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PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico – Kansas Softball went 1-1 on Friday at the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge, falling to Sacramento State 5-1 in the opener, before rallying back to beat Liberty, 4-3.
In the first game of the day, the Jayhawks fell short against Sacramento State. The Hornets got on the board first, scoring one run in the bottom of the first. With runners on second and third, Sacramento State hit a single up the middle, bringing home one run.
Both teams would be scoreless until the fourth. After a double from junior catcher Lyric Moore, freshman outfielder Hailey Cripe singled down the left field line to put Kansas on the board, tying the game at 1-1.
Sacramento State broke the game open by scoring four runs in the top of the fifth. After back-to-back singles from the Hornets, Sacramento State hit a double, scoring one run and advancing the runner on first to third. After a walk and a fielding error loaded the bases and scored another run the Hornets hit a two-run single, scoring the runners on second and third to make the score 5-1. Neither team was able to bring another runner across home plate.
Junior pitcher Savanna DesRochers got the start for the Jayhawks, giving up three runs and walking four batters. Moore and senior catcher Jordan Richards were able to gather the only hits for Kansas.
Kansas was able to bounce back in the night cap, beating Liberty 4-3 after a walk-off single from senior shortstop Haleigh Harper.
Liberty got on the board in the first inning, after tripling to right center and scoring a runner fromfirst. Kansas responded in the second, after sophomore first baseman Olivia Bruno hit a solo home run, her third of the season, to knot the game at 1-1.
Both teams were kept 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, gaining a 3-1 lead. After Moore singled to left and reached second on a fielding error by the left fielder, Cripe hit her first career home run, a two-run shot which tied the game at three. Kansas was able to hold Liberty scoreless the rest of the game as freshman relief pitcher Lizzy Ludwig threw three innings, striking out two batters and giving up three hits.
In the bottom of the seventh, Bruno singled to left center, putting a runner on for Kansas. Junior pinch runner Angela Price reached second following a sacrifice bunt by freshman second baseman Emma Tatum. Harper then came through in the clutch with her second hit of the night, which advanced Price home for the walk-off win.
“We’re just working on the consistency piece,” said Head Coach Jennifer McFalls. “On a day like today, we had 14 innings to play. We have to figure out how we start hot and finish hot every time we step out onto the field. We were a completely different team in game two. It was amazing and awesome to see some players, like Haleigh Harper, make the adjustment she needed to, and Olivia Bruno leading us off with a base hit in the seventh. We get Angela Price to second off of a sacrifice bunt from freshman Emma Tatum, who hasn’t played a lot. Then, Harper coming through in the end and finally got the hit she was looking for. It felt so good to finally see it all come together, and we’ll continue to be consistent with that.
Kansas will conclude its play in the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge tomorrow night when it faces Ole Miss at 8:30 p.m. CT.