Jayhawks Welcome No. 17/17 Texas this Weekend in Conference Home Opener
April 1, 2010
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
Kansas softball (16-17, 0-2 Big 12) will hold its Big 12 home opener this weekend, April 2-3, when it welcomes No. 17/17 Texas (29-8, 2-0 Big 12) to Arrocha Ballpark. The two-game series begins on Friday with a 4 p.m. contest while Saturday’s game is slated for noon.
Fans can take advantage of a 2-for-1 special Friday evening where they can purchase two tickets for the price of one. At Saturday’s game, a free Kansas memo board will be given away while supplies last.
Live stats for both games will be available via Gametracker on the KU Athletics website at www.KUAthletics.com/softball.
At 16-17 overall, KU is led by freshman Rosie Hull’s .415 batting average. Fellow freshman Alex Jones is just behind hitting .377. Junior Brittany Hile hit a grand slam in Tuesday’s game to raise her RBI total to a team-high 20. In the pitching circle, junior Allie Clark owns a 3.28 ERA and five wins. Senior Sara Vertelka has six wins from the circle to go along with a team-high 47 strikeouts.
Following an 8-0 shutout versus Texas State Wednesday to extend a five-game win streak, No. 17/17 Texas is 29-8 overall, including 2-0 in Big 12 play after sweeping Nebraska in its conference opener. Tallie Thrasher is one of two players hitting over .400 with a team-best .433 batting average followed by Taylor Hoagland’s .402 average. Amy Hooks (.372) has batted in a team-high 24 RBIs. As a team, UT is second in the Big 12 batting .324. Blair Luna leads a trio of Longhorn pitchers with a 1.07 ERA. She is 16-4 with 208 strikeouts and ranks in the top 10 nationally for strikeouts per seven innings.
Connie Clark is 509-245-3 in her 14th season of coaching, all at Texas. The Longhorns return 11 letterwinners from its 40-20 team a year ago that made an NCAA Regional.
Kansas and Texas did not begin playing each other on the softball diamond until the Longhorns joined the Big 12 in 1997. Since then, Texas has gone 16-11 versus KU to lead the series. However, the Jayhawks are 10-4 versus UT in Lawrence and have split the last two series at Arrocha Ballpark. Currently, Texas has won the last three matchups versus Kansas.
Hile’s Homer is Grand
Junior Brittany Hile hit her first career grand slam in KU’s first game versus UMKC Tuesday night. The round-tripper scored the Jayhawks’ first runs of the game as Kansas went on to win 5-1. Hile, who is 4-for-7 in bases loaded situations this season, hit KU’s first grand slam since current Jayhawk Liz Kocon recorded a four-run homer at Baylor on April 5, 2008.
Big 12 One of Toughest in the Nation
After opening is Big 12 Conference slate at then-No. 19/17 Texas A&M last weekend, Kansas will open its home conference schedule versus No. 17/17 Texas and the schedule does not get any easier. Currently, five Big 12 schools are ranked in the top 25- Missouri (4/4), Oklahoma (13/13), Oklahoma State (15/15), Texas (17/17) and Texas A&M (20/18)- while Baylor and Texas Tech are each receiving votes in at least one of the two major softball polls.
KU will play its third-straight ranked Big 12 team on Wednesday, April 7 at No. 4/4 Missouri. The rivalry series is a doubleheader scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.