Softball Departs For NCAA Regional
May 18, 2005
Athens, Ga. –
The University of Kansas softball team travels to Athens, Ga., this week for its first NCAA Regional appearance since 1999. The Jayhawks (30-22) will face Georgia Tech (49-12) in first round action at 4 p.m. Friday at the UGA Softball Stadium.
2005 NCAA Softball Regional — Athens
May 20-22 * UGA Softball Stadium * Athens, Ga.
Friday, May 20
Game 1 — Kansas vs. Georgia Tech, 4 p.m.
Game 2 — Georgia vs. Tennessee Tech, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 21
Game 3 — Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 11 a.m.
Game 4 — Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 1:30 p.m.
Game 5 — Winner Game 4 vs. Loser Game 3, 4 p.m.
Sunday, May 22
Game 6 — Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5, 11 a.m.
Game 7 — Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6, 1:30 p.m.
Kansas Earns First NCAA Regional Bid Since 1999
The University of Kansas softball team earned its first NCAA Regional invitation since 1999 when tournament bids were announced Sunday night. The Jayhawks, who finished 30-22 overall and 9-8 in the league this season, were one of eight teams from the Big 12 Conference to receive bids in 2005.
KU joins Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Nebraska as the most-ever Big 12 representatives in an NCAA Regional. The Pac-10 was the only other conference to place eight teams in the bracket.
The 2005 bid is Tracy Bunge’s third as head coach of the Jayhawks (also in 1997 and ’99) and KU’s ninth since the tournament’s origin.
The Jayhawks won nine of their last 11 games to end the regular season and are coming off losses to No. 6/8 Texas and No. 10 Oklahoma in the 2005 Big 12 Tournament last week. KU is 30-22 overall and finished 9-8 in the Big 12 this season, good for sixth place in the final standings.
KU’s 2005 NCAA Tournament bid marks its first since 1999 when the Jayhawks were invited to the Tucson Regional hosted by Arizona.
KU has been anchored by its defense, which ranks second in the Big 12 and 16th in the nation with a solid .972 fielding percentage. The offense is hitting .276 on the season, including .283 in Big 12 games (second only to Texas A&M) while the pitching staff (2.59 ERA) has been strong as of late and continues to improve as the `Hawks get deeper in the postseason.
The Jayhawk roster is led by a junior class of seven and a group of four freshmen that have made a big impact on the squad as rookies. Tracy Bunge (Kansas, 1986) is in her ninth season as head coach of the Jayhawks and is making her third trip to the NCAA Regionals.
About Georgia Tech
The second-seeded Jayhawks and third-seeded Yellow Jackets will be the first game in Athens on Friday at 4 p.m. CST. The No. 16/17 Yellow Jackets are coming off the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament Championship on Sunday with a 1-0 win against Virginia Tech.
Tech cruised through the ACC Tournament last weekend en route to its second ACC crown in four seasons. The Jackets blanked all three opponents, defeating No. 4 seed NC State, 2-0, No. 3 seed Virginia, 3-0, and No. 7 seed Virginia Tech, 1-0. Junior Amy Hosier, senior Kirin Kumar, junior Christine Sheridan and senior Jessica Sallinger were all named to the ACC All-Tournament team.
Sallinger, the ACC Pitcher of the Year and Tournament MVP, is 27-7 on the season with a 1.07 ERA and 353 strikeouts in 241.0 innings of work. Sophomore Sarah Wood (15-4) is Tech’s No. 2 in the circle, and has 71 strikeouts in 114.1 innings and 28 appearances.
The Yellow Jacket offense also led the ACC in hitting (.294), runs scored (299), RBI (260), stolen bases (154-179) and fielding percentage (.971).
Tech holds a 1-0 advantage over KU in the all-time series, defeating the Jayhawks, 4-2, on Feb. 20, 1999.
The Georgia Bulldogs (51-13) received a No. 10 seeding in the overall NCAA Regional bracket and will host this week’s regional at the UGA Softball Stadium in Athens. Georgia, ranked eighth in both national polls last week, dropped a 2-0 decision to No. 9 Alabama (57-13) in the Southeastern Conference Tournament final on Sunday.
The Bulldogs have made four straight appearances in the NCAA Regional and have faced the Jayhawks twice in program history (KU won both meetings).
The Georgia offense boasts a .323 batting average with eight Bulldog starters hitting .301 or better on the season. Kim Wendland, the only player to start all 64 games, paces hitters with a .409 average, 83 hits, 52 RBI and a .685 slugging percentage.
Michelle Green (24-3) leads a pitching staff of four with a 1.21 ERA and 251 strikeouts. Kasi Carroll (16-3) is next with 138.0 innings and 114 strikeouts in 29 appearances. Also look for Jessica Doucette (5-2) and Katie Griffith (6-5) to see relief innings in the circle at Athens.
About Tennessee Tech
Tennessee Tech (35-26) enters the regional with an automatic qualification after winning the Ohio Valley Tournament championship last week. The young Golden Eagles are riding a 13-game win streak dating back to April 21 and are bolstered by 11 freshmen on the squad.
Senior catcher Kacy Bennett leads the TTU offense (.228) with a .354 average at the plate in 61 starts this season. She also has a team-best 64 hits, 10 doubles, nine homers and 103 total bases for a .569 slugging percentage.
Sophomore righty Bonnie Bynum (24-15) is the Golden Eagle ace this season and holds a 1.36 ERA and 222 strikeouts in 282.2 innings of work. Freshman hurler Sarah Street (11-6) has made 29 appearances in the circle and has 42 strikeouts and 118.2 innings.
KU leads the all-times series against TTU, 1-0.