Jayhawks To Battle Tigers in Columbia

April 11, 2006


Kansas softball wraps up its five-game road stint Wednesday night with a Big 12 contest against Border Showdown rival Missouri in Columbia, Mo. The Jayhawks (21-19, 2-5) and Tigers (18-17, 2-4) will face off Wednesday at 6 p.m. at University Field. KU currently holds a 17.5 to 10.5 lead in the 2005-06 Border Showdown with 1.5 points up for grabs Wednesday. The Jayhawks, led by junior pitcher Kassie Humphreys, have won three of their last four games and given up just seven runs in their last nine outings. The Tigers are trying to stop a six-game skid and coming off two losses (4-3, 1-0) to #1 Texas over the weekend.

The Jayhawks return to Arrocha Ballpark Saturday to begin a seven-game home stretch. KU will open the home stand with a Big 12 series against Texas Tech Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at noon. Live Gametracker is available for all KU games.

-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 39. Frankenstein is next with 30 for her career, while Moppin (28) and senior Nettie Fierros (15) also rank in KU’s career Top 10.
-With her win over Oklahoma State on April 1, head coach Tracy Bunge picked up her 300th victory at Kansas and is just five wins away from her 400th as a head coach overall.
-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 has 40 homers and is fielding .957 through 40 games this season.

The Tigers (18-17, 2-4 Big 12) have lost their last six games — their longest losing streak of the season — but are 7-6 at home in 2006. Mizzou is coming off two one-run losses to top-ranked Texas over the weekend, 4-3 and 1-0, and was swept by Baylor the previous week. The Tigers picked up their first league wins from #21 Oklahoma March 25-26 in Norman, Okla.

Sophomore pitcher Jen Bruck leads the MU offense with a .355 batting average in 32 starts this season. Bruck, a high school teammate of KU’s Nicole Washburn at Fort Zumwalt High in St. Peters, Mo., also leads the squad with a 16-12 record, 3.31 ERA and 152.1 innings in the circle. Three other Tigers — Michaela Minner (.346), Amy Henke (.333) and Leanne Bowers (.305) — are hitting above the .300 mark while the Tiger offense is batting .268, good for sixth in the league. Freshman hurler Megan Dennis (2-4) has started 18 games — more than Bruck’s 17 — but has only thrown 65.2 innings and two complete games. The MU pitching staff ranks ninth in the conference with a 3.70 ERA.

Mizzou leads the all-time series against KU, 48-35. The Tigers have claimed eight of the last nine meetings with the Jayhawks. KU won 5-3 in Columbia on April 13, 2005, marking their first victory over MU since April 19, 2001.

Despite a 15-23 overall record, the Red Raiders are 4-4 in Big 12 play after a series sweep of Iowa State last weekend and impressive wins over Texas A&M and Oklahoma. Tech will play four games mid-week — non-conference doubleheaders with Texas-Arlington and North Texas — before heading to Lawrence for the Easter weekend series.

For the second consecutive week, Kassie Humphreys was named Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Week, the league office announced Tuesday. Humphreys claims her third overall and second straight honor in 2006. It also marks the first time in Big 12 history that KU has won the pitcher award in consecutive weeks. Humphreys tallied 34 strikeouts and allowed just five hits along with a 0.00 ERA in 27 innings. The Glendale, Ariz., righty held opposing hitters to a .059 batting average and surrendered only three unearned runs in four appearances. Humphreys tossed a no-hitter against No. 19 Nebraska en route to striking out 10 batters in the 2-0 loss. The following day, the 5-11 junior countered Tuesday’s performance with an eight-strikeout, one-hit win at Arkansas. Humphreys then led KU to its first win over Baylor in three years on Saturday, tying a career high with 13 strikeouts, and allowing just two hits in 11 innings of work.

Kansas went 3-2 last week with wins at Arkansas and #18 Baylor … After falling to #19 Nebraska, 2-0, despite a no-hitter by junior pitcher Kassie Humphreys, the Jayhawks (21-19, 2-5 Big 12) won their next three … Highlighting the week was a 2-1, 11-inning win at #18 Baylor … Humphreys (9-12) held a 0.00 ERA, allowed five hits and struck out 34 in four appearances last week … Humphreys was named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week on April 4 while senior pitcher/designated player Serena Settlemier earned Big 12 Player of the Week honors … Settlemier’s 17 home runs on the season are the second-most in the nation and her 39 career dingers are the most in KU history.

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