KU Travels To #23 Oklahoma For Big 12 Series

April 28, 2006


Kansas plays its last Big 12 road series of the season Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (noon) at #23 Oklahoma. The Jayhawks (27-22, 6-8) are coming off a 1-0 loss to #17 Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb., while the Sooners (30-18-1, 6-10) earned their first Big 12 series sweep with a 9-3 victory over Oklahoma State Wednesday night at the OU Softball Complex. KU currently sits in fifth place in the league standings and Oklahoma is just behind in sixth.

The weekend series closes out Oklahoma’s regular season while KU will wraps up its schedule with four games next week — Wichita State on May 3 and Iowa State May 6-7. Live Gametracker is available for all KU games.

-Senior pitcher/designated player Serena Settlemier was named Co-National Collegiate Player of the Week by USA Softball and Big 12 Player of the Week. The national award is the first of her career while the Big 12 recognition is the fourth weekly accolade of her career and second of the year.
-With the Jayhawks’ wins over Creighton on April 20, KU head coach Tracy Bunge earned her 400th career coaching victory. Bunge also celebrated a milestone victory on April 1, when KU’s win over Oklahoma State marked her 300th victory at the helm of the Kansas program.
-Settlemier holds the KU all-time home runs record with 42. Destiny Frankenstein is next with 30 for her career, while Jessica Moppin (28) and Nettie Fierros (15) also rank in KU’s career Top 10.
-KU has made nine trips to the NCAA Regionals in the last 25 years and gone three times under Bunge in the past nine seasons (most recently in 2005).
-The Jayhawks broke two program records last season when they hit 54 home runs and boasted a .973 fielding percentage. KU has 44 homers and is fielding .960 through 49 games this season.

The Sooners currently sit at sixth in the Big 12 standings after a victory over Oklahoma State Wednesday and a series split with Iowa State last weekend in Ames. Oklahoma (30-18-1, 6-10) leads the league in offense with a .311 team batting average. The Sooners own top marks in many different offensive categories such as on-base percentage (.390), runs (286), hits (415) and RBI (261). OU’s pitching staff is giving up 3.47 earned runs per game, which ranks eighth in the league.

Oklahoma has the top two hitters in the league in Norrelle Dickson (.447) and Kristin Vesely (.441). Samantha Ricketts rounds out the top hitters with a .354 batting average while the rest of the squad is hitting .297 or lower. OU freshman D.J. Mathis (2.82 ERA, 10-6) has pitched a team-high 106.2 innings this season and leads a staff of five. Freshman Morgan Hudsonpillar (3.27 ERA, 6-4) and Nicole Denes (3.84 ERA, 8-5) could also see time in the circle this weekend.

Kansas leads the all-time series against OU, 37-35. The Sooners defeated KU, 5-0, May 12 in the 2005 Big 12 Championships in Oklahoma City, but the Jayhawks swept the regular-season series (5-4 and 4-1) April 23-24 in Lawrence. The Sooners have claimed seven wins in the teams’ last nine meetings.

This season, 22 of the Jayhawks’ 49 games have been decided by just one run. The trend does not usually go in KU’s favor as the Jayhawks have lost 14 games by one run and won just eight by the narrow margin. The team has improved its close-game strategy as six of the eight one-run victories have come in the month of April.

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