Jayhawks To Host Cowgirls In Big 12 Series

March 31, 2006


Kansas softball hosts Oklahoma State (15-15, 1-1) in a Big 12 series Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.) at Arrocha Ballpark. The Jayhawks bring a 17-16 record (0-2 Big 12) into the series and are coming off a twin bill sweep of UMKC on Tuesday. With a victory over the weekend, head coach Tracy Bunge will get her 300th win at the helm of the KU program. The Jayhawks’ non-conference doubleheader against Creighton scheduled for Thursday was cancelled due to severe weather across northeastern Kansas. The games have been rescheduled for April 20 at 2 p.m. in Lawrence.

Saturday’s promotions include the “Biggest Group” contest and Sunday is Breast Cancer Awareness Day in collaboration with the Susan G. Komen Foundation and Lawrence Memorial Hospital. Live Gametracker is available for all KU games on kuathletics.com, the official web site of Kansas Athletics.

-Kansas returns eight letterwinners and six starters in 2006, including four All-Big 12 selections in Destiny Frankenstein (Sr., SS), Jessica Moppin (Sr., 2B), Heather Stanley (Sr., OF) and Serena Settlemier (Sr., P/DP).
-Settlemier holds the KU all-time home runs record with 37. Frankenstein is close behind with 30 for her career, while Moppin (28) and senior Nettie Fierros (15) also rank in KU’s career Top 10.
-Head coach Tracy Bunge is just one win away from her 300th victory at Kansas and nine away from her 400th career coaching victory.
-KU has made nine trips to the NCAA Regionals in the last 25 years and gone three times under Bunge in the past nine seasons (most recently in 2005).
-The Jayhawks broke two program records last season when they hit 54 home runs and boasted a .973 fielding percentage. KU already has 37 homers through 33 games this season.

After a program-worst 3-10 start, the Cowgirls have regrouped to win 12 of their last 17 games and enter the series with Kansas 15-15 overall on the season and 1-1 in Big 12 Conference play. Oklahoma State is coming off a split in a Border War series against Arkansas and Tulsa Wednesday in Stillwater. Sophomore first baseman Kim Kaye hit her third home run of the day in the nightcap against Tulsa, but it was not enough as the Golden Hurricane beat OSU, 3-2. Kaye also hit a triple and two homers and drove in four runs to lead the Cowgirls past Arkansas, 8-1, in the first game of the non-conference series at the Donna J. Hardesty Sports Complex. Kaye is batting .324 on the season, just behind junior outfielder Shanel Scott, who leads the Cowgirl offense with 39 hits and a .379 batting average.

OSU relies heavily on its offense, which ranks fourth in the Big 12 with a .280 batting average while KU is ninth with a .248 clip. The Cowgirl pitching staff features only one veteran this season in junior Jessica Hoppock (8-10), who has pitched 119.1 of OSU’s 201.2 innings played this season. Hoppock holds a 3.40 ERA in 24 appearances and has struck out 123 batters. Junior transfers Kristi Giustozzi (3-0) and Chelsey Barclay (4-5) have ERAs of 2.60 and 3.62, respectively, in a combined 82.1 innings of work. OSU’s pitching ranks 10th in the league with a 3.33 team earned run average while its defense is sixth in the Big 12 with a .958 fielding percentage.

The Jayhawks and Cowgirls were supposed to meet in non-conference play this season at the Bank of Hawaii Invitational, but inclement weather cancelled the March 19 match-up. OSU leads the all-time series with KU, 54-33, but the teams have split the league series the last two seasons.

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