Kansas Heads to No. 22/18 Nebraska for Midweek Matchup
April 15, 2013
LAWRENCE, Kan. – For the first time as non-conference foes, Kansas and No. 22/18 Nebraska will meet on the softball field. The two are set to square off at Bowlin Field Wednesday at 6 p.m.
FOLLOW THE HAWKS
A free live audio stream will be broadcast on AT&T Jayhawk All-Access with Pete Knutson and Kevin McCarty on the call. In addition, fans can follow the action on GameTracker, located on the softball schedule page of KUAthletics.com. Live scoring and weather updates can also be found by following JayhawkSoftball on Twitter.
Vs. Nebraska (Series Tied, 51-51): Last season marked the first time since 1979 that the Huskers and Jayhawks did not face each other. One of the oldest opponents in Kansas softball history, KU and NU have met 102 times. Oklahoma State (103) and Missouri (103) are the only schools Kansas has played more often. Prior to the Huskers joining the Big Ten at the conclusion of the 2011 season, Nebraska had won four of the last five meetings against KU.
- For the 10th-straight week, Kansas leads the Big 12 in batting average as the Jayhawks are hitting .349 as a team entering the week. That mark ranks fourth in the NCAA.
- Senior left fielder Maggie Hull is tied with OU’s Lauren Chamberlain for the league’s lead in batting average (.472).
- In a one-week span, Kansas will travel to and from Lawrence to Greenville, S.C. (Furman) to Lincoln, Neb. (Nebraska) and to Stillwater, Okla. (Oklahoma State) for a total of 2,824 miles.
- Wednesday’s meeting is the first of four midweek games this season. KU and Missouri State were originally scheduled to be the first one on March 21, but inclement weather cancelled the doubleheader.
- Maggie Hull ended her 20-game hit streak in the series opener at Furman (4/13). Her historic stretch was the longest at KU in the modern era (*Box scores not available before 1990). After breaking the streak, she doubled in the next two games.
- Sophomore third baseman Chanin Naudin has a home run in four of KU’s last six games as she hit a home run in each of KU’s three games at Texas Tech and another in the series finale at Furman.
- If the season ended today, Kansas’ .349 team average would rank first in Big 12 history as the current record is held by Texas Tech (.340, 2011). KU’s best team average is .311, set in 1985. (NCAA record: .440, Alcorn, 1997)
- The dynamic duo of Maggie Hull and freshman catcher Alex Hugo remain in the top five in the Big 12 in batting average. Hull leads the Big 12 and is 11th in the country with her .472 batting average. Hugo is hitting at a .429 clip, good for fourth in the league and tied for 32nd in the nation.
- Kansas leads the Big 12 with its .979 fielding percentage, which ranks fifth in the country.
- Hugo has nine home runs heading into the midweek contest and needs only two more to tie the Kansas freshman record (Jessica Moppin, 11, 2003).
No. 22/18 NEBRASKA (30-9, 8-3 Big Ten)
Led by coaching veteran and NFCA Hall of Famer Rhonda Revelle in her 21st season at the helm, Nebraska plays host to Big Ten foe Minnesota in a Tuesday doubleheader before welcoming the Jayhawks on Wednesday. A perennial power during their Big Eight and Big 12 days, the Huskers finished third in their inaugural Big Ten season with a 33-22 overall and 14-9 conference record in 2012.
Before hosting Minnesota on Tuesday, Nebraska enters the week on a hot streak, winning seven of its last 10 games. A top-25 team for the majority of the season, the Huskers handed the No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners their first loss – one of only two – of the year. As a unit, Nebraska is hitting a collective .291 with 37 home runs and 51 doubles.
A young squad, four of the top five batting averages on the team are locked down by freshmen. Rookie shortstop Alicia Armstrong leads the squad with a .365 batting average, starting 38 of Nebraska’s 39 games. Freshman right fielder Brooke Thomason checks in right behind her with a .358 average and a team-leading 44 hits. In centerfield, freshman Kiki Stokes paces the offense with 36 runs scored and 12 stolen bases. A veteran provides the power, however, as junior catcher Taylor Edwards leads the team in home runs (9), doubles (10) and RBIs (40).
Their offense is powerful, but the Husker pitchers come in with even better numbers. As a unit, Nebraska leads the Big Ten with a 1.74 ERA, which checks in 14th nationally this week, and again a freshman leads the way. Right-handed rookie Emily Lockman (11-3) holds a team-best 1.48 ERA with 99 innings pitched. It was her that threw the shutout against the No. 1 Sooners.
An All-Big 12 and All-Big Ten honoree, junior right-handed pitcher Tatum Edwards (19-6) shoulders the majority of the workload in the circle with 147 innings pitched in 2013. She has 140 strikeouts to her credit and is holding batters to a .187 average. Edwards also hit the solo bomb that defeated the Sooners, 1-0.
HEAD COACH Megan Smith
On facing an elite program in top-25 Nebraska:
“Nebraska is very strong in everything they do, great pitching, great offense and great defense. Wednesday will definitely be a challenge, but it will be really good for us to face a really strong program in Nebraska before going to Oklahoma State this weekend. Nebraska is solid all the way around so it will be a really good test for us and we’re excited to see how we respond to it.”
On trying to schedule teams close to players’ hometowns (Mariah Montgomery is from Ralston, Neb.):
“That’s the reason we scheduled it, was for Mia (Mariah Montgomery). Her freshman year we played there and had a really good game with her family there. It’s nice to get them back to their home states and close to their hometowns as much as we can. Most of our girls are from Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, and we play those schools a lot. But since Nebraska left, I thought it would be cool to get her back there one more time.”
On traveling from South Carolina to Nebraska to Oklahoma in a week’s span and the possible fatigue effect:
“The thought entered my mind that this is our first midweek game and midweeks are different. We’re used to the weekend routine and, so far, haven’t had to do a midweek. So it’s going to be different for us, but I think the excitement of who we’re playing is going to override any issues we would have. Our girls are really excited about playing Nebraska.”
Kansas gets back to Big 12 Conference play this weekend when the Jayhawks travel to Stillwater, Okla., for a three-game series at Oklahoma State. First pitch times for the Friday-Saturday-Sunday series are 5:30 p.m., noon and noon.
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