption led to a 15-1 victory over Avila on Thursday night at Rock Chalk Park. KU finished its Fall slate with a perfect 7-0 mark.
“I was pleased overall with how we came out offensively and our defense continued to look really good,” said head coach Megan Smith. “Our pitching was a little rusty today, but overall I am very pleased with the fall. I challenged the girls to come back the last two weeks of team practice and work even harder. A lot of the time after fall games, you relax and we can’t do that. We’ve got to keep working hard and pushing the next couple of weeks.”
The Jayhawks once again tallied hits into the double-digits as Kansas outhit the Eagles 14-3. KU collected 12 of those hits in the first two innings of the game. Outfielder Briana Evans went 3-for-3 at the plate with a pair of base knocks and a triple for her second-straight multi-hit game. Senior Maddie Stein also recorded a multi-hit game with a 2-for-2 performance.
Among the 14 hits were a pair of home runs from junior Chaley Brickey and freshman Daniella Chavez. Chavez hit the first long ball, a three-run shot over the right centerfield wall. Brickey launched a grand slam in the second inning over the wall in centerfield. In all, the Jayhawks recorded four extra base hits on the night.
“Chaley (Brickey) and Maddie (Stein) continue to look really good,” Smith said. “They’ve been very consistent for us and I expect that they will be. Shannon McGinley was a bright spot for us this fall. I thought she stepped up and did some big things for us offensively. Daniella Chavez, in the freshman class, is a force at the plate. She has some work to do, but I am very pleased with her this fall. Briana (Evans) has only played in a few games, but adds a ton to the team. She is gifted offensively and has speed. It’s like she has been here three years and it’s been three months.”
KU jumped ahead in the first inning after scoring six runs on eight hits. Stein drove in the first run with a single to right field. Senior Chanin Naudin and sophomore Taylor McElhaney each recorded an RBI with a base hit. Chavez’ home run doubled Kansas’ score and the Jayhawks headed to the second inning with a 6-0 lead.
Senior Alicia Pille earned the starting nod from Smith and sat down three-straight Eagle batters after surrendering a lead-off walk. In the second inning, Pille tossed a 1-2-3 inning recording a pair of strikeouts, her second and third of the outing.
After a quick top of the first, Kansas’ offense came out swinging again. The Jayhawks added eight runs on four hits, including Brickey’s grand slam to centerfield. Chavez drove in her fourth run of the evening after drawing a bases loaded walk. Lily Behrmann and Erin McGinley each plated a run. An Avila error scored the final run as KU’s lead grew, 14-0.
Monique Wesley took the circle for her first appearance this fall in the third inning. She struck out three Eagle batters in two innings of work. In the fourth inning, Avila scored its only run on a base hit to left field.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, sophomore Katelyn Schumacher drew a bases loaded walk to bring home the final Jayhawk run of the night. Schumacher came off the bench and was 1-for-1 at the plate with a double, a walk and a RBI.
Freshman Bryn Houlton took over in the circle for the fifth and final inning of the Fall season. She retired the side without any harm and struck out two of the four batters she faced. Her shutout relief inning sealed the 15-1 win over Avila.
“I am excited to work hard the next two weeks and I am excited for the spring,” said Smith. “I think we have a good group of players. Coach Rittman said to the girls today, ‘You play as a team and have good comradery.’ I see that and it’s a fun thing to see from the team. They are a close-knit group, which is good to see and I am excited to keep working with them.”
After reaching a NCAA Regional in 2014, Kansas looks to repeat in 2015 and go even further into the postseason. The 2015 campaign kicks off in early February.
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