Kansas Softball To Host Texas A&M In Home Finale
April 29, 2009
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
In its final home games of the 2009 season, Kansas softball (20-28, 5-9 Big 12) will take on Texas A&M (29-18, 6-8 Big 12), the 2008 national runner-up, in a doubleheader on Thursday, April 30 beginning at 11:15 a.m. at Arrocha Ballpark. The teams were originally scheduled to play in Lawrence on March 28-29 but were cancelled due to inclement weather.
Live stats are available for all 2009 Kansas softball contests online at www.KUAthletics.com, the official website for Kansas Athletics. Additionally, Texas A&M will broadcast this weekend’s game on www.aggieathletics.com. Louie Belina and Stephen Grove will be calling the action.
The Kansas offense is led by senior Dougie McCaulley who has a .324 batting average and 13 stolen bases. She has collected five hits in her last four games. Allie Clark (.265 average) has a team-high 10 home runs, nine doubles and 30 RBIs. She has four homers in her last four games and ranks seventh in the Big 12 with a .611 slugging percentage.
In the pitcher’s circle, senior Val George and junior Sarah Vertelka have combined for a majority of the pitching load. George leads the team with a 2.70 earned run average. She is 9-14 in 32 appearances and is fourth in the Big 12 with 166 strikeouts. Vertelka has gone 9-9 in 31 appearances and owns a 3.16 ERA.
Scouting Texas A&M
In its last two conference series, Texas A&M was swept by then-No. 15 Oklahoma and then split with Iowa State to give the Aggies a 6-8 conference mark and 29-18 overall record on their way to Lawrence.
Natalie Villarreal is 11th in the conference with a .353 batting average to lead TAMU along with a team-high 10 doubles. Erin Glasco has 28 walks, 28 RBIs and is second in the Big 12 with a .494 on-base percentage. She leads Texas A&M in conference action hitting .375. Rhiannon Kliesing (.254 average) has batted in a team-best 31 runs. Kliesing is also the Aggies’ top hurler from the pitcher’s circle with a 2.26 ERA and 20-11 record. She has all six of the team’s conference victories. Rebecca Arbino has also seen significant time from the circle and owns a 3.03 ERA and 9-6 record.
The Aggies return nine letterwinners from its 2008 squad that lost to Arizona State in the softball national championship game. Jo Evans is in her 14th year as head coach of the TAMU softball program with a 498-251-2 record.
Kansas trails the all-time series with Texas A&M 43-20, including a 10-20 disadvantage in Big 12 contests. The Jayhawks have lost the last 14 meetings against the Aggies with their last victory coming in 2002.
Clark Digs the Long Ball
Allie Clark has been KU’s most dangerous hitter in the last stretch of the regular season. The 6-foot sophomore has a four-game home run streak and leads the team with 10 total, which also ties for the sixth-most homers in a KU single season. In the last four contests, Clark is batting with a 1.385 slugging percentage as all five of her hits in that time are of the extra-base variety.
Bunge Records Another Milestone Victory
Head coach Tracy Bunge reached another milestone this season with the team’s sweep over Wichita State. In her 16th season as a head coach, Bunge has reached 500 career victories. Earlier this season on April 4, Bunge recorded her 400th win with the Jayhawks softball program in the team’s 10-0 win at Texas Tech.
The Kansas offense has been on a roll hitting 11 home runs in its last five games, all from just four players. Allie Clark has four, Liz Kocon has three, Val Chapple has two and Amanda Jobe and Stevie Crisosto each have one home run in KU’s previous five contests.
Kansas will close out its regular season this weekend, May 2-3, at Iowa State. The Jayhawks and Cyclones will open the series on Saturday at 2 p.m. and conclude the weekend at noon on Sunday. KU will then prepare for the Big 12 Softball Championship in Oklahoma City, May 8-10.