Softball Hosts Missouri State In Mid-Week Non-conference Action
March 25, 2008
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
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Looking to bounce back from a two-game setback to the 11th ranked Oklahoma Sooners in last weekend’s conference opener, Kansas softball (23-8, 0-2 Big 12) will take a brief break from conference play to host Missouri State (14-5, 3-2 MVC) in a doubleheader Wednesday, March 28 beginning at 3 p.m.
After dropping two games to No. 11 Oklahoma in its Big 12 Conference opener, Kansas softball (23-8, 0-2 Big 12) will take a break from conference play for a mid-week matchup with Missouri Valley member Missouri State. Junior Dougie McCaulley leads the team with a .392 average, good enough for ninth in the Big 12. McCaulley is also fourth in the league standings with 38 hits. Fellow junior Val Chapple is hitting above .300 at a .344 clip. Her 52 total bases, 21 RBIs and six home runs lead the Jayhawks, as well as her 76 assists on defense. Freshman Brittany Hile, who is hitting .247, has tallied a team-high seven doubles and is second on the squad with 18 runs batted in. Sophomore Amanda Jobe and junior Stevie Crisosto also have double digit RBIs with 14 and 10, respectively. From the circle, junior pitcher Val George paces KU with a 1.18 ERA. It is the first time since Feb. 15 that George has had an ERA over 1.00 and prior to last weekend’s matchup with Oklahoma, she stood at the top of the Big 12 rankings. Her 1.18 ERA is still good enough for third in the conference and she is ranked in the top five of five Big 12 pitching statistics. Sophomore Sarah Vertelka and freshman Allie Clark also split time from the pitcher’s circle. Vertelka is 15th in the Big 12 with an earned run average of 2.03.
Scouting the Opponent
After winning its series with Illinois State over the weekend 2-1 and picking up a road win at No. 11 Oklahoma last Wednesday, Missouri State has won three of its last four games as they bring a 14-5 (3-2 MVC) mark into tomorrow’s doubleheader. The Bears made a stop at WichitaState Tuesday night before coming to Lawrence. Senior Michelle Armentrout paces MSU with a .365 average and shares the team-high of 19 hits and 12 runs. She has also batted in 13 runs, trailing only senior Melissa Porshe who has 14 and a team-high three home runs. Junior Jessie Smith is hitting .340 with 18 hits and seven RBIs, while freshman Tyler Porter has a .311 average on 19 hits to go along with four runs batted in. Other Bears hitting over a .300 clip include freshman Ashley Knehans and junior Jana Shewmaker who are each averaging .310. In the bullpen, Porshe, this week’s MVC Pitcher of the Week, holds an MVC-leading 0.92 ERA in 83.2 innings pitched. As a team, the Bears lead the MVC with a 1.74 ERA. She has appeared in 17 of the team’s 19 contests and accumulated 108 strikeouts, while limited opposing batters to a .181 average from the plate. Sophomores Lauren McGinley (3.71 ERA, 28.1 innings) and Megan Ramsey (2.52 ERA, 16.2 innings) provide depth in the circle and have combined for a 6-2 record.
The Bears are coached by Holly Hesse who is 494-455-2 in her 19th season at MissouriState.
Kansas leads the all-time series with MissouriState 60-14 and has won the last eight meetings and 13 of the last 15 with the Bears, including last year’s doubleheader in Springfield.
Against the MVC
Missouri State will mark the fifth Missouri Valley Conference school faced by the Jayhawks this season. KU, who has already met up with MVC members IllinoisState, Southern Illinois, Bradley and IndianaState, is 8-0 this year against MissouriValley foes.
It seems that if the Jayhawks can just get four runs on the scoreboard they are in the clear as Kansas is 17-0 when scoring four or more runs in a game.
Crisosto Heating Up
After struggling from the plate for much of the season, junior Stevie Crisosto has been heating up from the batter’s box as of late. In the last four contests, Crisosto has batted .571 and is currently riding the team’s longest hitting streak at four games. She also tallied her 24th career double at Oklahoma on March 21 and is just five shy of breaking into KU’s top 10 career doubles list.
Chapple Named National And Big 12 Player Of The Week
Softball junior Val Chapple was named USA Softball National Player of the Week by the Amateur Softball Association as well as Big 12 Softball Player of the Week for the week of March 10-16. Going 7-for-8 at the plate, including four home runs and a double in three games, the 5’3″ power assisted Kansas to three wins at the KU Invitational. Chapple is the first KU softball player honored with national and Big 12 player of the week awards since Kassie Humphreys accomplished the feat on May 16, 2006.
Kansas returns to conference action this weekend as they host Texas Tech for a two-game series, March 29-30. Saturday’s game against the Raiders will begin at 1 p.m. The following day, the team’s will square off at noon. The Jayhawks then head to Creighton April 2 in the start of a six-game road trip. KU’s doubleheader against the Bluejays will is scheduled to start at 2 p.m.