Kansas to Face Iowa State in First Round of Big 12 Softball Championship
May 6, 2009
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
After wrapping up its regular season at Iowa State last weekend, the Kansas softball team will face the Cyclones again on Friday, May 8 at 5 p.m. during the first round of the 14th annual Big 12 Softball Championship at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Kansas, which went 21-30 overall and 6-11 in the Big 12, earned the No. 9 seed while ISU (25-28, 7-11 Big 12) will enter the tournament as the No. 8 seed.
The Big 12 will be providing live stats for all tournament games this weekend. Gametracker links for KU’s games can be accessed on the Jayhawks’ official website at www.KUAthletics.com or at the Big 12 Conference website at www.big12sports.com.
The Kansas offense is led by senior Dougie McCaulley who has a .312 batting average and 14 stolen bases. She leads the team with 14 multi-hit games. Allie Clark (.248 average) has a team-high 10 home runs, nine doubles and 30 RBIs. She ranks ninth in the Big 12 with a .570 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 2.72 earned run average. She is 10-15 in 35 appearances and is tied for third in the Big 12 with 177 strikeouts. Vertelka has gone 9-10 in 33 appearances and owns a 3.37 ERA.
Scouting Iowa State
Iowa State finished its regular season 25-28, 7-11 in the Big 12, following its sweep over KU in the season finale. Junior Courtney Wray is batting a team-best .301. Junior Alex Johnson (.268 average) has driven in the Big 12’s ninth-most RBIs with 38 and has a team-high seven home runs. Carleigh Berry, a sophomore, ranks seventh in the conference with 17 stolen bases.
Rachel Zabriskie has pitched all but 98.1 innings for the Cyclones for a league-high 258.1 innings of work. The sophomore owns a 2.41 ERA and 17-23 record. Her 214 strikeouts are second in the Big 12.
KU holds a 41-29 advantage in the all-time series against Iowa State, including a 14-8 mark in neutral site contests. The teams have met only once during the Big 12 Tournament in 2007. The Cyclones swept KU in Ames that season only to lose to the Jayhawks at the Big 12 Championship the following week.
Big 12 Softball Championship Notes
– Kansas is the No. 9 seed for the third time (2000 & 2003) and has gone 0-2 as a nine seed.
– KU is 1-0 against Iowa State in the Big 12 Championship, winning the only meeting 2-1 in eight innings in 2007. ISU was a No. 10 seed.
– The Jayhawks are 15-19 all-time in the Big 12 Championship and have won one postseason championship (2006).
– Kansas is 7-15 when playing a higher seed in the Big 12 tournament.
Last Year at Big 12’s
A wild pitch in the top of the sixth proved costly for Kansas as the No. 10 seed Nebraska Cornhuskers upset No. 7 Kansas, 4-3, during the opening round of the Big 12 Softball Championship. With the game tied 3-3 after five innings, Nebraska, who had runners on second and third, used a wild pitch in the top of the sixth to plate a runner, which ultimately proved to be the game winner.
Freshman Allie Clark suffered the loss for Kansas. Clark started the first one and two-thirds innings, until junior Val George took over from the circle tossing three and a third innings. Clark re-entered the game in the sixth inning giving up NU’s winning run.
Big 12 Awards
All-Big 12 and Academic All-Big 12 awards will be announced Friday evening during an awards ceremony following the day’s competition. The ceremony will be streamed live at www.big12sports.com for free.
Ramirez Tops KU Conference Stats
Despite hitting just .135 in nonconference action, junior Sara Ramirez stepped up her offense during Big 12 play to lead the team with a .297 batting average. Ramirez finished the regular season strong tallying six hits in the last four conference games.
If Kansas defeats Iowa State, the Jayhawks will play No. 1 seed Oklahoma on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. That game will be streamed live at www.big12sports.com.