Twice is Nice: Kansas Sweeps Evansville
Box Score (Game 1) // Box Score (Game 2)
LAWRENCE, Kan. – In the tale of two games, Kansas softball swept its doubleheader against Evansville on Tuesday at Rock Chalk Park. The Jayhawks opened the pair of games with a 7-0 shutout victory, while the second contest took 10 innings before KU could walk off with a 4-2 win to complete the sweep.
Kansas’ (18-10) offense came out firing all cylinders in the first of two games against Evansville, tallying 11 hits and seven runs. In the second game, the Jayhawk bats cooled off, scoring four runs and recording seven hits.
Although KU’s offense was hot and cold on Tuesday, the Jayhawks’ pitching staff and defense carried Kansas to its third-straight victory and 12th win its last 14 tries. Sophomore right-hander Andie Formby continued to be a force to be reckoned with in the circle. She tossed 13 scoreless inning against the Purple Aces while improving to 10-2 on the season.
“We looked pretty sharp in the first game and relied on our pitching and defense to get through the second,” said head coach Megan Smith. “I was disappointed in our offense in the second game, but loved the fact that our defense and pitching kept us in it so we could figure out a way to win.”
Formby, who garnered Co-Big 12 Pitcher of the Week honors for her efforts last week, started the first game against Evansville and threw her sixth complete-game shutout of the season. She has thrown four complete-game shutouts in her last six outings. In 13 innings of work, Formby gave up seven hits while striking out 13.
“Andie is doing phenomenal and is one of the hardest workers on our team,” Smith said. “She has been one of the hardest workers since she got here and this fall. We are seeing the dividends of that right now pay off for her, not just her but our whole team. There were some tense situations, especially in the second game, and she came through big time for us.”
Kansas took the lead in the first frame after scoring a pair of runs right out of the gate. Sophomore infielder Daniella Chavez sparked the offensive surge with a RBI double off of the wall in right centerfield to plate the first run of the day. Junior utility Lily Behrmann tacked on a second run, hitting a single up the middle. Kansas headed to the second inning with a two-run lead over the Purple Aces.
In the third inning, Kansas extended its lead, 5-0, by scoring three additional runs. Redshirt sophomore catcher Harli Ridling scored on a throwing error to start the rally. Junior second baseman Taylor McElhaney doubled to left field to bring home a run, while senior outfielder Shannon McGinley drove in the final run of the frame with a RBI single.
Senior shortstop Chaley capped off KU’s scoring in the sixth inning after driving in a pair of runs with her seventh home run of the year. Brickey’s long ball increased the Jayhawks lead, 7-0.
Formby tossed her 13th-straight scoreless inning to end the first game against the Purple Aces, as Kansas shutout Evansville 7-0. Formby struck out a career-high nine batters in her first appearance of the day, while limiting the Aces to just three hits.
“My teammates make it easy,” Formby said of her work in the circle. “The defense is excellent, which is really helpful. Plus, our offense has been scoring a lot of runs, so I can put a lot of trust into the team to make it easy.”
Chavez got the offense started in the second game of the doubleheader, as her ninth home run of 2016 gave Kansas an early 2-0 lead over the Purple Aces. Following the long ball, Kansas’ bats were quieted for the remainder of the game until Behmann could lift KU past Evansville with her third homer of 2016. Behrmann finished the day 4-for-6 with three RBIs.
Evansville evened the score with a two-out rally in the fourth inning. Junior outfielder Courtney Land tied the game, 2-2, doubling to right center allowing two Aces to come home. Kansas senior Monique Wesley earned the starting nod in the second game. She threw four innings and left the circle with no decision. The Fontana, California native struck out four while relinquishing two runs and walk.
Formby took over in the circle in the fifth and tossed six more scoreless frames. In the top of the seventh, Evansville had a pair of runners reach base, but Formby stranded the runners as the ballgame remained tied, 2-2, heading into the bottom half of the frame. Dating back to Formby’s no-hitter against Saint Louis on Sunday, Formby has tossed 19-straight scoreless innings in her last three appearances. Since March 6, Formby has surrendered just four runs in nearly 54 innings pitched.
In the final three frames leading up to the bottom of the 10th, Kansas had the game-winning run in scoring position, but couldn’t capitalize on runners at second or third base. It wasn’t until the 10th frame that Behrmann delivered the win with a walk-off two-run home run to left field. Behrmann’s second long ball of the year lifted Kansas past Evansville, 4-2.
The Jayhawks host Wichita State in midweek action on Tuesday, March 29, at 6 p.m., before opening their Big 12 slate on the road at Oklahoma April 1-3. Kansas’ matchup with in-state foe Wichita State will air on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.