LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas softball blasted three home runs on Sunday afternoon in its 9-0 win over Highland Community College at Arrocha Ballpark. The Jayhawks finished the fall slate 7-1.
Junior Maddie Stein got the Jayhawk offense going with a three-run home run, while freshman Taylor Dodson hit two solo shots over the left field fence. KU tallied 13 hits including the three home runs.
Dodson finished the game 3-for-4 at the plate. Senior Ashley Newman also had a productive day in the batter’s box with a 3-for-4 performance. Freshman Lily Behrmann was the third Jayhawk to record a multi-hit game after going 2-for-4 against Highland.
“Offensively, we looked really strong today,” said head coach Megan Smith. “We’ve been talking to the team about working together as an offense, stringing together hits and moving runners. I thought we did well with that today. We also got some big hits, which was nice to see. Today was our most complete game offensively we’ve had this fall.”
Sophomore Kelsey Kessler started in the circle and dealt 12 strikeouts in her fourth win of the fall. Kessler struck out the side in the first, second and fourth innings. She limited the Scotties to one hit and gave up two walks in her nearly perfect performance.
“She has been impressive this fall,” Smith said of Kessler’s performance in the circle. “She finished last year strong and we wanted her to come in where she left off. Her mindset and pose in the circle has been great. She has been dominant this fall and we’re looking for her to be a big part of our success this spring.”
Kessler has recorded four shutouts this fall and has allowed only one run to score in her five starts.
In the first inning, the Jayhawks got on the scoreboard with Stein’s first home run of the fall the season. Her three-run shot over the right field fence gave Kansas a 3-0 advantage.
The Jayhawks scored three more runs an inning later. Dodson led off the bottom of the second inning with a solo shot to left field. Behrmann drove in a run and KU capitalized on a Scottie error to plate a third run. Kansas headed into the third inning with a 6-0 lead.
Dodson hit her second home run of the day in the fifth inning. Behrmann recorded her second RBI with a double to left center as the Jayhawks increased their lead to 8-0 over the Scotties.
In the sixth inning, Kansas scored its last run as the Highlander’s third baseman lost the ball in the sun.
Junior Beth Wilson worked two innings of relief in the circle. She collected two strike outs and tossed two hitless innings.
“I thought Beth looked great today,” Smith said. “She hasn’t gotten a ton of innings, but coach Sims has been working really hard with her and I thought she came in and looked great today. It’s the best I’ve seen her all fall. She was going right at hitters, moving the ball well and her change up looked good.”
The Jayhawks ended the fall season 7-1 and winning their final two games. In eight games, KU has outscored opponents 57-3.
“We challenged the team to show what type of team we will be in the spring,” said Smith. “We will be a team that is fun to watch, fun to play and works really hard. Today that showed, so I was proud of the energy level.”