Home runs power Kansas past Alabama A&M, 5-1

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BEAUMONT, Texas – Sophomore pitcher Alexis Reid pitched her third complete game of the weekend for Kansas softball while junior Jessie Roane and senior Lily Behrmann each hit home runs and drove in two runners as the Jayhawks topped the Alabama A&M Bulldogs 5-1 on Sunday afternoon in the Cardinal Classic hosted by Lamar University.
A leadoff single for Alabama A&M (4-11) to open the ballgame was brought around to score with a sacrifice bunt and a two-out single, giving the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead after the game’s first half inning of play.
The Jayhawks (10-5) answered right back with two runs in the home half of the opening frame, recording two hits and taking advantage of an Alabama A&M error and wild pitch.
Behrmann led off the bottom of the first for the Jayhawks with a single up the middle of the infield and freshman Madison Sykes laid down a sacrifice bunt to move her over, but the error allowed her on board and moved Behrmann to third to put runners at the corners.
Following a ground out by junior center fielder Erin McGinley, the Jayhawks moved both runners up on the wild pitch to tie the ballgame at one. Later in the at bat they were able to take the lead as Roane poked a ball out into shallow right field to make the score 2-1.
Alabama A&M moved a runner into scoring position in the second inning after an error by Reid and a walk batter, but the Jayhawks were able to get out of the inning unscathed to maintain the one-run lead.
Neither team was able to produce a baserunner from the bottom of the second through the top of the fourth. Junior Harli Ridling singled up the middle with one out in the home half of the fourth to end the hitless span. Senior Taylor Dodson walked to put two on for the Jayhawks, but a ground out from junior Annie Mehringer ended the Kansas attack.
The Bulldogs threatened in the top of the fifth despite Reid striking out the first two batters of the inning. A grounder hit back to the sophomore pitcher was thrown away from freshman Becki Monaghan and the runner reached on the throwing error by Reid. Alabama A&M added another baserunner with a single through the right side of the infield, but Reid settled back in and induced a pop up to get out of the inning.
Kansas came alive in the bottom of the fifth inning to pull away from the Bulldogs with the home runs from Behrmann and Roane. Behrmann’s shot was a two-run blast to center field, driving in senior shortstop Taylor McElhaney, who reached on a single to lead off the inning.
Roane’s home run was a two-out bomb to center, her fifth round-tripper this season to lead the Jayhawks.
Reid allowed three hits in the final two innings, but didn’t give up any runs to finish with a six-hit, one run complete game with four strikeouts, lowering her ERA to 0.90 on the season.
The Jayhawks travel to Orlando, Florida for a six-game stretch, March 2-5. Kansas opens the weekend against Boston College on Thursday, March 2 before facing Purdue, Mercer, Florida International, South Alabama and nationally-ranked James Madison throughout the rest of the weekend.
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