LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas softball opened the KU Fall Invitational with a 3-0 win over Washburn University on Saturday night at Arrocha Ballpark. Sophomore Kelsey Kessler and junior Alicia Pille combined for 11 strikeouts en route to the combined shutout over the Lady Blues.
“It’s good to see the team out there against someone else,” said head coach Megan Smith. “It was a good game. Our defense and pitching looked real strong. Kelsey (Kessler) and (Alicia) Pille both looked really good. They handled the Washburn offense well.”
Kessler, a 2013 second-team All-Big 12 selection, struck out eight batters in six innings of work and limited Washburn to three hits. She struck out the side in the third and fourth innings.
Pille took over in the circle in the sixth inning and threw two hitless relief innings. She tallied three strikeouts.
The Jayhawks offense was powered by junior Chanin Naudin and freshman Taylor Dodson. Naudin gave KU the lead in the first inning with a two RBI double to right center field. In 2013, Naudin hit .301 with seven doubles.
“Not a lot of offense tonight, but the offense that we got Chanin looked good and (Taylor) Dodson looked good the entire game,” said Smith. “We have some work to do offensively. I think there were some first game jitters and over anxious tonight.”
Dodson added to the Jayhawks lead in the fourth inning. The freshman from Grove, Okla. smoked a double passed the third baseman down the left field line bringing home fellow freshman Taylor McElhaney.
“Taylor Dodson has crazy power and almost took out the third baseman,” Nadin said. “It was awesome to see freshmen come in and play well.”
Kansas outhit Washburn 6-3. Senior Alex Jones led the way after recording a team-high two hits on Saturday night.
“It was great to see everyone out here and finally play against someone that isn’t us,” said Naudin. “It was good to get out all of the nerves and just do what we do out there.”
The Jayhawks continue the 2013 Kansas Fall Invitational on Sunday, Sept. 29 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.