Softball Continues Homestand With Kansas Invitational

March 13, 2008

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This weekend Kansas softball (18-6) hosts its second tournament in as many weeks with the Kansas Invitational, March 14-16. Buffalo (1-12) and Louisiana Tech (15-12)will meet in Lawrence to participate in the tournament. The Jayhawks open the invitational when they take on Buffalo Friday afternoon in a doubleheader starting at 3 p.m.

Kansas Invitational Schedule

* Saturday’s game times have been revised.

Friday, March 14

Games 1/2 Kansas vs. Buffalo 3 p.m./5 p.m.

Saturday, March 15

Game 3 Buffalo vs. La. Tech 12 p.m. Gametracker

Game 4 Kansas vs. La. Tech 2 p.m.

Game 5 Kansas vs. Buffalo 4 p.m.

Sunday, March 16

Game 6 Buffalo vs. La. Tech 10 a.m. Gametracker

Game 7 Kansas vs. La. Tech 12:30 p.m.

About Kansas

Kanas (18-6) will look to bounce back after a walk-off home run by Western Illinois snapped a six-game winning streak last Monday. Despite the loss, KU finished 3-1 in its Jayhawk Classic thanks to an impressive offensive output in which seven Jayhawks posted batting averages over .300. Heading into the sixth week of the season, junior Dougie McCaulley leads the team with a .387 average on 29 hits. Addy Lucero and Ally Stanton follow hitting .350 and .303, respectively. Sophomore Amanda Jobe and freshman Brittany Hile have also been vital to KU’s offense. Jobe leads the team with 14 RBIs despite only playing in 18 of the team’s 24 contests and has five home runs on the season. Hile has batted in 12 runs and has scored a team-high 15 of her own. Additionally, seven of her 15 hits this season have been for extra bases. Kansas boasts one of the Big 12’s best pitchers as junior Val George is second in the league with a 0.75 ERA. The Tucson, Ariz., native is 8-1 from the circle and has 72 strikeouts (6th in the Big 12) in 65.2 innings of work. Sophomore Sarah Vertelka (5-3, 1.88 ERA) and freshman Allie Clark (5-2, 2.37 ERA) round out the KU bullpen. As a group, the Jayhawks limit opponents to just a .197 average at the plate, good enough for third in the Big 12.

Receiving Votes

For the fifth week in a row, Kansas softball is receiving votes in both national polls released March 11. Kansas, who is off to its best start since 2003 at 18-6, received four votes in the USA Today/NFCA poll and five in the Softball Collegiate 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 Softball Top 25 poll and received votes in the final USA Today/NFCA poll.

Stanton Just Getting Started

Sophomore Ally Stanton provided Kansas with an explosive offensive output during the Jayhawk Classic, March 8-10. The Jayhawks’ outfielder led the team with a .538 average in the tournament as she notched seven hits in four games, three of which were doubles. Her .769 slugging percentage helped bring in three runs over the weekend and extended her hitting streak to five contests. Stanton, who was batting .150 prior to the Jayhawk Classic, doubled her average as she is now ranked third on the team hitting .303.

Lucero’s Career Day

Senior Addy Lucero had arguably the best game of her career against IndianaState on Marh 8. The first baseman tallied a career and team season-high five RBIs versus the Sycamores finishing 2-for-3 from the plate, including her first career double. Lucero finished 4-for-9 at the plate during last weekend’s Jayhawk Classic improving her batting average from .273 to .350.

Seeing Doubles

Kansas tallied two doubles in its last game versus Western Illinois on March 10 to extend its doubles streak to six games. On the season, KU has at least one double in 13 of 24 games so far this year. Additionally, the Jayhawks have at least one extra base hit in all of their contests except five.

KU Pitchers At Top of the Conference

The Jayhawks currently rank third in the Big 12 with a combined 1.56 ERA. All three of KU’s pitchers rank in the top 16 of the league standings – Valerie George (2rd, 0.75 ERA), Sarah Vertelka (12th, 1.88 ERA) and Allie Clark (16th, 2.37 ERA). Kansas is also in the top five of the league in opponent batting average, innings pitched, batters struck out looking, wins, saves and earned runs.

Up Next

Kansas will wrap up its 11-game homestand next Tuesday when it hosts Bradley for a doubleheader starting at 3 p.m. It is the Jayhawks’ final nonconference game as KU opens the 2008 Big 12 Conference at Oklahoma on Friday, March 21. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. Kansas and the Sooners will play another game Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m.