Softball Wraps Up Four Week Road Swing At SIU
Feb. 28, 2008
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
Softball Wraps Up Four Week Road Swing At SIU<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
In its last road tournament of the season, the <?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>Kansas softball team, who at 12-4 are receiving votes in both national softball polls, will travel to Carbondale, Ill., March 1-2, to take part in the Southern Illinois Invitational. The Jayhawks begin the tournament with games against No. 5/6 Northwestern and Southern Illinois on Saturday at 2 and 4 p.m., respectively. Sunday KU will play a pair of early morning games starting at 9 a.m. against Western Illinois and then SIU at 11 a.m. Live stats are available for all contests at http://siusalukis.cstv.com/sports/w-softbl/southern-classic.html.
Kansas will take a 12-4 overall record into the final leg of its four-week road swing. The Jayhawks finished 4-1 in last weekend’s Houston Invitational, including a 10-2, five inning contest against Cal State Northridge to conclude the tournament. Kansas has outscored opponents 64-35 so far this season and are averaging almost 100 points higher with a .241 team batting average. Three Jayhawks are hitting over .300 including junior Dougie McCaulley who leads with a .354 average and 17 hits. Junior Val Chapple, who is batting 3.27, has scored a team-high 10 runs and has the most stolen bases with four. The thirdbaseman is also second on the squad with 16 hits, eight runs batted in and a pair of home runs and doubles. At .304, sophomore Amanda Jobe leads Kansas with 10 RBIs, three homers and a .522 slugging percentage. In the pitcher’s circle, Valerie George, 5-1, is earning a team-best 0.83 ERA to rank third in the Big 12. The right hander has retired 42 batters in 42.0 innings of work and has made 10 appearances from the circle. Rookie Allie Clark has gone 3-1 in just three starts with a 1.36 ERA, while junior Sarah Vertelka is allowing just 1.60 earned runs per game.
For the third week in a row and first time since 2006, Kansas softball is receiving votes in both national polls released Feb. 26. Kansas, who is off to its best start since 2003 at 12-4, received 18 votes in the USA Today/NFCA poll and four in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Poll, up from last week when the Jayhawks received three votes in each poll. Prior to this season, KU last appeared in the national softball polls at the conclusion of its 2006 season when KU finished No. 22 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 poll and received votes in the final USA Today/NFCA poll.
KU Pitchers Top the Conference
The Jayhawks currently lead the Big 12 with a combined 1.26 ERA so far on the season. KU’s three pitchers – Valerie George, Sarah Vertelka and Allie Clark – have allowed just 20 earned runs in 16 games (111.1 innings).
Junior pitcher Valerie George is just two strikeouts shy of cracking the KU career top 10 record list. George, who has 179, needs two more K’s to share the number 10 spot with Kirsten Milhoan who pitched from 2001-03.
Jobe’s Long Ball
Sophomore Amanda Jobe, with three home runs already, is just one home run shy of breaking into the KU sophomore records for single season homers. Last year, Jobe finished fifth in the freshman single season home run record books with five.
Juniors Val Chapple and Stevie Crisosto are the only Jayhawks to have started all 16 games so far this year. Since their freshman seasons in 2006, Chapple has started every game for Kansas, while Crisosto has missed just one start in 135 games.
After being on the road for four straight weeks, Kansas softball will make its 2008 home debut March 8-9 when it hosts the Jayhawk Classic. KU opens the tournament with IndianaState and Western Illinois on Saturday, March 1 before playing Pittsburgh the following day.