Jayhawks Set for Four Games This Week
April 12, 2005
COLUMBIA, Mo. –
Kansas softball will face Border Showdown rival No. 18 Missouri (31-6, 5-3 Big 12) at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Columbia, Mo. and travel to Springfield, Mo., for a single game against Southwest Missouri State at 3 p.m. Thursday. The Jayhawks (17-16, 1-5 Big 12) and Bears (13-17, 8-7 MVC) were scheduled to play a doubleheader on March 23, but had to postpone due to rain.
The Jayhawks will then return home to host No. 8 Baylor (37-6, 5-3 Big 12) Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.) at Arrocha Ballpark.
Saturday’s game against BU will be broadcast live on 1320 AM in the Lawrence area. Brian Hanni and Jud Easterday will call the action. All games can be followed via Gametracker by logging on to kuathletics.com, the official web site of Kansas athletics.
The Jayhawks are coming off their first Big 12 Conference win of the season, a 3-1 victory over Oklahoma State in Stillwater Sunday. KU’s bright spot has been its defense, which ranks second in the Big 12 with a solid .972 fielding percentage. The KU offense is hitting .263 on the season, while the pitching staff (2.83 ERA) saw improvements last week, giving up just five earned runs in 20 innings.
The KU defense is anchored by junior infielders Destiny Frankenstein, Nettie Fierros and Jessica Moppin. Frankenstein leads the KU offense with 32 hits and eight home runs for a .356 batting average. Rounding out the top of the batting order are Moppin and freshman catcher Elle Pottorf, who are hitting .299 and .273 on the season, respectively.
Outfielder Heather Stanley is KU’s lead-off hitter and paces the Jayhawks in Big 12 contests with a .333 batting average.
KU uses three starters in its pitching rotation. Settlemier (8-6) has emerged as the Jayhawks’ No. 1 after an injury kept her from pitching most of last season. Freshman lefty Christina Ross (6-5) has pitched 67.1 innings and posts a team-best 1.77 ERA to go with 64 strikeouts. Sophomore righty Kassie Humphreys (3-5) has 59.2 innings under her belt and has improved offensively this season.
The Tigers (31-6, 5-3 Big 12) are ranked 18th in this week’s ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 and riding a four-game win streak. MU swept Iowa State (April 6) and Texas Tech (April 9-10) to improve its league mark to 5-3.
Redshirt freshman Micaela Minner leads the Tiger offense with a .441 batting average, .892 slugging percentage, 45 hits, 44 RBI and 13 home runs. Seven other Tigers are hitting .300 or better this season for a team batting average of .324.
The MU pitching staff holds an ERA of 1.28 and ranks just second to Texas in the Big 12. The staff is led by sophomore Erica Peterson (14-2), who has 130 strikeouts in 102.2 innings and a 1.09 ERA. Freshman Jen Bruck (13-1), who hails from the same high school as KU sophomore Nicole Washburn, has pitched 85.2 innings and boasts a 1.39 ERA.
MU’s defense ranks seventh in the league with a .957 fielding percentage. The Tigers lead the all-times series with KU 47-34 and currently trail the Jayhawks in the 2004-05 Border Showdown series, 13.0-12.5.
The Bears are 13-17 overall and 8-7 in the Missouri Valley Conference and are coming off a sweep of its three-games series against Illinois State. The Bears tied their season high with 11 hits as four hitters had two hits on the day.
Jessica Leathers leads all SMS hitters with a .338 batting average (23 hits) to go with her nine stolen bases and .416 on-base percentage.
SMS has a three-pitcher rotation and is led by Shannon Buslepp (7-8), who has struck out 83 batters and holds a team-best 1.90 ERA in 110.2 inning of work. Melissa Porsche (4-4) and Samantha Fleeman (2-5) have combined for 77 strikeouts and are holding opponent batters to a .240 clip in a combined 27 appearances this season.
KU holds a 57-14 advantage in the all-time series against SMS, including two victories earlier this season in the Holiday Inn Jayhawk Classic March 11-12 in Lawrence. The Jayhawks prevailed 7-1 and 6-5.
SMS will host Arkansas in a doubleheader Wednesday before the Jayhawks come to town.
The Baylor Bears (37-6, 5-3 Big 12) remained in the nation’s top 10 this week with a No. 8 ranking. BU is coming off a split with No. 25 Nebraska last weekend, falling to the Huskers 4-1 Saturday and bouncing back for a 6-3 win Sunday. Of the Bears’ six losses, only two have been at the hands of unranked foes — Houston (Feb. 18, 4-3) and Oklahoma State (April 2, 3-0).
Chelsi Lake, the Feb. 15 Big 12 Hitter of the Week, leads the BU offense with a .406 batting average, .844 slugging percentage, 13 home runs and 108 total bases. Lake’s walk-off grand slam gave BU the 6-3 win over Nebraska on Sunday. Harmony Schwethel is close behind at a .401 clip and 59 hits in the lead off spot while six other Bears are hitting .300 or better.
The BU offense (.328) is backed by a strong pitching trio of Lisa Ferguson (14-1), Cristin Vitek (11-4) and Tessa Lynam (7-1), who have each earned Big 12 Player of the Week honors this season.
Baylor will face No. 4 Texas on Wednesday before its trip to Lawrence. KU leads the all-time series against BU 19-8.
Kansas Defense Impressive
KU’s defense, which ranks second in the Big 12, is on track to record its best season in program history. The Jayhawks have committed just 28 errors in 33 games this season for a .972 fielding percentage. The KU single-season record for best fielding percentage is .969, which the Jayhawks achieved in the 1982, `91 and `92 seasons.
Home Run Happy
The KU offense is posting more than twice as many home runs as its opponents in 2005. The Jayhawks have already hit 28 homers compared to their foes’ 12. Junior Destiny Frankenstein leads the pack with eight on the season and 15 for her career.