GREENVILLE, S.C. – Eight runs on seven hits in the top of the third highlighted the Kansas offense’s grand reentrance as the Jayhawks claimed a lopsided 11-1 victory in five innings for the series win over Furman Sunday morning at the Pepsi Softball Stadium.
Kansas (26-11, 3-3) responded loudly from the day one’s performance against Furman (22-18, 7-7). Four doubles and a home run accounted for a large portion of the Jayhawks’ 13 hits as KU handed Furman just its second run-rule of the year. It also marked the first time this season the Paladins surrendered double-digit runs.
“We challenged them last night after a really flat day yesterday and they responded really well,” head coach Megan Smith said. “We challenged them to come out with more energy, and you can see the results when we come out and play that way.
Sophomore third baseman Chanin Naudin drilled a two-run home run in the top of the first to set the tone as the Jayhawks poured on the offense in the series finale, scoring in each of the first three innings – including a game-changing eight spot in the top of the third.
After missing the first two games of the series due to injury, freshman Chaley Brickey rattled off a 2-for-2 day with a walk and two RBIs. Seniors Mariah Montgomery and Maggie Hull resumed their race for KU’s RBI lead. Each racked up a double, two hits and two runs scored. Montgomery drove in two runs to move to 129 career RBIs, while Hull brought home run to bring her to 133 – just three shy of breaking the record (Liz Kocon, 135).
Junior second baseman Ashley Newman churned out her fourth three-hit game of the season and stole her ninth base of the year to show off her speed.
Although her offense gave her plenty of support, sophomore Alicia Pille (10-6) didn’t need much. An unearned run in the bottom of the first marked the only blemish on Pille’s line as she struck out 10 and walked none in her complete game effort.
“She had a great day and a good weekend,” Smith said. “We saw her really being sharp with her pitches and moved the ball well. Her change-up looked great today. I was really excited about her performance all weekend.”
Armed with a 3-1 lead heading into the third, Kansas broke the game open by sending 13 batters to the plate in the inning. When the dust cleared, KU had scored eight runs on seven hits. Eight-consecutive Jayhawks reached base, while Brickey collected both hits and both RBIs in the dominant frame.
Up 11-1, Pille sat two down on strikes in the fourth and struck out the side in the fifth to end the game.
Kansas is on the road for another non-conference matchup on Wednesday, April 17. The Jayhawks will travel to Lincoln, Neb., to take on No. 22/18 Nebraska at 6 p.m.