Jayhawks To Face Three Top-25 Teams This Week
April 19, 2005
LINCOLN, Neb. –
The Jayhawks’ schedule does not get any easier this week as they face three more Top-25 teams. Kansas will travel to Lincoln for a single game with No. 24 Nebraska Wednesday (6 p.m.), and continue on to Omaha for a doubleheader with No. 21 Creighton Thursday at 2 p.m. The Jayhawks return home to host No. 6 Oklahoma in a Big 12 series at Arrocha Ballpark Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.).
All games can be followed via Gametracker by logging on to kuathletics.com, the official web site of Kansas athletics.
The Jayhawks are trying to halt a two-game skid after losing to No. 8 Baylor in a Big 12 series at home last weekend. Last week, the offense scored 23 runs off 33 hits and batted .289, its best weekly performance in Big 12 play this season. KU’s bright spot has been its defense, which ranks second in the Big 12 with a solid .970 fielding percentage. The KU offense is hitting .266 on the season, while the pitching staff (2.92 ERA) is looking for consistency as it gets deeper into league play.
The KU defense is anchored by junior infielders Destiny Frankenstein, Nettie Fierros and Jessica Moppin. Frankenstein leads the KU offense with 37 hits and eight home runs for a .359 batting average (.385 Big 12) and went a career-best 4-for-4 against No. 8 Baylor on Sunday. Junior outfielder Ashley Frazer, who led the Jayhawks last week with six hits and a .545 batting average, is now second on the squad with a .326 mark (.500 Big 12).
Rounding out the top of the batting order are Moppin and freshman catcher Elle Pottorf, who are hitting .279 and .276 on the season, respectively.
Fierros hit two home runs for a .417 clip last week while junior outfielder Heather Stanley is KU’s lead-off hitter and boasts a .360 batting average in Big 12 play.
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 (8-6) has pitched 84.1 innings and has posted a team-best 1.74 ERA to go with 77 strikeouts. Sophomore righty Kassie Humphreys (3-6) has 62.1 innings under her belt and has improved offensively this season.
About the No. 24 Huskers
Kansas and Nebraska will face off Wednesday in part one of the teams’ annual split Big 12 series. The No. 24 Huskers are riding a two-game win streak after sweeping a series against Texas Tech last weekend. Nebraska (27-15, 5-5 Big 12) currently sits in sixth place in the league standings and is looking to move above .500 in conference play.
The Husker offense managed 16 hits in the Texas A&M series and is hitting .295 on the season. Four Husker starters — Anne Steffen, Elizabeth Rock, Sheena Lawrick and Jessica Yoachim — are batting .348 or better with 43 or more hits on the season. Steffen, a senior infielder, leads NU with a .441 average at the plate — good for second in the Big 12.
NU utilizes two pitchers in its starting rotation, which is anchored by sophomore righty Ashley DeBuhr (17-13). DeBuhr boasts a 1.54 ERA and has struck out 210 batters in 190.2 innings of work. Freshman Jordan Keen (8-2) has made 18 appearances this season (77.0 innings) and is posting a 1.73 ERA.
Nebraska’s defense has improved from earlier in the season and ranks seventh in the league with a .959 fielding percentage.
KU leads the all-time series against the Huskers, 43-41.
About No. 21 Creighton
KU will take a break from league play for a doubleheader with Creighton on Thursday in Omaha, Neb. The Blue Jays (36-4, 16-1 Mid Continent Conference) have won 16 straight games dating back to a 2-1 loss to Illinois State on March 26. Creighton is ranked 21st in this week’s ESPN.com./USA Softball Poll.
The Blue Jays are hitting .295 on the season and are led by Melanie Dorsey’s 51 hits and .418 batting average. Five other Creighton batters are hitting above a .313 clip while the Blue Jay defense boasts a .974 fielding percentage.
CU’s pitching staff is holding opponents to an impressive .166 batting average while holding a 1.20 team ERA. The duo of Abby Johnson (14-2, 0.94 ERA) and Tammy Nielsen (21-2, 1.36 ERA) have struck out a combined 318 batters this season and are gunning for all-conference accolades.
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