Kansas Reveals 2013 Softball Schedule
Nov. 6, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan.– Kansas softball will square off 15 times against teams who made the 2012 NCAA Tournament and play a loaded Big 12 Conference slate, including last season’s national runner-up Oklahoma, as the Jayhawks unveiled its 2013 schedule Tuesday afternoon.
In her fourth season at Kansas, head coach Megan Smith compiled a strong non-conference schedule for the 2013 campaign. With the departure of Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC, the Big 12 has just seven teams competing in softball as Kansas State, TCU and West Virginia do not field softball teams. Smith attempted to make up for the loss in conference opponents by scheduling tougher non-conference games across the country.
“We lose two great softball programs in Texas A&M and Missouri,” Smith said. “In terms of challenges it just means we need to play higher RPI teams to make up for that, which we are doing. We added Nebraska for a single game. They are a challenging team to play during our conference season. We’re going to miss playing those two high-caliber teams in the conference season, but every other team we play in the conference is of that caliber also so it’s not like we are missing out on a ton.”
2012 IN REVIEW
Kansas finished the 2012 season 31-20 overall and 6-17 in the Big 12 Conference, the most wins in conference play since the 2009 campaign. When the NCAA released its first RPI projections for the season a year ago, the Jayhawks debuted at No. 25. KU remained in the top 45 for the duration of the regular season and finished No. 50 in the final release. When the NCAA selection committee revealed the 2012 tournament bracket, however, then-No. 44 Kansas became the highest-ranked RPI team with a winning record to not earn a regional bid. This season, the Jayhawks are clearly focused on building a season resume that will secure them a tournament spot.
“This team is a very special group,” Smith said. “We have a special senior class. They want it really bad this year and you can see it. They are inspiring everyone else around them to want it just as bad, too.”
In conference play a year ago, the Jayhawks faced six teams that made the NCAA Tournament and pulled off two top-25 upsets along the way, taking down No. 22 Baylor and No. 24 Texas Tech. It marked the third-straight season in the Smith era that Kanas has knocked off a nationally-ranked foe.
The Jayhawks also set a program record 20-game win streak that spanned more than a month of the season with all 20 wins coming on the road. The previous win streak record was 17 straight set in the 1992 season. During the streak the Jayhawks also claimed four pre-conference tournament titles.
The 2013 schedule will mark the second year that the Big 12 uses its new three-game series format, resembling baseball’s Friday-Saturday-Sunday setup. With just seven teams competing in the Big 12, KU will only host three conference series at home. The Jayhawks will not play their first home game until March 21 when Kansas hosts a doubleheader against Missouri State.
No stranger to life on the road, the Jayhawks will play 29-straight road games in the non-conference to open the 2013 campaign. KU begins the season Feb. 8-10 in Miami, Fla., at the Florida International Tournament in Miami, Fla. In preliminary play Kansas will face North Carolina State, Florida International and Georgetown all for the first time. Of the three, only Florida International compiled a winning record in 2012 going 28-27. The tournament will then move into bracket play pitting Kansas against unknown foes to cap the event.
The next two weekends, Feb. 15-17 and 22-24, Kansas travels to Auburn, Ala., for the Tiger Invitational and then Corpus Christi, Texas for the Islanders Classic. One day prior to the Islanders Classic, the Jayhawks will play a game against host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. In the two tournaments Kansas will face SEC foe Auburn (at both sites), Indiana State, Tennessee-Chattanooga, Bryant, Southern, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and New Mexico.
The first weekend in March takes the Jayhawks to the Carolinas for the third-straight season. Kansas will play at first-year pitching coach Abbie Sims’ alma mater in the Wolf Pack Challenge in Raleigh, N.C., March 1-3. In the three-day event, KU will face ACC member North Carolina State for the second time on the season as well as North Carolina A&T, Stony Brook and Lafayette.
“We’re excited about our non-conference schedule,” Smith said. “It’s going to be challenging, but we feel we need that challenge to prepare for another tough season in the Big 12. I love the fact that we are going to be able to play against the ACC, SEC and Big Ten schools. Fresno State has always been a powerhouse and Texas State is a really good team. We’re really excited about the challenge.”
A week later Kansas will travel to Florida for the second time on the season when the Jayhawks visit Boca Raton for the Florida Atlantic Tournament. Kicking off the tournament March 8, the Jayhawks will take on two Michigan schools in Eastern Michigan and Michigan State. The following day KU challenges Ball State and host Florida Atlantic before wrapping up the tournament against Louisiana Monroe.
The weekend of March 15 sees the Jayhawks making their lone trip of the season to California for the Capital Classic hosted by Sacramento State. KU will play west coast power Fresno State, St. Mary’s College, 2012 NCAA Tournament qualifier Texas State and the hosting Hornets in the tournament.
“”We try to schedule our pre-conference season in warmer climates,” said Smith. “I look at it as getting to play at really nice softball facilities in nicer weather. That’s what we’re looking to do.”
Following the Capital Classic, Kansas opens its home slate when Missouri State comes to Arrocha Ballpark for a doubleheader on March 21. KU’s other home non-conference series will not come until the Jayhawks host Wichita State April 30.
Kansas will also hit the road for a break in conference action three times in 2013. First up is a weekend series at Furman University in Greenville, S.C., April 13 and 14. Just three days later, the Jayhawks take a midweek trip to Lincoln, Neb., for a showdown with former Big 12 foe Nebraska. The trip will be a homecoming of sorts for Kansas senior Mariah Montgomerywho is from Ralston, Neb.
UMKC, the final non-conference opponent of 2013, hosts the Jayhawks for a doubleheader April 23 in Kansas City.
Kansas kicks off the conference season by hosting Texas in a three-day series at Arrocha Ballpark. Last season the Jayhawks played well against Texas, while falling in all three games to the then No. 5 team in the nation. Due the conference realignment, the Jayhawks and Longhorns will meet in Lawrence for the second-consecutive season.
“Having Texas back at home, I like that,” Smith said. “We played well against them at home last year. We didn’t win, but we were really competitive and we put up a good fight. The fact that we have them at home and OU at home, I feel like we put up a good fight against them, too, and having them at home will hopefully make the difference for us.”
Following the showdown with Texas, the Jayhawks travel to Lubbock, Texas to play Texas Tech in KU’s first April series. Kansas pulled off an upset win over the 24th-ranked and tournament bound Red Raiders in Lawrence last season.
After a brief break in conference action, Kansas returns to Big 12 play at Oklahoma State, April 5-7. The Jayhawks took two of three from the Oklahoma State last season.
Kansas returns home for two consecutive weekends when Baylor and 2012 National Runner-up Oklahoma visit April 26-28 and May 3-4, respectively, to end the Jayhawks 2013 home season.
The final series of the year comes in Ames, Iowa when Kansas takes on Iowa State. KU won two games against the Cyclones last season and lost the third game, 10-9 in a game the Jayhawks led 6-0 at one point.
The Big 12 Conference does not field a softball championship. NCAA Regionals run May 17-19, Super Regionals are set for May 24-26 and the Women’s College World Series is May 30-June 5.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.