Every time UMKC had runners in scoring position and threatened to score, junior starter Andie Formby always found a way to pitch herself — and the Kansas softball team — out of trouble.
Formby struck out five batters in her complete-game shutout against UMKC, which helped KU secure a 3-0 victory on Sunday at Arrocha Ballpark.
The win was the second time Formby (10-2) has defeated the Kangaroos this season. She last pitched against UMKC on March 8, when she had a seven-strikeout performance. But KU softball coach Megan Smith said she thought Formby pitched an even better game the second time around.
“She was stellar,” Smith said of Formby. “We faced (UMKC) last week, so we went with her again. She had success last week, but I thought she was even better today. Great command of her pitches, moved the ball well. Very poised and confident.”
Formby allowed nine batters to reach base, but she never allowed UMKC to capitalize with runners in scoring position.
“I just tried to stay in the present moment, even if there’s runners on,” said Formby, who transferred to KU after playing her freshman season at Virginia. “They hadn’t scored yet, so there was no negative there. Just tried to leave them on base.”
Formby was successful every time in leaving runners on, and her poise on the mound was something her coach recognized as a key reason why KU (22-6) came away with its third-straight win to close out the Rock Chalk Challenge. Former Lawrence High standout Morgan Byrn went 1 for 4 with a double in the fifth inning.
“Andie gave up some hits, but she scattered them and was able to bear down and not give up many back-to-back (hits), which was really important," Smith said. "That’s a goal of ours, limit back-to-backs, and I thought she did that. She just stayed poised, and that’s important for a pitcher.”
Formby’s success on the mound was also important for KU’s offense, which didn’t produce as much as Smith would have liked.
But Formby ended up not needing very much support from her lineup.
KU supplied its first run for Formby in the second, when left fielder Erin McGinley drove an RBI single up the middle to score Addie Balderston.
The Jayhawks added another run later in the inning after center fielder Brittany Jackson drove an RBI single up the middle with the bases loaded.
Third baseman Madison Sykes tacked on the final run for the Jayhawks in the fourth when she smacked an RBI double past the diving reach of UMKC left fielder Sydney Garcia.
The Jayhawks finished with nine hits on the day, but left six on base.
“Offensively, (we were) hot and cold a little bit, but got some clutch hits,” Smith said. “Sykes came through with a big hit. Erin had a big hit. Not as good as I wanted it to be, but good enough to win, so we’ll take it.”
KU will next play a doubleheader against the University of the Incarnate Word on Wednesday in San Antonio.
UMKC 000 000 0 — 0 8 0
Kansas 020 100 x — 3 9 0
W—Formby (10-2). L—Sara Miller (1-4).
2B—Morgan Byrn, UMKC; Jessie Roane, KU; Harli Ridling, KU; Sykes, KU.
KU highlights—Formby, 7 IP, 8 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K; Jackson, 1 for 3, RBI; McGinley, 1 for 3, R, RBI; Sam Dellinger, 1 for 2, R; Sykes, 1 for 2, RBI.