Kansas wins Rock Chalk Challenge finale, 12-4
LAWRENCE, Kan. – In a shortened six-inning game, Kansas softball ended the 2017 Rock Chalk Challenge with a 12-4 run-rule victory over Omaha on Sunday afternoon at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park.
Although the Mavericks struck first with three runs in the top of the opening frame, Kansas stormed back with six runs in the bottom half of the first to take the lead. After the Jayhawks (18-11) took the lead in the first inning, they never looked back and held on to the lead until the walk-off run was scored in the bottom of the sixth.
“We weren’t sharp in the first inning in any way defensively,” said head coach Megan Smith. “We stayed calm and believed that we could come through. And, we did and answered back in a big way in the first inning and went from there.”Senior Lily Behrmann
Senior outfielder Lily Behrmann recorded her second multi-hit effort of the day with two hits. She also led Kansas with a team-high three RBIs. With 16 hits, Kansas had five Jayhawks register multi-hit performances at the plate. Junior infielder Jessie Roane and freshman infielder Becki Monaghan each recorded a team-best three hits.
“The fight, the resolve and the belief was there today,” Smith said. “I challenged them after yesterday’s tough loss to believe that we can. No matter what the score is, we believe we can fight through it and today we had that mentality in both games. It was great to see.”
Sophomore right-hander Alexis Reid earned her fourth start of the weekend. Reid got off to a rough start after the Mavericks scored three runs in the first inning. A single to centerfield brought in the first two runs followed by a rundown between first and second base allowed a third run to cross home plate before the final out was made.
After allowing three runs in the first, Reid settled into a groove in the circle, while the offense went to work. The Jayhawks responded in the next half inning and immediately took the lead after scoring six runs. A pair of home runs from Behrmann and junior outfielder Erin McGinley were responsible for three of KU’s first six runs. After the big opening inning, Reid headed back to the circle with a 6-3 lead behind her.
While Reid continued to put zeros on the scoreboard over the next four innings, the Jayhawks’ offense continued to add run support to the scoreboard too. Kansas brought for more runs home in the second and third inning before Omaha was able to silence KU for two innings. Heading into the sixth inning, Kansas led, 10-3, over the Mavericks.
Omaha ended Reid’s streak of scoreless innings in the top of the sixth. Although Reid gave up a fourth earned run, she improved to 10-5 on the season with the victory in the circle. She struck out three, while giving up nine hits and no walks.
In the bottom of the sixth, sophomore outfielder Jennifer Marwitz pinch hit for the Jayhawks and doubled to centerfield, allowing KU’s 11th run of the game to score. The final run of the game crossed home plate on an error, as Kansas defeated Omaha, 12-4, for a Sunday sweep.
Kansas travels to SIU-Edwardsville for a midweek matchup on Wednesday, March 22 at 6 p.m. The game will air on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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