Kansas Softball to Host Missouri Wednesday in Conference Home Opener
March 30, 2009
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
With its original conference home opener against Texas A&M last weekend postponed due to inclement weather, the Kansas softball team, 10-19 overall and 0-2 in Big 12 play, returns to the field for the first time in a week on Wednesday, April 1 to host Border Showdown rival No. 13/14 Missouri (30-4, 3-1 Big 12) in a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m.
At Wednesday’s games, the first 250 students will receive a free hot dog. It is also KU staff appreciation day. Any staff/faculty that shows their KU ID can watch the doubleheader for just $3.
Live stats are available for all 2009 Kansas softball contests online at www.KUAthletics.com, the official website for Kansas Athletics.
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 week’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.
Fresh off a Big 12 Conference series sweep over Baylor, Missouri comes to Lawrence with a 30-4 overall record and 3-1 mark in the Big 12. The Tigers have won their last five games and 16 of their last 17 contests. As a team, the Tigers lead the Big 12 with a .334 batting average as well as a 1.24 ERA. Rhea Taylor is second in the conference batting .435, while Shana White, who doesn’t meet the standings’ 2.0 at bats per game minimum, actually leads the Tigers with a .463 average in 67 at bats. Her 24 stolen bases do lead the Big 12. Marla Schweisberger also bats above .400 with a .417 average and is seventh in the Big 12 with 28 RBIs. Micaela Minner is tops on the team with 34 RBIs, which ranks fifth in the league, as do her six home runs. Chelsea Thomas leads MU and the Big 12 with a 1.00 ERA and seven shutouts. She has pitched 84.0 innings as three other hurlers share time from the circle. All four Missouri pitchers average a 1.86 ERA or better. The Tigers, who return 18 letterwinners, are guided by third year head coach Ehren Earleywine, who is 87-41 at Missouri.
Kansas has lost its last four contests to Missouri and trails the all-time series 39-55. In games played in Lawrence, the Tigers lead 22-14. The Jayhawks’ last win over MU at Arrocha Ballpark was in 2006. KU also won the teams’ next meeting that year during the conference tournament for Kansas’ first back-to-back wins versus the Tigers since 1999. KU will be facing a ranked Missouri team for the first time since 2005 when MU was ranked No. 15/18 in the national polls.
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 last 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.
In the Jayhawks’ softball game against Missouri State on March 24, 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.
Against the Ranks
Kansas will be facing its first top 25 opponent in Missouri on Wednesday since defeating then-No. 10/9 Cal on Feb. 22. KU is 3-3 versus ranked foes this season having picked up wins over No. 7 Arizona, No. 9 Northwestern and No. 10 Cal. In its opening weekend, Kansas recorded its first back-to-back wins versus top 25 teams (No. 7 Arizona and No. 9 Northwestern) since defeating No. 18 Baylor on May 11, 2006, and then beating No. 12 Nebraska the next day.
After a five-game homestand, the Kansas softball team will hit the road for the first time in two weeks when it heads to Texas Tech this weekend, April 4-5. KU and the Red Raiders are scheduled to play a 2 p.m. contest on Saturday and then at noon on Sunday.