Kansas , UMKC to Square Off in Midweek Meeting
April 22, 2013
LAWRENCE, Kan. – For the third time this season, the Jayhawk softball team will attempt to play a midweek game. With a new date and location, the Kansas and UMKC doubleheader is officially set to go at Arrocha Ballpark at 5/7 p.m.
The Jayhawks and Kangaroos were originally scheduled to play on Tuesday, April 23, at Missouri 3&2 Field in Kansas City, Mo. Weather and lighting issues then forced the games to be moved to Arrocha Ballpark in Lawrence, Kan., on Wednesday, April 24.
FOLLOW THE HAWKS
A live audio stream of both games will be available on AT&T Jayhawk All-Access free of charge. Pete Knutson and former Jayhawk softball player Liz Kocon will have the call. In addition, fans can follow the action on GameTracker, located on the softball schedule page of KUAthletics.com. Live scoring and updates can also be found by following KUSoftball on Twitter.
Vs. UMKC (Kansas leads, 29-2): Kansas and UMKC have played at least once every year since 1999 in a series that dates back to 1988. Kansas has won 19 of the last 20 meetings with the last loss to UMKC coming on March 30, 2011 in Kansas City. Both games of the doubleheader were close last year as KU won 3-1 and 3-2 at Arrocha Ballpark. KU is 18-0 against the ‘Roos in Lawrence.
- Wednesday will mark the first midweek games of the season for Kansas, after canceling the previous two attempts (vs. Missouri State; at Nebraska) due to weather.
- Prior to moving the doubleheader to Lawrence, Kansas was in danger of playing its fewest number of home games (10) since hosting only five contests in 1984.
- For the 11th-straight week, Kansas leads the Big 12 in batting average as the Jayhawks are hitting .346 as a team. No team other than KU has led the league this year and that mark ranks fourth in the latest NCAA stats (4/15).
- Senior left fielder Maggie Hull and senior first baseman Mariah Montgomery made their 200th-consecutive start on Sunday at Oklahoma State. They are the first players to reach that milestone in the Megan Smith era.
- Hull also continues her reign as the Big 12 batting average leader, holding down a .450 average entering the week.
- If the season ended today, Kansas’ .346 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.
- With two home runs in KU’s win over Oklahoma State (4/20), freshman catcher Alex Hugo tied the Kansas freshman record (Jessica Moppin, 11, 2003).
- The dynamic duo of Maggie Hull and freshman catcher Alex Hugo rank in the top-three in the Big 12 in batting average. Hull’s Big 12-best .450 mark sits only two spots above Hugo’s .434 clip, which is good for third in the league and tied for 32nd in the nation.
- Kansas leads the Big 12 with its .980 fielding percentage, which ranks fifth in the country.
UMKC (16-17, 5-3 Summit League)
Also led by a Coach Smith – head coach Meredith Smith – the Kangaroos were voted to finish fourth in the 2013 Summit League Preseason Poll. Smith is in her seventh season at the helm of the Kansas City program and has dealt with plenty of weather problems as well this season, cancelling seven games and postponing three entire series. Regardless, the ‘Roos come in on a four-game win streak.
UMKC is hitting a solid .289 as a team with five starters hitting .300 or better. Senior right fielder Emily Ott sets the tone with a .382 average and .551 slugging percentage. She also leads the team with nine doubles and is tied with freshman designated player Liz Broyles for the team-lead with 34 hits. Freshman centerfielder Brooke Parker has swiped 13 bases, while fellow rookie Katie Kelley has a team-leading five home runs. Although she’s not in the crew hitting above .300, sophomore shortstop Marlene Maples paces the offense with 28 RBIs.
In the circle, the ‘Roos pitching staff holds down a 6.50 ERA and is made up of two main components. Senior right-hander Deanna Friese (11-9) and sophomore Cinda Ramos (4-7) shoulder the majority of the work. Friese leads the squad with 122.2 innings pitched, a .258 opposing batting average, 15 complete games and 152 strikeouts. Ramos checks in with 66 innings under her belt and 28 strikeouts.
HEAD COACH Megan Smith
On stepping away from Big 12 play to face UMKC:
“I think we have to focus on ourselves and getting back on track with some things. UMKC is always a solid team that plays extremely well. It will be a good challenge for us before we play Baylor this weekend.”
On starting the nine-game homestand:
“We like being on the road and we do well on the road, but in all honesty it’s been a detriment this year, because we haven’t been able to play at home. It makes a difference in terms of our kids’ stress levels and now they’ll be able to stay at home and sleep in their own beds and have the comfort of that. We are excited to be at home for a bit.”
On jump-starting the offense:
“It is more of a state of mind than anything. There are some mechanical things that we will work on with our offense, but it is more of a state of mind. It is having that fighter mentality when you get in the box, and that competitiveness that you have when you are reacting to a pitcher. Whenever we have runners in scoring position, instead of taking the lead and attacking, we step back and let the pitcher attack us. We have to do a better job with that. We are going to talk about it and work on some things at practice. We have a great offense and we have really good hitters, it’s just a matter of getting them to produce in RBI situations.”
On UMKC’s high ERA and high batting average:
“I don’t look at their pitchers ERAs. I look at the fact that they have a pitcher who can strike out a lot of people (Deanna Friese) and hold people to a low batting average. She has always pitched well against us, they have always played well against us and I’m sure this year will be the same. These will be two really good games.”
On seniors Maggie Hull and Mariah Montgomery starting 200-consecutive games:
“That is very cool and you don’t really think about those things when you are going through your career, but it is a pretty cool accomplishment. They have been solid fixtures in the program as we are rebuilding and getting it to the level that we want to get it to and they have been a big part of that. It is hard to do. A lot of things have to go your way for you to start that many games. Not only do you have to be producing enough to earn the spot, but you also have to be healthy enough. That is a tough thing to do and I would imagine it doesn’t happen to a lot of people.”
Kansas will stay home to host No. 19/16 Baylor from April 26-28 inside Arrocha Ballpark. Game times are set for 6 p.m., 2 p.m. and noon.
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