Leading 5-1 in the fifth inning, it looked as if it would be an easy victory for the Kansas softball team. But sure enough, a resilient Baker University bunch notched a pair of runs to tighten up the Jayhawk advantage.
KU eventually pushed back and recorded three runs of their own, following the mid-game scare to win at Arrocha Ballpark 8-3 Wednesday.
The Jayhawks were slow out of the gate, as they were held scoreless in the first two innings. However, freshman right-handed pitcher Olivia Bruno kept Kansas in the game with two shutout innings and a strikeout for the Jayhawks defense.
In the bottom of the third, Kansas’ bats heated up. Senior outfielder Macy Omli started the Jayhawks off with a single, and later scored off a double by junior Shayna Espy.
Another hit and a walk had Kansas with the bases loaded as redshirt senior catcher Shelby Gayre stood at the plate. Gayre brought in two more with a single to right field, and the Jayhawks scored two more runners to top off a five run inning.
The third inning also brought a pitching change, as coach Jennifer McFalls decided to put sophomore left-hander Kasey Hamilton in the circle. In other games this year, McFalls had rotated pitchers every three innings, but Bruno got taken out earlier than normal.
Hamilton came in firing as she rattled off three straight strikeouts to end the inning for the Jayhawks.
After a scoreless fourth for both teams, Baker got its first run of the game in the fifth, after a single into right field. The Jayhawks came out in the bottom of the inning and had the bases loaded, but could not convert any runs, leaving all three stranded on base.
The sixth inning came with another pitching change for Kansas, as freshman right-hander Katie Brooks took the mound.
Early struggles for Brooks led to a huge triple scoring to runners from Baker, giving them three total runs, the most the Jayhawks have given up so far this season. The bottom of the sixth was another missed opportunity for Kansas, as they had some base running errors and ended up scoreless.
Kansas had their backs against the wall for the first time all season, as the Jayhawks tried to hold on to their lead against the Baker team. The Jayhawks responded well to the adversity and held the Wildcats scoreless in the final inning of the game. Kansas then went on to score three more runs in the bottom of the seventh, and finished strong in an 8-3 victory.
Kansas softball returns after this hard fought game to take on Butler Community College on Thursday, Oct. 14 for the final game of the fall season.