Kansas to Battle Texas in Key Conference Series

April 6, 2007


First Pitch
After a five-game home stand, Kansas will take the to the road for three straight games, starting this weekend in Austin and concluding April 11 in Columbia, Mo. Kansas’ (26-13-1, 2-3 Big12) weekend foe will be the No. 11/13 Texas Longhorns(27-9, 2-3 Big 12). First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday. The mid-week game against the red-hot Missouri Tigers (27-17, 3-0 Big 12) is slated for 6 p.m. Live Gametracker will be available for all games on kuathletics.com.

The Jayhawks return 10 letterwinners from last year’s Big 12 postseason championship team, including All-Big 12 senior pitcher Kassie Humphreys (12-6). Sophomore shortstop Stevie Crisosto leads the Jayhawk attack with a .344 batting average. Head coach Tracy Bunge is in her 11th season at KU with a 344-284-2 record.

Jayhawks Travel to Texas for a Key Weekend Series
The Jayhawks wil travel to No. 11/13 Texas for their second Big 12 Conference weekend road series Saturday and Sunday at Red McCombs Field. Both teams sit in a tie for sixth place with Conference records of 2-3.

Although Texas leads the all-time series against the `Hawks, 12-9, the Jayhawks won the last meeting 1-0 over the 2nd ranked Longhorns on April 23, 2006 at Arrocha Ballpark. Serena Settlemier pitched a two-hitter against the Longhorns to help pick up the Jayahwks’ best win of the season. Do not expect many runs to be scored this weekend, as each of the last three games between KU and Texas have been decided by a score of 1-0.

About Texas
No. 11/13 Texas bounced back from a weekend sweep to Missouri with a solid 2-0 victory over Texas State in San Marcos, Texas on Wednesday. The Longhorns will host in-state rival Baylor following the Kansas series for a showdown of ranked teams. Texas will offer the Jayhawks an opportunity to win their second game of the season against a ranked foe. The last victory over a ranked team for the Jayhawks was a 1-0 win versus Florida State on February 16.

Texas is led by two fantastic pitchers, junior Meagan Denny (18-8) and freshman Erin Tresselt (7-1). Denny leads the Big 12 in appearances (30), games started (27), shutouts (nine) and strikeouts (245). Denny’s 245 strikeouts are 73 more than any other Big 12 hurler. Tresselt is tops in the Big 12 with a 1.02 ERA and ranks second with three saves, trailing KU pitcher Kassie Humphreys.

The Longhorn attack is paced by sophomore Shannon Thomas and freshman Loryn Johnson. Thomas leads the Big 12 with five triples and the team with a .371 average. Johnson, an Alvin, Texas native, is tops on the team in doubles (nine) and on base percentage (.470).

Baylor/Arkansas/Nebraska Leftovers
Kansas was swept in their Big 12 home opener against Baylor by scores of 8-2 and 5-3, but senior Kassie Humphreys passed head coach Tracy Bunge for fourth place on the school’s all-time strikeout list. KU has struggled recently against the Lady Bears, as they have dropped eight of their last 10 going back to 2003. The Jayhawks rebounded with a mid-week split with Arkansas of the SEC. Sophomore pitcher Valerie George continued to lower her ERA with strong performances against Arkansas and Nebraska. George entered the week with a 1.74 ERA and finished it with a 1.52 ERA in 19 apperances. Sophomore Stevie Crisosto had her 13-game hit streak snapped, but has still recorded a hit in 16 of her last 18 games.

`Hawks Hot In the Circle
The Kansas pitching staff has shined throughout the season. Kansas has a 1.97 team ERA and allows opponents to a .205 batting average. KU is led by 2006 All-Big 12 Pitcher Kassie Humphreys. She leads the team with 140 strikeouts and ranks in the Top 10 for nearly every KU career pitching statistic.

Humphreys is not alone, as two underclassmen are beginning to step up. Sophomore Valerie George (9-3) leads the team with a 1.52 ERA and has won nine of her last 10 decisions. Freshman Sarah Vertelka has seen her ERA fall in recent weeks with solid outings, including a five and two-third innings outing against Arkansas where the California native gave up no earned runs and only four hits.

Up Next: KU hosts Texas A&M, Mizzou
Following the three-game road trip, the Jayhawks will return to Arrocha Ballpark for a three-game home stand against the Texas A&M Aggies and the Missouri Tigers. KU will host A&M for a weekend series on April 14-15, and Mizzou on April 18. The Sunday, April 15 game against the Aggies is Bark in the Park Day at Arrocha Ballpark and the first 500 fans to the game against Missouri will receive pompons.

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