Kansas, Formby Silence Bluejays, 6-0
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Sophomore right-hander Andie Formby extended her scoreless streak to 26 and two-thirds innings after recording her third-straight complete-game shutout, as Kansas shut out Creighton, 6-0, on Wednesday afternoon at the Creighton Sports Complex.
In her last five outings, Formby has put zeroes on the scoreboard totaling nearly 27-straight scoreless innings of work in the circle. The Orange, California product struck out seven Creighton batters, marking the third occasion this season Formby has struck out seven or more batters.
“That’s hard to do, throw that many scoreless innings against such good teams that we’ve been playing,” said head coach Megan Smith. “Today she was sharp from the beginning and it’s really fun to watch her work right now because you can tell she is in the zone.”
Formby surrendered one-hit in her fourth complete-game shutout of 2016. After throwing seven scoreless innings, Formby’s ERA dropped to 1.55 on the year and her strikeout count reached 63. Formby improved to 8-1 on the season with the victory in the circle.
“She’s confident and knows if the ball is hit her defense is going to have her back,” Smith said of Formby’s confidence in KU’s defense. “I think that makes it a lot easier as a pitcher to feel free and be able to throw your pitches. Our defense has definitely backed her up really well. We did the same thing today and made a lot of really good plays.”
Kansas’ (16-9) offense produced three of six run via home runs after launching two over the fence in left field. Redshirt sophomore catcher Harli Ridling and senior shortstop Chaley Brickey delivered the first three KU runs thanks to homers. Ridling finished the day 2-for-4 with a team-best three RBIs.
“Again, we are getting lots of runners on base and still leaving too many on, but overall today was great,” said Smith. “We continued to apply pressure and had some clutch hits. Harli got things started with a big home run and Chaley followed it up, but I was more proud of the seventh inning because I felt like we had multiple quality at-bats back-to-back. We put a lot of pressure on them and had some good things going on in the seventh.”
Senior outfielder Shannon McGinley drew a leadoff walk to start the game at Creighton. Brickey advanced the runner with the first KU hit of the afternoon, a single up the middle. A fly out moved McGinley 60 feet from home, but the Bluejays stranded a pair of Jayhawks to end the opening inning without harm.
Formby began her 10 start of 2016 by sitting down the first nine batters in order, including three-straight strikeouts in the first three innings.
For the second inning in a row, Kansas saw a pair of base runners reach after back-to-back hit by pitches from junior infielder Taylor McElhaney and senior outfielder Briana Evans in th second, but once again Creighton’s ace Sydnee Eck retired the side before a Jayhawk could cross home plate. KU left a total of seven runners on base, including three in scoring position.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Ridling gave Kansas a 1-0 lead over Creighton with a solo shot over the outfield wall in left field. Ridling is one of nine Jayhawks to record a long ball this season and has launched five over the fence this season.
“Harli had a day today,” Smith said. “She had a complete game. Behind the plate with her defensive double play and offensively she was a highlight for us.”
Following Ridling’s home run, the catcher turned a double play after Formby relinquished the lone hit of the day to the Bluejays. Creighton led off the bottom of the fourth with a single and attempted to bunt the runner over. However, Ridling had another plan as she laid out in foul territory to make the catch. The play didn’t end there, after making the catch, Ridling rolled to her knees and threw to second base as Brickey applied the tag for the double play. Ridling’s defensive effort helped keep Formby’s scoreless streak alive.
Brickey extended KU’s lead in the top of the fifth inning after launching her sixth home run of the season over the fence in left field. Brickey’s two-run homer gave Kansas a 3-0 lead over Creighton heading into the bottom half of the inning.
Kansas added three runs in the top of the seventh to extend its advantage over the Bluejays. Sophomore outfielder Erin McGinley drove in the first Kansas run with single, while Ridling plated two more runs with a two-RBI single to right field. After hitting the two-RBI single, Ridling posted her fourth multi-hit effort and third multi-RBI game.
Along with Ridling, Shannon McGinley recorded a pair of doubles for her fifth multi-hit game of 2016. Brickey was the final Jayhawk to collect a multi-hit performance as Kansas outhit the Bluejays 7-1.
Formby returned to the circle to close out the bottom of the seventh. She tossed another 1-2-3 frame and faced the minimum 21 batters in KU’s 6-0 victory over Creighton.
Kansas will host the Rock Chalk Challenge March 18-20 at Rock Chalk Park. The Jayhawks open the tournament against No. 22 Minnesota on Friday, March 18 at 2 p.m. The contest against the Gophers will air on the Jayhawk Television Network, while every game will be broadcast on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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