Kansas captures Carolina Classic title
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Kansas softball closed an undefeated weekend with a 6-1 victory over Elon in the at the Carolina Classic title game on Sunday at Anderson Stadium. The Jayhawks complete a clean sweep of Elon, North Carolina and Harvard during the event to improve to 16-3 on the season.
In a rematch of Friday’s extra-inning win over Elon, Kansas used a six-run second inning to take a commanding lead over the Phoenix as freshman utility player Tarin Travieso (2-0) earned her second-straight victory in the circle.
Senior starting pitcher Sarah Miller tweaked her arm after one pitch, a called strike, and Travieso entered in relief with a 0-1 count against Elon’s leadoff batter. Travieso went on to throw 7.0 innings with five strikeouts and allowed just one run. At the plate, Travieso went 1-for-3 with one run scored.
“Tarin was put in a tough spot to start a game, but she was ready from her first pitch to her last,” Kansas head coach Megan Smith said. “She was so impressive in the circle today. Her pitches are working well and it was big for her to be able to step in and do that for our team.”
Kansas got its bats going in the bottom of the second inning as senior catcher Harli Ridling and Travieso led off the frame with back-to-back singles. Freshman shortstop Shelby Gayre was hit by a pitch to load the bases for senior outfielder Mikayla Warren.
Warren produced KU’s first run of the day by taking a full-count pitch to draw a walk with the bases loaded, giving KU a 1-0 lead.
“The biggest at-bat of the game was Mikayla’s at-bat,” Smith said. “That was huge. She worked the pitcher and had enough discipline to lay off. That was the biggest at-bat of the game.”
Warren’s walk opened the flood gates in the second as it became the first of three-straight run-producing at-bats for the Jayhawks. Freshman centerfielder Brittany Jackson cleared the bases with a triple down the right field line, followed by sophomore infielder Sam Dellinger’s first home run as a Jayhawk to give KU a 6-0 lead.
Elon answered with a run in the top of the third inning after back-to-back singles. KU’s defense would bend, but not break as the Phoenix left the bases loaded later in the fifth inning. Travieso retired six of her last seven batters faced to clinch the victory for the Jayhawks.
“This weekend we played as a team,” Smith concluded. “Everyone contributed. All of our pitchers. All of our hitters. It was a total team effort all weekend. That is something to be proud of.”
Kansas returns home to host the Kansas Invitational, March 8-11, at Rock Chalk Park with UMKC, Northern Iowa, Nebraska, Green Bay and Tulsa.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.