KU Softball Prepares For UCF Early Bird Tournament This Weekend
Feb. 11, 2009
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
After opening the 2009 season with a 2-2 start, including two wins over ranked opponents, the No. 25 Kansas softball team switches coasts this weekend, Feb. 13-15, for the UCF Early Bird Tournament in Orlando, Fla. The Jayhawks will face five teams in three days with contests scheduled against South Carolina, Western Carolina, Bradley, Tennessee and Bowling Green.
Live stats are available for all 2009 Kansas softball contests online at www.KUAthletics.com, the official website for Kansas Athletics.
Kansas returns eight starters and 13 letterwinners from a 2008 team that finished 37-19 overall. KU’s top three offensive threats are back in seniors Dougie McCaulley, Val Chapple and sophomore Liz Kocon. The Jayhawks split their season opening weekend going 2-2 with a pair of wins over top 25 teams. Through four games, Chapple leads KU with a .364 batting average. Kocon and junior Ally Stanton share the team lead with three RBIs a piece. Senior Stevie Crisosto picked up right where she left off in 2008 with five walks on the year so far. Crisosto was sixth in the Big 12 Conference last season with 34 walks. Fellow senior Elle Pottorf also got five free trips to first base, but earned them all with a hit by pitch. Pitcher Val George, the team’s top hurler from 2008, earned both of the Jayhawks’ wins last weekend and struck out 14 batters in just 10 and two thirds innings of work. She has a 2.53 ERA in three appearances.
Kansas Cracks Top 25
For the first time since 2006, the Kansas softball team is ranked in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 poll released Tuesday, coming in at No. 25 after defeating two ranked opponents during its season opening weekend in the Kajikawa Classic.
The Jayhawks, who were receiving votes in the preseason top 25 poll, defeated then-No. 7 Arizona and then-No. 11 Northwestern last weekend to open the 2009 season. KU was last ranked in the top 25 on June 6, 2006, when it finished ranked No. 22 in the final ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. In 2008, Kansas received votes for 10 straight weeks but never cracked the top 25. KU is still receiving votes in the latest USA Today/NFCA poll.
KU Takes Down Back-to-Back Ranked Opponents
In its opening weekend, Kansas picked up a 3-1 win over No. 7/7 Arizona followed by an 8-7 victory against No. 9/11 Northwestern. It marked the first time KU has recorded back-to-back wins versus top 25 teams since defeating No.18 Baylor on May 11, 2006, and then beating No. 12 Nebraska the next day.
Kansas softball will head back west again next weekend, Feb. 19-22, when it participates in the Cathedral City Classic in Palm Springs, Calif.