Jayhawk Softball Prepares For Texas Tech This Weekend
April 2, 2009
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
Following its first Big 12 Conference victory of the season and fourth win over a ranked opponent, the Kansas softball team (11-20, 1-3 Big 12) hits the road as it heads to Texas Tech this weekend, April 4-5, for a pair of league games. KU and the Red Raiders (12-28, 1-6 Big 12) are scheduled to play at 2 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday.
Live stats are available for all 2009 Kansas softball contests online at www.KUAthletics.com, the official website for Kansas Athletics.
The Jayhawks are 11-20 overall and 1-3 in the Big 12 after splitting a doubleheader with border rival Missouri on Wednesday as they look to build some momentum heading into this weekend’s league contests. Since the start of conference play, senior Dougie McCaulley has led the team with a .385 batting average in Big 12 games, 15th in the conference. For the season, senior Val Chapple is tops on the team averaging .330 followed by sophomore Liz Kocon (.329). Kocon leads the Jayhawks with 19 RBIs, while sophomore Allie Clark has 17 with a team-high four home runs. Kocon has six hits and six RBIs in her last five outings. Senior Val George leads KU with a 2.90 ERA and has 121 strikeouts in 111.0 innings of work. Junior Sarah Vertelka is right behind George with a 2.98 ERA and has thrown 58.2 innings in 19 appearances.
Scouting Texas Tech
Texas Tech has already played seven conference games and is 1-6 in Big 12 play. The Red Raiders have won their last two contests to stop a four game skid and are 12-28 overall on the season, including 0-4 on their home field. Elizabeth Eimen paces the team with a .379 batting average. Alex Watkins, a .324 batter, leads Tech with 23 RBIs with the help of her team-high 10 doubles and five home runs. Megan Shupp, who is averaging .296 through all games, leads the team with a .412 average during conference games. Watkins and Ashly Jacobs share a majority of the time from the pitcher’s circle. Watkins, who recorded Texas Tech’s last two victories, has a 4.43 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 102.2 innings of work. Jacobs has tossed 123.2 innings with 77 strikeouts and holds a 4.70 ERA. Amy Suiter is in her first season as head coach of the Red Raiders softball program, which returned eight of its nine letterwinners from 2008.
Kansas and Texas Tech met just two times on the softball diamond prior to the inception of the Big 12 Conference. KU leads the all-time series with the Red Raiders 24-10, including 10-5 in Lubbock, and has won the last 11 meetings. The Jayhawks last lost at Texas Tech in 2003.
Amanda Jobe was the team hero in Wednesday evening’s nightcap victory over No. 11 Missouri. After sophomore Liz Kocon knotted the score at one a piece thanks to her leadoff home run, Jobe stepped up three batters later and smashed a pitch over the right centerfield fence for the game-winner.
Bunge Closing In on Milestone Victory
In her 13th season at the helm of the Jayhawks’ softball program, coach Tracy Bunge is closing in on another milestone victory. The 1986 All-American is just one win shy of reaching 400 career wins at Kansas. Through 12-plus seasons, Bunge is 399-334-2 (.545) all-time at KU and became the program’s winningest softball coach in 2007.
Stepping Up to the Challenge
Kansas picked up its fourth win over a ranked opponent this season with its win over No. 11 Missouri Wednesday. Better yet, it was the Jayhawks’ fourth win over a top 12 team. KU is 4-4 versus ranked foes this season having picked up wins over No. 11 Missouri, 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.
Following its brief two-game series on the road at Texas Tech, the Jayhawk softball team returns to the friendly confines of Arrocha Ballpark April 8 to host Nebraska in the first two games of a six-game homestand. KU and NU are scheduled to play a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m. Kansas then plays Oklahoma April 10-11 and UMKC on April 14 in Lawrence.