Kansas Bounces Back, Downs Jacksonville, 9-0
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The combination of a stellar outing in the circle and a powerful offense lifted Kansas past Jacksonville, 9-0, in five innings on Friday evening.
The shortened contest marks the first run-rule game for the Jayhawks this season and the shutout victory improves KU to 1-1 on the season. After starting the 2016 campaign off slow in the first game of the year, Kansas’ offense proved just how powerful it is, recording nine hits, including two home runs.
“In the first game we played a really good team and a good pitcher, who threw an extremely good game,” said head coach Megan Smith. “It was our first game of the year and we had some bright spots, but didn’t quite put it all together. We came back this last game and everything came together, our offense was in an attack mindset, in the first game not so much. Our mindset was more aggressive in the second game and that’s how we want to be.”
Sophomore infielder Daniella Chavez nearly launched her first grand slam of the year, but just missed the fence by inches. The Crowley, Texas native ended the night 3-for-3 with three RBIs, while fellow sophomore Jessie Roane recorded one of two KU long balls for three RBIs.
“Jessie and Daniella had great freshmen seasons, sophomore year is tough because the book is out on you,” Smith said of Roane and Chavez. “People have a better idea of what to throw you, but overall both of them looked really good. Jessie had a great day all together and Daniella was perfect in the second game in terms of her at-bats. They are big time offensive players for us and we need them to keep that mindset and attacking.”
While the offense struck early and often, sophomore transfer Andie Formby made a name for herself in the circle. The Orange, California native got the starting nod and controlled the game from the beginning. Formby sat down the first 12 batters she faced in order and was one out away from her first career no-hitter when Jacksonville posted its first hit of the night.
“Andie was really sharp tonight,” said Smith. “When you watch her in the circle, she is very poised, composed and confident. She was phenomenal, hitting her spots and moving the ball well. She was locked in and focused, which I love about her. You always know with Andie you’re going to get 100 percent effort and focus, and we certainly got that tonight.”
The Dolphins lone hit was a single up the middle, and all though the no-hitter was ruined, it wouldn’t take away from the performance Formby had in the circle. In her one-hit effort, Formby struck out four batters in five scoreless innings.
Senior infielder Chaley Brickey opened the game with her 105th career base on balls, which is four away from setting a new all-time Kansas walk record. Chavez brought Brickey home for the first run of the night with a RBI single to right field. Chavez’s first RBI of the evening gave Kansas the lead, 1-0. The Jayhawks doubled their advantage in the next inning after Roane crossed home plate on a fielder’s choice.
In the third inning, Behrmann extended KU’s lead after hitting a solo home run well over the right field fence. Behrmann’s first long ball of 2016 increased the Jayhawks advantage, 3-0.
“Lily is a dynamic offensive player for us,” Smith said. “She’s got speed and power. I felt that she was a little out of sync today for a little while and then the home run. It was a good moment for her. That’s what she is going to do for us, she’s clutch and has good at-bats. It’s certainly nice to have her back in the lineup.”
Kansas’ offense put the game out of reach with six more runs in the fifth inning. Chavez started off the late-inning offensive surge with a two-RBI single that was nearly a grand slam. Brickey scored her second run of the night on a wild pitch, as Kansas pulled ahead, 6-0. Roane capped off the scoring frenzy with a three-run shot over the fence, as Kansas recorded its first win of the year, 9-0, over Jacksonville.
The Jayhawks continue the River City Leadoff on Saturday, Feb. 13 with a doubleheader against Coastal Carolina and UNC-Greensboro, starting at 9 a.m. CT.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.