Brickey’s Bomb Keys Kansas’ Rout of USF, 9-3

Harli Ridling drove home three runs on a 2-for-3 effort, including her third home run of the season.
Kansas 9, South Florida 3
USF Softball Stadium // Tampa, Fla.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
KU 3 0 2 0 0 1 3 9 9 1
USF 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3 7 1

Box Score (.pdf)

Batting Leaders
C. Brickey 3 3 3 3 1 1
H. Ridling 3 1 2 3 0 1
South Florida
K. Wycoff 2 1 1 0 1 0
K. Claudio 1 0 1 1 1 0
Kansas IP H R ER BB SO
A. Pille (W, 4-2) 6.2 7 3 3 2 4
K. Kessler 0.1 0 0 0 0 0
South Florida
S. Nevins (L, 9-4) 0.0 3 3 3 0 0
E. Nunn 6.0 2 3 3 3 9
K. Claudio 0.1 2 1 0 0 0
S. Greiner 0.2 2 2 2 1 0

TAMPA, Fla. – Sophomore shortstop Chaley Brickey launched the eighth pitch of her first-inning at bat beyond the centerfield wall for a three-run home run, her first of three hits in the game, that energized the Kansas offense in a 9-3 win over host South Florida in the Under Armour Showcase at the USF Softball Stadium Friday.
“Chaley is seeing the ball really well right now,” head coach Megan Smith said. “She has gotten better and better every weekend and she is just a force up at the plate.”
The Jayhawks improved to 12-7 on the season and scored nine unanswered runs to open the game.  After Brickey drove home Ashley Newman and Lily Behrmann, who each singled, with her first inning home run, Kansas added two more runs in the third when Harli Ridling put a pitch on the roof of the indoor hitting facility beyond the leftfield wall. The two-run blast also plated Brickey.
“Offensively we were locked in at the beginning and had a lot of intensity at the plate and got really good at bats,” Smith said. “The difference in this game was that we kept putting pressure on them which was good to see our offense do.”
The home runs were both Brickey’s and Ridling’s third of the season, respectively. Brickey and Ridling combined for six RBI in the game with three apiece. USF starting pitcher Sara Nevins, who fell to 9-4 overall, was chased in the first inning by Brickey after allowing hits to all three of the Jayhawk batters she faced.
“We have to get ready to face elite pitching for our conference,” Smith said. “It was really good to see our hitters attack really good pitchers today. Nevins is one of the best in the game and for us to come out and knock her out in the first inning, that doesn’t happen a lot. That was good for me to see and gives our offense confidence moving forward.”
Leading 5-0, Kansas tacked on another run in the sixth inning. Ridling opened the frame by reaching base on a fielding error by the USF shortstop. Chanin Naudin made the Bulls pay for their mistake with a single to centerfield to drive home the game’s sixth run.
The Jayhawks added three more insurance runs in the top of the seventh in an inning full of tomfoolery. After a one-out walk to Behrmann, Brickey and Maddie Stein each singled to load the bases. This is when the game lost some style points. In three of the next four plate appearances in the inning by the Jayhawks, Ridling was hit by a pitch, Kylee Kennedy walked and Taylor McElhaney was hit by a pitch to each drive three more runs home without a single ball put in play and a 9-0 KU advantage.
The craziness carried over into the bottom of the frame too, after Kansas starting pitcher Alicia Pille plowed through the USF lineup for the game’s first six innings only allowing four base hits while working on a shutout.  However the last three outs weren’t as easy. The Bulls sent nine batters to the plate in the final inning and scored three runs on four hits. The bases were left loaded for USF, as Kelsey Kessler came on in relief of Pille to record the game’s final out.
Pille (4-2) earned the win after throwing six and two-thirds innings, allowing seven hits, three runs and two walks, while striking out four.
“Pille was phenomenal through the first six (innings),” Smith said. “That is a really, really good offensive team and a good overall team and I thought she handled them really well. She was very confident and poised, and just lost a little focus in the last inning.”
Kansas will play the remainder of the tournament games in Clearwater starting Saturday at 12:45 p.m. CT, when the Jayhawks face St. John’s. KU will also play Utah on Saturday immediately after the St. John’s game. The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.