2011 Sneak Peek - The Offense
Jan. 21, 2011
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
In 2010, Kansas softball’s starting lineup featured four freshmen and a sophomore. But last year’s youth is now more practiced, more experienced, more everything, which bodes good things for this year’s squad and that goes for the offense, too.
Included in Kansas’ 11 returning letterwinners are its top five offensive performers from a season ago. Headlining KU’s offense is sophomore Rosie Hull, whose .350 batting average in 2010 was nine points away from cracking into the program’s top 10 single-season record list. Hull opened the season with a hit in each of her first seven trips to the plate and never slowed down racking up a team-high 55 knocks on the year.
Although Hull proved to be the most consistent hitter during 2010, Mariah Montgomery rode a late season surge to become the team’s driving force in Big 12 Conference play. Through the last 15 games of the season, Montgomery struck out just three times and batted a team-high .400 in that span. The sophomore led the Jayhawks with a .294 batting average in league play and earned All-Big 12 Second Team honors for her efforts. She also led KU with 11 doubles, 25 runs batted in and 26 walks on the year, which were the ninth-most in a KU single season.
Sophomores Alex Jones (.301) and Maggie Hull(.253) and senior Allie Clark (.242) round out Kansas’ returning top five hitters. Jones, KU’s leadoff batter, shared the team lead of 55 hits and scored a team-high 29 times. The speedy outfielder also showed her versatility making the most starts from the pitcher’s circle with 23.
Clark, along with junior Marisa Ingle, established themselves as power hitters last year collecting a team-high six home runs each. Ingle recorded four of her round-trippers during the Big 12 season to lead the Jayhawks with eight RBIs and a .629 slugging percentage in conference games.
The Jayhawk offense will benefit from the return of redshirt junior Liz Kocon this spring. Kocon started the first five games in 2010 before being sidelined by an injury. In 2009, the KU outfielder shared the team-lead of 30 RBIs while her nine homers tied for the program’s ninth-most in a single season.
Newcomers Kendra Cullum and Ashley Newman also look to contribute from the plate right away. Cullum batted .364 during the fall season, while Newman hit .471 and showcased her speed with a team-high three stolen bases.
KU started preparations for its 2011 campaign with its first practice on Jan. 14. The Jayhawks open the season at the Jacksonville Tournament in Jacksonville, Fla., Feb. 11-13.