Jayhawks To Open NCAA Regional Play at BYU

May 16, 2006


Coming off its first-ever Big 12 Championship and automatic postseason bid, Kansas softball will travel to Provo, Utah, and open NCAA Regional play Thursday at BYU (42-20). Game time is scheduled for 5 p.m. CST at Miller Park. Also in the bracket are Southern Utah (34-20), winners of the Mid-Continent Conference, and 14th-seeded Washington (32-23) of the Pacific 10. The Jayhawks are guaranteed at least two games in the double-elimination tournament to be held Thursday-Saturday.

The Jayhawks, winners of seven straight games, entered the Big 12 Championship the No. 6 seed and went 4-0 to bring home the title. KU joins Big 12 foes Texas, Nebraska, Texas A&M, Baylor and Oklahoma in this year’s 64-team NCAA Regional field. The Longhorns are the only Big 12 team hosting a 2006 regional. Live Gametracker will be available for all KU games on kuathletics.com.

-KU has made 10 trips to the NCAA Regionals in the last 25 years and gone four times under head coach Tracy Bunge in the past 10 seasons.
-The Jayhawks won their first-ever Big 12 Championship on May 13 in Oklahoma City, Okla. KU, seeded sixth, knocked off No. 3 Baylor, No. 7 Missouri, No. 2 Nebraska and No. 5 Oklahoma to become the lowest seed to advance to the Big 12 title game.
-Senior pitcher/designated player Serena Settlemier, the 2006 Big 12 Player of the Year, leads the KU offense with a .348 batting average and ranks second on the pitching staff with a 1.20 ERA.
-Settlemier holds the KU all-time home runs record with 44. Destiny Frankenstein is next with 31 for her career, while Jessica Moppin (29) and Nettie Fierros (15) also rank in KU’s career Top 10.
-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.

For the first time in its six-year history, BYU was selected to host the NCAA Regionals at Gail Miller Field. The NCAA berth is the second consecutive year the Cougars have been selected to play in the field of 64. Last season, BYU upset second-ranked California in Fresno, Calif. The Cougars were an at-large selection as three Mountain West Conference teams were picked. MWC Tournament champion San Diego State and regular season champion Utah were also selected. The Cougars are 42-20 on the season after winning six of their last eight games. BYU advanced to the MWC Tournament championship game Saturday but fell to SDSU, 11-7.

MWC Player of the Year Ianeta Le’i leads the BYU offense with a .423 batting average, 83 hits and 20 home runs in 62 games. Le`i was named Player of the Year for the second time in her career (2004). Le`i led the league with a .540 batting average in MWC play to help her team to its second straight 40-win season. The first baseman currently leads the nation in RBI (82), ranks 18th in batting average and 12th for home runs. Summer Tobias, Jodi Norton, Jennifer Whiteley and Andrea Ramirez were named to the MWC All-Conference team. Tobias (25-11) is the Cougars’ No. 1 pitcher this season and holds a 2.53 ERA in 205.0 innings of work. Daniella Urincho (10-7) is posting a 2.78 ERA through 128.1 innings.

The Cougars and Jayhawks met earlier in the season on Feb. 18 at the Louisville Slugger Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. Despite a 2-1 loss to BYU, Kansas leads the all-time series, 3-2.

Also participating in the Provo Regional are Southern Utah (34-20), winners of the Mid-Continent Conference, and 14th-seeded Washington (32-23) of the Pac-10. The Thunderbirds won their fourth-straight Mid-Con regular season title and claimed the tournament crown for the first time in school history. The Huskies earned their 13th consecutive NCAA berth and are trying to stop a four-game losing streak. Washington faced KU in 2005 and Caitlin Noble threw a no-hit shutout against the Jayhawks en route to the 4-0 victory in Palm Springs. Seven of the Pac-10 schools earned bids into the tournament, each receiving a No. 1 seed. UCLA is the number one seed overall, followed by No. 3 Arizona, No. 6 Arizona State, No. 7 Oregon State, No. 10 California and No. 12 Stanford.

Thursday, May 18
Game 1 – Kansas vs. BYU 5 p.m.
Game 2 – Southern Utah vs. Washington 8 p.m.

Friday, May 19
Game 3 – Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner 2:30 p.m.
Game 4 – Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser 5 p.m.
Game 5 – Game 4 Winner vs. Loser Game 3 8 p.m.

Saturday, May 20
Game 6 – Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5 1 p.m.
Game 7 (if necessary) 2:30 p.m.

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