Kansas Softball Opens Big 12 Schedule at Oklahoma State This Weekend
March 20, 2009
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
After 24 nonconference games, the Kansas softball team will open its 18-game Big 12 Conference schedule this weekend, March 21-22, when it travels to Oklahoma State for a pair of league games in Stillwater, Okla. KU (10-14) will take on OSU (23-6) at 7 p.m. Saturday night before wrapping up the two-game series Sunday afternoon with a 2 p.m. contest.
Live stats and a radio broadcast for each game can be found at www.kuathletics.com.
KU used a 9-4 victory Tuesday versus Western Illinois to improve its overall record to 10-14 heading into the start of conference season. Senior Val Chapple leads the Jayhawks with a .364 batting average and has struck out just five times in 66 at bats. She also has a team-high seven multi-hit games and 15 RBIs along with sophomore Allie Clark. Clark, who is batting .304 on the season, is averaging .429 in her last seven games. Sophomore Liz Kocon is second on the team with a .316 average and 12 runs batted in. Senior Stevie Crisosto also hits above .300 (.303) and has drawn a team-high 15 walks, fifth in the Big 12. Four KU pitchers share time from the circle led by junior Sarah Vertelka, who has a 2.75 ERA through 43.1 innings. The 5-foot-8 pitcher has allowed one run in her last three appearances spanning 10 innings. Senior Val George is the team’s most-tenured hurler having tossed 80.0 innings with 83 strikeouts in that time along with a 2.80 ERA.
Scouting Oklahoma State
Riding a five-game winning streak, Oklahoma State is 23-6 heading into this weekend’s conference opener. Alysia Hamilton leads the Big 12 with 36 RBIs and is batting .367 to lead the Cowgirls. Mariah Gearhart follows with a .354 batting average and has stolen a conference-high 21 bases. She also has a .505 on base percentage. Julie Ward (.284) leads the team with 17 walks and is second having batted in 20 runs. Pitcher Anna Whiddon is Oklahoma State’s top hurler with a 1.27 ERA and 11-4 record. She has 92 strikeouts, fourth in the Big 12, in 94.2 innings of work through 20 appearances. She is also tied for the league lead with seven shutouts. Sarah Odom has tossed 70.2 innings over 15 appearances and holds a 10-1 record with a 1.88 ERA. The Cowgirls are second in the Big 12 with a 1.55 team ERA. OSU returns 12 of 18 letterwinners from a team that went 26-25 a year ago. Rich Wieligman is 74-64 in his third year as head coach of the Cowgirls.
OSU leads 57-37 in the all-time series with Kansas, including a 13-9 advantage in games played in Stillwater. Since 2004, the teams have split the conference series, except for 2007 when the Jayhawks swept OSU on the road. KU has won three of the previous four contests played at the Cowgirls’ home field.
Jayhawk Conference Notes
– Kansas is 100-134 all-time in Big 12 Conference games (inaugural Big 12 season was in 1996).
– KU has never won the Big 12 softball league title but did earn its first Big 12 Tournament Championship in 2006.
– Sarah Clopton (1996-97, 1999-00) holds the Big 12 single season record for games started with 47 in 1997.
– Kansas is 4-9 in Big 12 Conference openers. Of its nine losses, seven were against a top 25 team.
– KU has opened its league schedule with Oklahoma State four times- 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2007. The Jayhawks are 2-2 when opening its conference season against the Cowgirls.
KU Softball Records 900th Victory
With its win against Western Illinois on March 17, the Kansas softball team recorded its 900th all-time victory. KU first competed in NCAA Division I softball in 1982 and is 900-607-2 all-time in its 28th season of competition.
Jayhawk softball will take a break from conference action next week as they return home to host Missouri State on Tuesday, March 24 at 3 p.m. to kick-off a seven-game homestand. The Jayhawks then welcome Creighton the very next day for a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. before hosting Big 12 opponent Texas A&M for a two-game series, March 28-29, and Missouri for a conference doubleheader on April 1.