KU Softball Makes Final Regular Season Road Trip To Nebraska

April 29, 2008


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With just two regular-season series remaining until the Big 12 Softball Championship, Kansas softball makes its final road trip of the regular season Wednesday, April 30, when it heads to Lincoln, Neb., for a 3 p.m. twinbill with the Cornhuskers (19-25, 1-12 Big 12). KU improved to 35-16 on the season and 5-9 in the Big 12 with a recent 6-0 defeat of OklahomaState, its fourth shutout in the last five games.

About Kansas

After finishing 5-1 last week, including four shutout victories, Kansas enters Wednesday’s doubleheader 35-16 overall and 5-9 in the conference. In the team’s last three series, junior Dougie McCaulley has gone 7-for-19 (.368) with five RBIs. The Jayhawks’ center fielder paces KU with a season average of .394, third in the Big 12, and has a team-high 61 hits. Senior Betsy Wilson, a .269 hitter, leads the team in league games swinging at a .394 clip with a .444 on-base percentage. Junior Val Chapple (.295 average) and freshman Liz Kocon (.273) have driven in 32 and 24 runs, respectively. Eleven of Kocon’s RBIs have come during Big 12 play. The three-women Kansas bullpen has a combined 2.41 ERA led by Val George. The junior hurler has seen the most time from the circle, tossing 160.2 innings with 172 strikeouts. She is 18-8 on the year with a 1.83 ERA, fifth in the Big 12. Sophomore Sarah Vertelka has gone 10-5 in 17 starts. She has a 2.54 ERA, while freshman Allie Clark is 7-3 with a 3.39 earned run average.

Series History

Kansas and Nebraska will be making their 94th and 95th all-time meetings this week. KU holds a slight 49-44 edge in the all-time series dating back to 1979 but Nebraska holds a 16-9 advantage during Big 12 regular-season games. The teams split last year’s home-and-home series, each taking a win on the road.

Player Notables

– On April 27 versus OklahomaState, junior hurler Val George earned her sixth complete game shutout. In her last four outings, a total of 21.0 innings, she has allowed just three earned runs. George, who leads the league with 37 appearances, ranks in the top five of seven Big 12 pitching categories.

– A .273 hitter on the season, rookie Liz Kocon is batting .349 in games played in Lawrence. She has driven in five runs in the last four games, multi-RBIs in two of those, and is second on the team with seven multi-RBI games. She is the only Jayhawk with double digit RBIs in Big 12 play with 11. Ten of her 24 RBIs this season have come with two outs in the inning.

– Junior Dougie McCaulley, who picked up her first career triple in a 3-for-4 effort versus WichitaState April 26, is third in the Big 12 rankings swinging at a .394 clip, but is even better at Arrocha Ballpark as she is averaging .450 in home games. McCaulley is riding her longest hitting streak of the year at five games and leads KU with 18 multi-hit contests. She has also batted in 10 of her 22 runs this season with two outs in the inning.

– In six of her last seven games, senior Betsy Wilson has tallied at least one hit averaging .350 (7-for-20) in that time, including two doubles and a homer. Wilson leads the team with a .394 average during Big 12 play, fourth in the conference in Big 12-only stats. KU’s left fielder is averaging .269 this season but has hit .405 at home with a team-best .703 slugging percentage.

Team Notables

– The Kansas bullpen went a span of 26 innings last week without allowing its opponents to score a run. The team recorded three-straight shutouts (7-0 vs. UMKC, 8-0 vs. WSU and 4-0 vs. WSU) and has held the opposition to no runs in four of its last five games.

– With its 34th win of the season in game two against WichitaState, KU eclipsed its total number of wins from 2007.

– Kansas has not been held scoreless at home this season and has an RBI in every contest but one at Arrocha Ballpark in 2008.

Weekend Promotions

Saturday, May 3

Take a Kid To the Park Day: One free youth ticket for each paid adult ticket.

Sunday, May 4

Youth Organization Day

Senior Day:Kansas seniors Amy Farrow, Addy Lucero, Sara Sidebottom and Betsy Wilson will be honored for their contributions to the KU softball team in a brief ceremony following the team’s game against IowaState.

McCaulley Singles Into KU History

McCaulley cracked KU’s single-season hit list recording her 61st hit against OklahomaState on April 27, moving into ninth on the list.

First Night Game

Kansas softball made history April 26 when they hosted WichitaState in KU’s first night game ever at Arrocha Ballpark. KU won both games, shutting out the Shockers 8-0 and 4-0.

Take Two

Brittany Hile notched two doubles during a twinbill at UMKC on April 22 to bring her season total up to a team-high 11. Hile needs just one more two-bagger to crack KU’s single-season top 10 list.

Going Long

Junior Val Chapple and sophomore Amanda Jobe each have eight home runs on the season and remain just one shy of cracking the top 10 in KU’s single-season records.

Up Next

The Jayhawks return to Arrocha Ballpark, May 3-4, for their final series of the 2008 regular season. KU will host IowaState at 1 p.m., Saturday and noon on Sunday. Sunday will also mark the final home game for seniors Amy Farrow, Addy Lucero, Sara Sidebottom and Betsy Wilson. The following weekend Kansas will participate in the Big 12 Championship in Oklahoma City May 9-11.