KU softball cruised through yet another weekend tournament, this time their own Jayhawk Invitational, and pushed their season record to 24-2.
Friday, March 13 - Kansas 5, Northern Colorado 0
Kansas softball played their first-ever game at brand-new Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park, shutting out the visitors from Greeley, CO behind the arm of staff ace Alicia Pille. The game started off as a bit of a pitcher's duel. While NCU couldn't get anything going offensively, the Kansas offense put runners on early and often but didn't strike paydirt until the bottom of the fifth inning. Through the first three innings, KU stranded 7 runners. KU was led offensively by DH Daniella Chavez (2/3, BB, R, 2 RBI) and SS Chaley Brickey (2/3, RBI). SP Alicia Pille (7.0 IP, 3 H, 11 K) went the distance, picking up her 13th win of the year and set a season-high for strikeouts.
Saturday, March 14 - Kansas 10, Idaho State 2 (5 innings)
KU bats kept the party rolling on Saturday, putting up 14 hits in a run-rule shortened game and bludgeoning Idaho State into submission. Four Jayhawks had multi-hit games, led by SS Chaley Brickey (3/3, 2 RBI, 2 R). 3B Chanin Naudin (1/2, HR, 3 RBI, R) hit the first home run in Arrocha Ballpark during the game. SP Alicia Pille (5.0, 4 H, 2 BB, 2 R, 2 K) picked up her 14th win of the year, moving her record to 14-0.
Sunday, March 15 - Kansas 5, Nebraska-Omaha 4
KU saved the best game for last - literally. Down 4-1 in the bottom of the 7th inning with two outs and bases loaded, 1B Maddie Stein stepped into the Quantum Leap Accelerator - and vanished. Nah, actually all she did was hit a game-winning, walk-off grand slam home run. The Slam by Stein was the eighth(!!!!) Slam for the softball Jayhawks so far this year. Offensively, the Jayhawks were led by Stein (2/4, HR, 4 RBI, R) and RF Lily Behrmann (2/3, RBI, 2 R). SP Alicia Pille (5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 3 R, 8 K) started her third game in a row but left after the fifth innin with a no-decision. Pille threw 17 IP, allowing only three earned runs while striking out 21 over the weekend.
Said Coach Megan Smith of her Jayhawks, "If you've watched us play at all this year, you know we are fighters. I told the team before the season for us to win games this year, we're going to have to fight and claw every single pitch to be able to come out with wins. We had to work together today to do it and our pitching staff showed that. The pitchers worked together to do well, defense was very solid and our offense worked together. In the end, it worked out and that's what is going to happen with us, we are going to keep fighting until the end. You can't think you've won a game against us because we are going to keep fighting."
The Jayhawks have a midweek game at Arrocha Ballpark on Tuesday afternoon, March 17, vs Indiana State at 3 PM. Following that, KU will host the Rock Chalk Challenge Tournament which features the Screamin' Eagles of Eastern Michigan, UMKC, and two games against Georgia State.
You can catch all KU softball games (home and away) on the Jayhawk Radio Network.