Kansas Softball to Host Texas A&M In Conference Home Opener
March 26, 2009
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
Following three mid-week nonconference games, the Kansas softball team, 10-17 overall and 0-2 in Big 12 play, returns to conference action this weekend, March 28-29, when it hosts the 2008 national runner up, No. 20/22 Texas A&M (23-11, 1-1 Big 12), in a pair of Big 12 games. KU and the Aggies are scheduled to play at 2 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday.
At Saturday’s game, fans will receive a free Jayhawks memo board (while supplies last). On Sunday, anyone who brings a non-perishable food item can get in to the KU softball game for just $3, while kids who wear their softball/baseball uniform will also get into the contest for $3. The Kansas softball team will be hosting a free youth clinic at the conclusion of its game against the Aggies.
Live stats are available for all 2009 Kansas softball contests online at www.KUAthletics.com, the official website for Kansas Athletics. Additionally, Texas A&M will broadcast this weekend’s games on www.aggieathletics.com. Louie Belina and Stephen Grove will be calling the action.
Kansas suffered a pair of one-run setbacks versus Creighton last Wednesday to extend a five-game skid as KU takes a 10-19 record into this weekend’s conference home opener. Senior Val Chapple continues to lead the KU offense batting .354 on the season, along with a team-high 29 hits. Her 16 RBIs are third only to Liz Kocon’s 18 and Allie Clark’s 17. Kocon is second on the team batting a .329 average, while Clark has a .270 batting average and team-high four home runs. Over the last six games, the Jayhawks have received an offensive boost from senior Dougie McCaulley, who has 12 hits in that time, and is coming off a career-high four hits against Creighton earlier this week. McCaulley, who is averaging .307, leads the team with eight stolen bases. KU’s four-person bullpen is led by senior Val George, who has a 3.51 ERA. Her 117 strikeouts rank fourth in the Big 12 and she is coming off a career-best 14 K’s against Creighton on Wednesday.
Scouting Texas A&M
Texas A&M, the 2008 national runner-up, has won five of its last seven contests to bring a 23-11 overall record and 1-1 Big 12 record to Lawrence following a split at Nebraska last weekend. The Aggies are led by sophomore Natalie Villarreal who is batting .368 on the season with a team-high 35 hits. Senior Holly Ridley follows with a .330 batting average and a team-best 24 RBIs along with seven home runs. Her three triples are also tied for the league lead. Texas A&M is fourth in the Big 12 with a 2.02 team ERA. Sophomore Rhianna Kliesing and freshman Rebecca Arbino have tossed all but 3.2 innings for the Aggies this season. Kliesing leads the staff with a 1.81 ERA and is 14-7 with 137 strikeouts in 154.2 innings of work. Arbino is 9-4 from the circle with a 2.09 earned run average. She has 62 strikeouts through 80.1 innings. The Aggies return nine letterwinners from its 2008 squad that lost to Arizona State in the softball national championship game. Jo Evans is in her 14th year as head coach of the TAMU softball program with a 492-244-2 record.
Kansas trails the all-time series with Texas A&M 43-20, including a 10-20 disadvantage in Big 12 contests. The Jayhawks have lost the last 14 meetings against the Aggies with their last victory coming in 2002.
Season Tickets Now On Sale
2009 Kansas softball season tickets are on sale now! General Admission tickets are $40. KU Faculty and Staff tickets are $32. The Kansas Softball Big 12 Flex Pack is also available for just $20 and includes one general admission ticket to five Big 12 games of the buyers’ choice. Order your tickets today by calling 800-34-HAWKS or by visiting www.KUAthletics.com.
George Tallies Career Strikeouts
For the second time this season, senior Val George set a new personal-best strikeout tally, this time with 14 K’s in the first game of a doubleheader against Creighton on Wednesday. George replaced her previous high of 12 strikeouts in the team’s extra-inning victory over then-No. 10 Cal on Feb. 22. It was the most strikeouts by a Jayhawk since Serena Settlemier fanned 14 batters on April 30, 2005, versus Texas Tech. George is fourth in the Big 12 Conference with 63 strikeouts on the season and currently ranks eighth on KU’s career strikeout list with 385 K’s.
Calling on McCaulley
After leading the Jayhawks with the sixth-best single season batting average in KU program history with a .375 average last season, Dougie McCaulley is quickly returning to old form. The senior outfielder is riding the team’s longest active hit streak at six games and is coming off her best performance so far of the season after tying a career-best four hits against Creighton last Wednesday. McCaulley has 12 hits in her last six outings, including three multi-hit games, and is averaging a team-best .545 batting average in that time.
In Tuesday’s softball game against Missouri State, Kansas and MSU combined for 23 hits during the seven-inning contest. It was the most total hits between KU and an opponent since April 16, 2005, when the Jayhawks and Baylor combined for 24 hits in an eight inning game.
The Jayhawks will cap their seven-game homestand next Wednesday, April 1, when they welcome Border Showdown rival Missouri to Arrocha Ballpark for a pair of conference games beginning at 4 p.m.