KU Hosts No. 3 Oklahoma for Final Home Series of Season
April 27, 2007
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
Kansas (31-18-1, 6-8 Big 12) welcomes No. 3 Oklahoma (48-5, 13-3 Big 12) to Arrocha Ballpark for its final home games of the year this weekend. First pitch is scheduled for Saturday, April 28 at 2 p.m., with Senior Day on Sunday, April 29 at 1 p.m. Kansas will recognize this year’s seniors, Kassie Humphreys and Nicole Washburn, with a ceremony prior to Sunday’s ball game. The mid-week games will pit in-state rival Wichita State (30-25) against the Jayhawks in an evening doubleheader on Wednesday, May 2 with the first game slated for 5 p.m.
The Jayhawks return 10 letterwinners from last year’s Big 12 postseason championship team, including All-Big 12 senior pitcher Kassie Humphreys (17-10). Sophomore shortstop Stevie Crisosto leads the Jayhawk attack with a .313 batting average. Head coach Tracy Bunge is in her 11th season at KU with a 349-289-2 record.
Jayhawks Host No. 3 Oklahoma on Senior Day
Kansas’ current four-game winning streak is the team’s longest win streak since recording four straight victories against Oklahoma State and Missouri State on March 24-28. Oklahoma, however, arrives in Lawrence as hot as any team in the country, winning 10 of their last 11 games, including six straight. Kansas head coach Tracy Bunge is 6-21 against Oklahoma while at KU, but defeated OU last year in the Big 12 Tournament final, 4-2, to win Kansas’ first ever Big 12 Tournament Championship.
Wichita State will provide KU with its final non-conference tune-up before heading into the postseason. The teams last met on May 3, 2006 with the Jayhawks coming out on top with a 2-1 victory. Prior to that win, however, Wichita State had recorded six victories in seven contests.
No. 3 Oklahoma is the highest ranked Big 12 school and owns the leauge’s best winning percentage. The Sooners own 10 victories against ranked opponents and have only been shutout twice this season. OU’s offensive attack is one of the best in the country, and is tops in the Big 12. OU is 1st in the conference with a .337 batting average.
Oklahoma is led offensively by lead-off hitter Norrelle Dickson. Dickson leads the league in batting average (.484), hits (77), and runs scored (65). OU’s offense is not limited to Dickson, as four other players bat over .300 including sophomore Samantha Ricketts. Ricketts is the Big 12 leader in RBI’s (75), home runs (16) and total bases (126).
Oklahoma’s pitching staff is nearly as impressive as its offensive counterpart. Junior Lauren Eckermann (30-2) has pitched 25 complete games and has the league’s eighth best ERA despite pitching the most innings (212.0). KU might also face sophomore pitcher D.J. Mathis (12-3). Mathis has 88 strikeouts on the season and boasts a 2.31 ERA.
Kassie Humphreys’ two wins on the same day was the first time a KU pitcher earned two victories on the same day since Humphreys recorded two victories against New Mexico and North Dakota State on March 10. Humphreys was effective at the plate as well, going two for five with two RBI’s. Sophomore Val Chapple busted out of a recent slump going three for six with one run and one RBI. KU has now recorded six hits in each of the past three games.
Jayhawk Senior Nicole Washburn
A graduate of Fort Zumwalt West High School and native of St. Peters, Missouri, Nicole Washburn has started at first base all four years of her career. As a freshman, Nicole hit .226 and led the Jayhawks with a team-high nine doubles in 2004. In 2005 and 2006, Nicole earned Academic All-Big 12 Conference Second Team honors for maintaining a 3.0 GPA. This season, Nicole has already hit a career-best four home runs, good for third-best on the team.
In all, Nicole has played in 200 games, notched more than 105 hits, scored 32 runs and totaled over 1,100 putouts at first base.
Jayhawk Senior Kassie Humphreys
Heralded as one of the top pitchers in the state of Arizona out of Glendale High School, Kassie Humphreys has made a name for herself as one of the best Jayhawks to grace the circle. The Glendale native blew onto the scene as a freshman at KU in 2004, posting a 1.57 ERA and holding opponent hitters to a .195 batting average in 178 innings. Her 181 strikeouts as a rookie ranked second all-time for a KU freshman behind All-American Tracy Bunge.
Despite a disappointing sophomore campaign, Kassie again took the Big 12 by storm as a junior, posting a 1.19 ERA and holding batters to a .156 batting average — second in the league only to National Player of the Year Cat Osterman. Kassie also totaled 262 strikeouts — the most by a Jayhawk since the 1994 season — and led KU to its first-ever Big 12 Postseason Championship. A 2006 All-Big 12 and Academic All-Big 12 Second Team honoree, Kassie was named USA Softball Pitcher of the Week on May 14 and earned NFCA Second-Team All-Region honors.
In 2007, Kassie is on her way to leaving her name at or near the top of every KU career pitching record and will go down as one of the top aces in school history.
The Jayhawks have several promotions planned for the weekend, including recognition of the 2007 senior class. On Saturday, the first 500 fans in attendance will receive a free Jayhawk Stress Toy. Additionally, one lucky fan will be selected to compete in the $5,000 Balls and Strikes contest sponsored by AT&T.
On Sunday, Kansas will honor seniors Kassie Humphreys and Nicole Washburn with a special pre-game ceremony. Sunday will also be “Grow Your Own Bat” day. In recognition of Arbor Day (April 27) fans will receive a free tree upon exit. These ready to plant Green Ash seedlings will be available while supplies last.
The team will close out the 2007 season at Arrocha Ballpark with a free youth clinic following Sunday’s game. Youth ages 12 and under are invited to participate.
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