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PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico – Kansas Softball went 1-1 on Friday in the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge, falling to Sacramento State 5-1 in the opener, before rallying to beat Liberty, 4-3.
GAME ONEIn the first game of the day, the Jayhawks fell short against Sacramento State. The Hornets got on the board first, scoring a run in bottom of first. With runners on second and third, Sacramento State hit a single to center, taking home one run.
Both teams would be goalless until the fourth. After a double by junior catcher Lyric Moore, freshman fielder Hailey Cripe singled down the left field line to put Kansas on the board, tying the game at 1-1.
Sacramento State opened the game by scoring four runs in the top of the fifth. After back-to-back singles by the Hornets, Sacramento State hit a double, scoring a run and advancing runner from first to third. After a walk and an error in the field loaded the bases and scored another run, the Hornets hit a two-run single, scoring runners on second and third to make the score 5–1. Neither team was able to get another runner to home plate.
Junior pitcher Savanna DesRochers started for the Jayhawks, giving up three runs and walking four batters. Moore and senior catcher Jordan Richards were able to pick up the only hits for Kansas.
GAME TWOKansas was able to bounce back in the nightcap, beating Liberty 4–3 after a walkout single by senior shortstop Haleigh Harper.
Liberty got on the board in the first inning, after tripling to right center and striking out a runner from first. Kansas answered in the second, after second year first baseman Olivia Bruno hit a solo home run, her third of the season, to make the game 1-1.
Both teams remained scoreless in the third, but got back on the board in the fourth. With runners on first and second, the Eagles hit a deep single to center, building a 3–1 lead. After Moore singled to left field and reached second on a fielding error by left fielder, Cripe hit his first career home run, a two-run shot that tied the game at three. Kansas was able to hold Liberty scoreless for the remainder of the game as freshman relief pitcher Lizzy Ludwig pitched three innings, striking out two batters and giving up three hits.
In the bottom of the seventh, Bruno singled to left center, putting up a runner for Kansas. Junior pinch runner Angela Price ran to second on a sacrifice bunt by freshman second baseman Emma Tatum. Harper then moved into the clutch with her second hit of the night, which brought Price home for the overall win.
“We’re just working on the consistency piece,” said head coach Jennifer McFalls. “On a day like this, we had 14 innings to play. We have to figure out how to start hot and finish hot every time we enter the pitch. We were a completely different team in the second game. It was amazing and great to see some players, like Haleigh Harper, make the changes she needed, and Olivia Bruno leading us with a base hit in the seventh. We get Angela Price in second on a sacrifice bunt by freshman Emma Tatum, who hasn’t played much. Then, finally, Harper came along and finally got the success she was looking for. It has been so nice to finally see it all come together and we will continue to be consistent with that.
NEXT Kansas will wrap up its play in the Puerto Vallarta college challenger tomorrow night when they face Ole Miss at 8:30 PM CT.