Kansas Continues Hunt for History at Charleston Southern Tournament
Feb. 29, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. –Armed with its longest win streak in 20 years, the Kansas softball team will look to extend its 12-game span when the Jayhawks travel to Charleston, S.C., for the Charleston Southern Tournament, March 2-4. The Jayhawks will kick off the weekend against Big East foe, Connecticut, on Friday at 10 a.m. CT.
Friday, March 2
vs. Connecticut, 10 a.m. CT
vs. Charleston Southern, 2 p.m. CT
Saturday, March 3
vs. Wisconsin, 8 a.m. CT
vs. Bracket Play Decision, TBA
Sunday, March 4
vs. Connecticut, 12 p.m. CT
Connecticut – First Meeting
Charleston Southern – First Meeting
Wisconsin – KU leads 2-1 (Last meeting: KU lost, 0-1, 3/8/01)
FOLLOW THE HAWKS
Fans can follow the action on GameTracker for all five games, located on the softball schedule page on KUAthletics.com. Live scoring updates can also be found by following JayhawkSoftball on Twitter.
-Kansas won its second-straight tournament in the team’s last time out, going 5-0 to claim the Seahawk Classic hosted by UNC-Wilmington.
-The flawless weekend stretched KU’s win streak to 12, marking the longest by a Jayhawk team since a 13-game streak during the 1992 season. KU is now five wins away from tying the longest win streak in school history (17, 1992). Two wins would tie the second-longest (14; 1990, 1986, 1983) and a win against Connecticut on Friday would tie the third-longest winning span (13, 1992).
-After surrendering 14 runs in the first two games of the season, Kansas has allowed only 20 during the win streak, thanks in large part to a pitching staff finding its groove. In their two losses, KU’s pitchers walked a combined 21 batters. During the streak, the staff has allowed just 25 total free passes while striking out 93.
-The Jayhawks are leading the Big 12 in fielding percentage (.981), committing just seven errors as a team through the first 14 games of the season.
-Kansas is red hot at the plate, hitting at a .314 clip as a team compared to its opponents’ .198 average. KU’s team average ranks third in the Big 12 as eight of KU’s regulars are hitting .300 or better, including three surpassing .400 (Maggie Hull, Rosie Hull, Elsa Moyer)
-KU is the only team in the Big 12 with three players ranked in the league’s top-10 in RBIs (Montgomery, 16; Kocon, 14; M. Hull, 13)
-Junior left fielder Maggie Hull has started all 14 games, leading KU’s everyday players with a .408 average. She leads the Big 12 with 20 hits (1.43 hits/game) and is tied for the league’s lead in doubles (5).
-Redshirt senior Liz Kocon needs four RBIs to become the all-time RBI leader at Kansas (Serena Settlemier, 117). Junior shortstop Mariah Montgomery tied Val Chapple for ninth all-time on KU’s home run list (18) with two homers last weekend in Wilmington, N.C. Montgomery leads the 2012 squad with three home runs.
Overall: The Huskies opened their season two weeks ago at the Georgia Softball Classic, picking up its only win against Western Illinois and losing two games to rainouts. Connecticut was selected to finish eighth in the Big East Preseason Coaches poll. In the Circle: Junior Kiki Saveriano has UConn’s only victory and holds a 6.23 ERA with 10 strikeouts this season. At the Plate:Senior outfielder Amy Vaughan leads the offense with a .600 average, collecting six RBIs and a pair of home runs in the first three games of the season.
Charleston Southern (10-5)
Overall: The Bucs enter the weekend after picking up a split in a doubleheader on the road at South Carolina on Feb. 28. CSU is 5-0 at home this season and is hitting at a .255 clip as a team while the pitching staff holds a combined 2.75 ERA. The Bucs were picked to finish third in the Big South Conference. In the Circle: Junior Morgan Dowdy (6-1) shut out South Carolina in the Bucs’ 2-0 win over the Gamecocks. She threw seven scoreless innings, allowed just two hits and struck out nine in the win. She leads the team with a 1.43 ERA and 31 strikeouts. At the Plate:Junior outfielder Jana Matthews leads the starters wtih a .340 batting average and 13 RBIs after starting all 15 games for the Bucs.
Overall: The Badgers went 2-3 at the Citrus Classic Spring College Games in Orlando, Fla., last weekend. Wisconsin ended the weekend with a 2-1 loss to Florida State. In the Circle: Junior Meghan McIntosh leads the pitching staff with a 1.79 ERA and is 1-3 in her five starts. She has struck out 25 compared to her 10 walks in 2012. At the Plate:Sophomore outfielder Mary Massei is hitting for a .375 average this spring, with six RBIs and three doubles. The sophomore has yet to strikeout this season.
COACH Megan Smith’s TAKE
On facing Big East and Big Ten foes in Connecticut and Wisconsin:
“It’s good to see where we’re going to stack up with teams that are in bigger conferences and will be tough teams to play. We do want our kids to approach these games as they have every other game, focusing on what we need to do and take care of our own business. For us as a coaching staff, though, it will be good to see how we stack up against teams like Wisconsin and UConn.”
On creating a pitching staff rather than individual aces:
“It’s good to have multiple strong pitchers. We have that and they complement each other very well. I think we showed that last weekend when we were able to get really good outings from three of our pitchers. And, when we didn’t have a good outing, another pitcher was ready to come in and take care of it. That’s good to see because they will have to do that for the rest of the year. They have to think about being a staff, and they are all open for that.”
On her players adjusting to shifts in the lineup and defensively – namely Marissa Ingle (1B/3B), Maddie Stein (1B/RF/C) and Chanin Naudin (3B, lineup shifts):
“It has a lot to do with the fact that they are comfortable in those positions. We’re not putting them in places they’ve never been or never practiced. It’s good for us to have options and work through those options right now as we get closer to conference. All of them are doing well where ever we put them defensively, so we’ll continue to mix them up.”
On finding one starting lineup with depth in many positions, namely centerfield:
“It’s one of those things where whoever we put in centerfield has done a good job defensively and offensively. Elsa (Moyer) and Cassen (Salamone) need to continue to get more time and experience, because we’re going to need both of them this year. We’re pleased with what they’re doing so you’ll keep seeing both of them. Our lineup will start getting a little more set as we get closer to conference, but there are a lot of pieces that we’re trying to get in there so we’re going to keep mixing it up until we find the exact right lineup.”
On if the heavy travel schedule is affecting the team:
“I think we saw our best performances from our team on Sunday, the last time we played. Sometimes mentally you get tired, and I think that’s what we saw on Friday was a little mental fatigue. They snapped out of it, and we are always trying to keep them fresh physically and mentally. I think this weekend is going to be a fun one. We’re all looking forward to seeing how we match up with those teams.”
On if the possibility of tying KU’s longest win streak (17 games) is starting to creep in:
“Honestly, no. In our sport, it is so hard to win that many games in a row. There are so many different variables and different teams that to me, it’s a big deal to win three in a row, let alone 12. If we ever got to 17, that would be awesome, but it’s certainly not anything we’re aiming for. We go out and want to win every game that we play, but we also know a streak like that is a hard thing to do in our sport. We just want to go out and compete this weekend.”