Softball Looks to Continue Road Winning Streak at Nebraska, Creighton
April 23, 2007
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
Kansas (29-18-1) will continue its current five-game road trip as it treks north to face Nebraska (34-15, 7-6 Big 12) and Creighton (32-10-1, 14-3-1 MVC). KU will play its first night game of its Big 12 season against Nebraska, Wednesday, April 25 at 6:30 p.m. The following day, KU will travel a short distance east to face Creighton in an afternoon double header starting at 3 p.m. Both Nebraska and Creighton project to have RPI’s in the Top 50, making this mid-week stretch among the most important games the Jayhawks have played this year.
The Jayhawks return 10 letterwinners from last year’s Big 12 postseason championship team, including All-Big 12 senior pitcher Kassie Humphreys (15-10). Sophomore shortstop Stevie Crisosto leads the Jayhawk attack with a .322 batting average. Head coach Tracy Bunge is in her 11th season at KU with a 347-289-2 record.
Jayhawks on the Road Again
Kansas will be on the road for its next three games. The Jayhawks have found the road, however, to be a comfortable place. KU is 10-4 as a true road team, and 12-5-1 playing at a neutral site. On the season, KU’s win percentage away from Arrocha Ballpark is .688, compared to the team’s .438 win percentage on its home field.
Following KU’s sweep of Texas Tech, the Jayhawks will head north to face the Nebraska Cornhuskers (34-15, 7-6 Big 12) on Wednesday, April 25 at 6:30 p.m. Nebraska defeated KU 3-0 on April 4 in Lawrence.
KU will play a double header the following day, Thursday, April 26, in Omaha against the Creighton Bluejays (32-10-1, 14-3-1 MVC) beginning at 3 p.m. KU swept the Lady `Jays last year, 10-5 and 8-0.
Nebraska, like KU, has superb pitching that aids in overcoming an inconsistent offense. Nebraska has won six games against ranked opponents including victories over Texas (twice), Auburn (twice), Georgia and California. Nebraska is currently one of the hottest teams in the Big 12, winning seven out of their last nine ballgames.
Nebraska has two pitchers that possess equally impressive statistics. Senior Ashley DeBuhr (17-7) was named the Big 12’s Player of the Week for the week of April 17. DeBuhr owns a 1.61 ERA and leads the team with 17 victories. She is second in the conference with 229 strikeouts–an average of 9.21 K’s per game. Sophomore Molly Hill (15-8) has the team’s lowest ERA (1.00) and forces opponents to bat .187, which is tied for second best in the Big 12 with Kansas’ Kassie Humphreys.
The Cornhusker offense is led by Meghan Mullin who bats a team best .311. She leads the team with 47 hits and twelve stolen bases. Devin Porter’s team-leading three home runs and .408 slugging percentage give the Cornhusker offense power.
Creighton will provide KU with a stern test outside of the Big12 for the first time since Kansas’ trip to Sacramento, Calif. in March. The Bluejays have defeated Nebraska and possess four wins against ranked opponents, including victories over Southern Illinois (twice) and Illinois State (twice).
At the plate, Creighton is led by Jamie Reiss. Reiss is second on the team with a .378 batting average and leads the team with 30 runs and an OBP of .515. Reiss is not alone, as TJ Eadus provides more power to the Bluejay offense, hitting 12 long-balls and leading the team with a slugging percentage of .609.
In the circle, Creighton’s ace, Tara Oltman (20-5) has an ERA of 1.11 while holding opponents to a .189 batting average. She leads the team with 159 strikeouts and has pitched 17 complete games. Amanda Hess (11-4) is a solid second option. Hess has a 2.33 ERA and allows opponents to only hit .227 against her.
Texas Tech Leftovers
Kansas’ sweep of Texas Tech was the team’s first Big 12 conference sweep since defeating Oklahoma State 4-3 (nine innings) and 2-0 on March 24-25. KU now owns a nine-game winning streak over the Red Raiders. Freshman Sara Ramirez hit two home runs in the second game, making her the first Jayhawk this season to hit two bombs in the same game. Ramirez is now in a tie for third place with Nettie Fierros for the most home runs in a season by a Jayhawk freshman. Current Kansas student-assistant coach, Jessica Moppin, holds the freshman record with 11 home runs. Kassie Humphreys had a stellar weekend, holding Tech to four hits and two runs in 11 innings of work. Sophomore Elle Pottorf busted out of her recent slump going two-for-three with two RBI’s in the 5-3 victory over Tech on Sunday afternoon.
Crisosto Having Record-Setting Season
Sophomore shortstop Stevie Crisosto has been the team’s most consistent hitter this season. She has recorded at least one hit in 71% of the team’s games while batting .322. She is second on the team with a .483 slugging percentage and leads the team in total bases with 69. The Palo Cedro, Calif. native is also the Jayhawks’ most effective base-runner, as she leads the team with 12 stolen bases.
At Crisosto’s current pace, her name will appear in the record books for the best season by a Kansas sophomore. With at least 10 games to play, she ranks fifth for runs scored with 30 and is in a tie for third with four home runs. Crisosto’s nine doubles and 12 stolen bases are tied for fifth in their respective categories among all-time KU sophomores.
Up Next: KU Hosts Top 5 Oklahoma
Following KU’s five game road excurion will be its final home games of the season against No. 4 Oklahoma (47-5, 12-3 Big 12). The Sooners are the Big 12’s highest ranked team and lead the conference with a .338 batting average–sixteen percentage points higher than second-place Baylor. The weekend series against OU will be the last home games for two Jayhawk seniors: Kassie Humphreys and Nicole Washburn. Oklahoma will be looking for revenge from the Jayhawks, as KU defeated OU 4-2 in last year’s Big 12 Tournament Championship Game.