Pack Tops Kansas 3-2 in FIU Panther Invitational Championship Game
Feb. 10, 2013
MIAMI – Freshman Hanna Sommer’s solo home run in the top of the fourth inning gave sophomore pitcher Emily Weiman all the offense she needed to shut down Kansas, 3-2, in the title game of the FIU Panther Invitational.
Sommer also scored the Pack’s first run of the game, after the Jayhawks took a 2-0 lead in a shaky bottom of the first inning at the FIU Softball Complex. It was nearly reminiscent of Friday’s game that Kansas won 8-0 in five innings. But a strong defense got the Pack out of an early jam, and the bottom half of State’s lineup quickly tied the score at 2-2.
“I’m really proud of my girls for the way they played today and this weekend,” said first-year coach Shawn Rychcik. “They came out and got revenge on an 8-0 loss to Kansas earlier in the weekend.
“Any championship you win is a good one. It was a real good start for us."
The Pack (4-1) beat Georgetown, host Florida International twice and Kansas en route to the championship game victory in the four-team, three-day tournament.
Weiman, who picked up a win over Georgetown in the season opener on Friday and two over FIU on Saturday, got stronger as Sunday’s title game went along, striking out seven batters with only one walk. She gave up five hits in the game, only one of which went for extra bases.
“For Emily, it all goes back to the summer,” said Rychcik. “It’s all on her for putting in the work to be in great shape when she came into the fall and being prepared and getting better throughout the weekend.”
“I also have to give credit to my coaching staff, assistants Courtney Oliver and Katie Grimes," Rychcik said. "They had us prepared. Emily took all the information we gave her and just took off with it.
“If we get that type of performance, we are going to be in good shape as we go into the rest of the year.
After the start of the game was delayed for 27 minutes because of a short afternoon rain shower, the Jayhawks took an early lead in the bottom of the first inning with an infield bunt single and a single to centerfield. The runners moved up on a wild pitch and both scored, first on a fielder’s choice and second on a single to center field.
The Pack got out of the potentially difficult jam – runners on first and second with no outs – thanks to a strikeout by Weiman and a nice defensive play by catcher Kirsty Grant, who caught a popped up bunt attempt in front of the plate and doubled off the runner at second base to end the inning.
The Wolfpack tied the game in the top of the second, as Sommer walked to lead off the inning. She moved to second when Leah Jones was hit by a pitch, then scored when Chelsea Tate singled off the second baseman’s glove.
Tate, a junior who played in the outfield and at second base during the weekend, finished the three-day event with a .500 batting average, going 5-for-10 with a homer and three RBIs.
The Pack loaded the bases when Caitlin Dent hit a grounder to third, but Jones beat the throw to the base on the fielder’s choice. Senior Katie Mansilla drove in the tying run with a single that got by the shortstop.
Kansas threatened again in the bottom of the fourth when freshman catcher Alex Hugo doubled to lead off the inning. But Davis caught a pop up behind third base for the inning’s first out and Weiman struck out the next two Jayhawks to end the inning.
“I’m real happy with our performance,” Rychcik said. “It’s good to be a part of the Pack. I’m real proud of my team. We’ll have a couple days of practice and then get ready to do it again, coming back down to play at South Florida.”
The Wolfpack, after a short trip home, returns to Florida on Friday to face Tennessee and host South Florida in the USF 4-Team Tournament in Tampa.