USF Comes From Behind, Edges Kansas, 6-5
TAMPA – Following a walk-off victory to start the day, Kansas softball found themselves on the opposite end in the night cap. USF came from behind to edge Kansas, 6-5, on Friday evening at the USF Softball Stadium.
The Jayhawks (5-7) owned a multiple-run lead through the first four innings, but the Bulls (4-7) pulled a head with a four-run fifth inning. In the next half inning, KU scored the equalizing run on its fourth home run of the day and left the go-ahead run on base in the top of the seventh. With one out in the bottom of the seventh, USF scored the game-winning run on a double to centerfield.
“We didn’t play a full seven innings and against good teams you can’t take innings off,” said head coach Megan Smith. “I felt like we took innings off and we’ve got to a better job of playing all seven innings. The first game we did, but the second game we coasted and lesson learned, hopefully, for those players that you can’t do that against good teams.”
The Bulls outhit Kansas, 9-7. Redshirt sophomore catcher Harli Ridling finished the game 2-for-3 with a game-high three RBIs, while sophomore outfielder Erin McGinley went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs.
“The thing about Erin is she is really scrappy and fast, said Smith. “She makes things happen and takes good at-bats. Adding her to our lineup brings a spark for us. Both her and her sister, Shannon, are doing extremely well and taking quality at-bats every time they get up to the plate.”
Kansas’ offense jumps ahead early in the ballgame taking a four-run lead on three hits in the opening frame. Senior outfielder Shannon McGinley singled for the first Jayhawk to reach base. Erin McGinley swung for the fences and gave KU the lead, 2-0, with her first career home run to left centerfield.
Ridling extended Kansas’ advantage, 4-0, in the first inning with a base clearing double. Prior to Ridling’s two-RBI double, sophomore utility Jessie Roane and junior utility Lily Behrmann reached via back-to-back walks.
USF answered in the bottom half of the first, cutting the Jayhawk lead to three runs. The Bulls first baseman Lauren Evans sailed a solo shot over the fence in left field for the first hit and run of the game for the Bulls. Kansas headed to the second frame with a 4-1 lead.
Sophomore Andie Formby made her fifth start in the circle against the Bulls. After giving up the solo home run in the first inning, Formby settled down and tossed four-straight scoreless frames before outfielder Mia Fung hit a solo shot over the wall in left field.
“I though Andie started out strong, but couldn’t finish,” said Smith. “I challenged our pitching staff to work together as a staff and have each other’s backs. We really need to lock in as a staff and be strong with all of our pitchers.”
Formby left the game after four and two-thirds innings of work. The Orange, California native struck out four while allowing five earned runs and six hits. Formby threw a no-decision in the circle to remain 2-1 on the year.
USF took its first lead of the game by scoring a total of four runs in the fifth. Following Fung’s solo home run a pair of RBI doubles and a wild pitch gave the Bulls a one-run lead.
In the sixth, Ridling evened the score, 5-5, with a solo shot to left field. Following Ridling’s second home run of 2016, senior outfielder Briana Evans singled up the middle, putting the go-ahead run a board. However, the Bulls worked around the two-out rally by the Jayhawks to end the frame.
“Harli had a great day and that’s big time,” Smith said. “It was clutch to come up after we gave up for runs and tie the game with a home run. SO, she had a great day and I am glad to see that from her.”
Shannon McGinley reached base on an error to start the seventh inning, which lead to USF to make its third pitching change of the game. However, the Bulls escaped the inning and kept the tie intact.
Freshman right-hander Alexis Reid took over in the circle for Formby. She allowed one earned run in one and two-thirds innings of work.
Kansas was two outs away from forcing extra-innings, but the Bulls offense had other plans. A single put the winning run aboard for USF and outfielder Juli Weber plated the winning run after doubling to right centerfield. Weber’s RBI double completed the 6-5 come-from-behind victory for the Bulls.
Kansas continues the USF Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 27 with UNLV. First pitch is slated for 8:15 a.m. from the USF Softball Stadium. Every game will be available on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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