Kansas softball begins UTSA Tournament Friday

Kansas continues its 19-game season-opening road swing at the UTSA Softball Tournament in San Antonio, Texas, this weekend, Feb. 16-18. During the second week of regular season action the Jayhawks (4-1) will face Prairie View A&M (0-0), Lamar (1-2), Missouri State (2-2) and host UTSA (2-1).

  Friday, Feb. 16 – Sunday, Feb. 18
  San Antonio, Texas (Roadrunner Field)
  Game Notes
 Game 6: vs. Prairie View A&M
  Friday, Feb. 16
  2 p.m. CT
  Live Stats
 Game 7: at UTSA
  Friday, Feb. 16
  7 p.m. CT
  Live Stats
 Game 8: vs. Lamar
  Saturday, Feb. 17
  11:30 a.m. CT
  Live Stats
 Game 9: vs. Missouri State
  Saturday, Feb. 17
  2 p.m. CT
  Live Stats
 Game 10: vs. Missouri State
  Sunday, Feb. 18
  10 a.m. CT
  Live Stats

• The 2018 Kansas softball campaign marks the 50th season overall and the ninth under head coach Megan Smith. Kansas has a 250-180 record during Smith’s tenure. The Jayhawks reached 250 wins under Smith after a 6-1 victory over College of Charleston on Sunday.
• The Jayhawks have a combined series record of 68-17 against teams in the UTSA Softball Classic, including a 64-17 record against Missouri State.
• Junior pitcher Andie Formby and senior infielder Jessie Roane were named to the Stetson Leadoff Classic All-Tournament Team during opening weekend.  
• Kansas ranks third in the Big 12 in team ERA (1.85). KU’s three saves during the first five games of the season leads the Big 12 and eclipses KU’s combined total for team saves from the 2016 (one) and 2017 (one) seasons.
• KU’s 2018 roster is balanced with seasoned leadership and a renewed depth of talent, featuring seven seniors along with 10 newcomers. Eight of KU’s 10 newcomers made their Kansas debuts during opening weekend.
• In the 2018 Big 12 Preseason Coaches Poll, the Jayhawks were picked to finish fifth by the league’s head coaches.
• Kansas will be on the road for 19-straight games before its home-opener against UMKC on March 8. Kansas will host a total of 25 home games at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park.
• During the fall 2017 semester, Kansas reported a program-record 3.45 team grade point average (GPA); 19 Jayhawks earned individual GPAs of 3.0 or higher, including five Jayhawks with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

Friday: 20 percent chance of showers after 7 a.m. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 72 degrees. East-northeast wind five to 10 mph increasing to 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon.
Friday Night: 30 percent chance of showers, mainly after 7 p.m. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 51 degrees. Northeast wind five to 15 mph.
Saturday: 40 percent chance of showers. Cloudy, with a high near 63 degrees. Northeast wind five to 10 mph.
Saturday Night: 40 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 54 degrees. Northeast wind five to 10 mph.
Sunday: 40 percent chance of showers. Cloudy, with a high near 70 degrees. East northeast wind five to 10 mph becoming southeast in the afternoon.

Friday marks the first meeting between Prairie View A&M and Kansas.

Last season, Kansas met Lamar on the diamond for the first time in program history. The Jayhawks defeated the Cardinals, 1-0, on Feb. 25, 2017, during the Cardinal Classic in Beaumont, Texas.

Kansas and UTSA (University of Texas at San Antonio) will meet for the fourth time in program history on Friday night. The Jayhawks hold a 3-0 record against the Roadrunners. It will be the first meeting in the KU-UTSA series in 14 years — a 7-3 KU victory on Feb. 15, 2004. The first two games in the series — both in College Station, Texas — went to extra innings.

SERIES SUMMARY: Missouri State
Kansas ends its weekend with a pair of games against Missouri State on Saturday evening and Sunday morning. The series dates back to a split doubleheader on May 3, 1978. It will be the 82nd and 83rd time the teams will meet and the first neutral-site meeting since 2000. KU leads the all-time series, 64-17, including an 11-3 mark at neutral locations. In the last 15 games of the season, Kansas is 12-3 against the Bears. Kansas is 19-7 against Missouri State under Coach Smith.

With a 6-1 victory over College of Charleston on Feb. 11, Megan Smith notched her 250th win as head coach at Kansas. In her ninth season at the helm of the Jayhawks, Smith has a 250-180 (.581) record at Kansas. In her 13th season as a head coach, Smith has a 370-241 (.606) career record.

This weekend marks the first of three trips to the Lone Star state this season. Seven Jayhawks are from the state of Texas, including San Antonio native Tarin Travieso, a freshman left-handed pitcher. Other Jayhawk Texans include freshman outfielder Brittany Jackson (Mansfield), freshman catcher Shelby Gayre (D’Hanis), senior infielder Amanda Organ (Houston), senior outfielder Annie Mehringer (Henderson), senior pitcher Sarah Miller (Fort Worth) and redshirt freshman infielder Courtney Taylor (Houston).

Through the first five games of the season, KU’s pitching staff has already tripled last season’s total number of saves. In 2017, current senior pitcher Mandy Roberts earned the only save on the pitching staff for her 2.2 innings of relief during a 5-4 win over Texas Tech on April 8, 2017. Through the first weekend of the 2018 season, Kansas combines for three saves — two by senior junior Andie Formby and by one junior Brynn Minor. KU is the only team in the Big 12 to record a save during the first week of the regular season.

After missing the 2017 season due to injury, junior pitcher Andie Formby returned to the circle during opening weekend firing on all cylinders. Formby was named to the Stetson Leadoff Classic All-Tournament Team after posting a 1-0 record with two saves in four pitching appearances for the Jayhawks. She enters the second week of the regular season with a 2.33 ERA, 13 strikeouts, just one walk allowed and a complete-game victory under her belt. During her last season of competition in 2016, Formby was KU’s wins leader with a 16-7 record and held a 113-to-34 strikeouts-to-walks ratio.

Senior pitcher Sarah Miller recorded a career-high nine strikeouts in a one-run victory (2-1) over Stetson on Feb. 9. Miller reached her career mark in Ks after throwing 6.0 innings and allowing no earned runs. Miller (2-1) maintained a no-hit performance against Stetson through six innings before allowing her first hit in the seventh inning — a single through the left side with no outs.

Senior third baseman Jessie Roane was named to the Stetson Leadoff Classic last week for her work at the plate and the field. Roane hit a decisive two-run home run during KU’s 2-1 victory over Stetson and finished the week with a .333 batting average, four hits and five RBIs. At third base, she posted a perfect fielding percentage with seven putouts and 14 assists.

Junior utility player Brynn Minor showed her versatility by making an appearance in all five games during opening weekend — starting in right field for three games and making three pitching appearances in the circle. Minor recorded six strikeouts in 9.0 innings of work with a 0.78 ERA. Her first-career hit was an RBI single down the left field line in the third inning of a 4-1 victory over Akron on Saturday. Minor, a transfer from Butler County Community College, was the 2017 NJCAA National Player of the Year.

Freshman Brittany Jackson held down the leadoff hitting spot and centerfield like a veteran during her first five collegiate games. Jackson didn’t waste any time to record her first-career stolen base, doing so in KU’s season opener against Akron. Later that evening she recorded her first-career hit against Stetson. She finished her opening weekend with five putouts in centerfield, a .294 batting average, five hits and two stolen bases.

Freshman infielder Sydnee Ramsey joined Jackson as the only newcomer to start all five games of opening weekend. Ramsey started the first three games as the designated player and the last two as the shortstop. The Oklahoma City native hit for a .385 batting average with four hits, three walks and five runs scored.

Sophomore utility player Sam Dellinger, an All-BIG EAST performer at Creighton last season, started in four of five games at second base for the Jayhawks. Her first-career game as a Jayhawk was a two-hit performance against Akron. She came up clutch in Sunday’s win over College of Charleston, leading off the second inning with a double and scoring the go-ahead run on a single by Mikayla Warren, giving KU a 2-1 lead.

Freshman outfielder Addie Balderston entered four games as a pinch runner, scoring her first-career run in the sixth inning of KU’s season-opening 5-3 win over Akron on Friday. On Sunday against College of Charleston, Balderston capped off her productive weekend as a pinch runner with her first-career stolen base.

Sophomore infielder Miranda Rodriguez, a juco transfer from Cosumnes River College, started her first three games as a Jayhawk at the shortstop position, recording a pair of assists.

Redshirt freshman Courtney Taylor made her first-career start as the designated player on Sunday against College of Charleston.

Freshman backup catcher Shelby Gayre put an exclamation mark on a big opening weekend for the new faces to the program with her first-career homerun on Sunday against College of Charleston. Gayre, pinch-hitting at the top of the batting order in the sixth inning, smacked a three-run home run past the left field fence to give KU a 6-1 lead over the Cougars. It also marked the first-career hit for the freshman from D’Hanis, Texas.

Kansas opened the season with a pair of wins on Feb. 9 in DeLand, Florida, defeating Akron, 5-3, in the afternoon and Stetson, 2-1, in the evening. During the Coach Smith era, Kansas improves to 5-4 in season-opening games. The Jayhawks have always played a doubleheader on opening day since Smith’s arrival in 2010; KU is 11-7 on opening day under Smith, including winning seven of the last eight opening-day games.

KU’s regular-season schedule features 56 total games, including 18 conference games and 38 nonconference games. Kansas will play four weekends — 19 games — away from Lawrence prior to the home opener on March 8. The Jayhawks’ slate of 25 home games begins on March 8 against UMKC at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park.

The annual Orange Game to promote kidney cancer awareness will be Saturday, March 31 against Colorado State. Alumni Day and the 50th anniversary of women’s athletics at KU will be celebrated on Saturday, April 7 against Oklahoma State. Senior Day is set for Saturday, May 5 against Iowa State.

During the 2018 season, Kansas softball will make eight TV appearances and feature comprehensive online audio streaming coverage for the fourth-straight season via KUAthletics.com/radio.

KU’s coaching staff features two new faces for the 2018 season — associate head coach Rich Wieligman and video coordinator Chris Malveaux.

Wieligman has 11 years of experience as a head coach, including leading Oklahoma State to the Women’s College World Series in 2011. Wieligman served as the head coach at Oklahoma State for nine seasons (2007-15) and came to KU after a two-year stint at the University of Texas at Dallas (2016-17). He primarily coaches KU’s outfielders and hitters. Wieligman came to Kansas in Novmeber 2017 after former associate head coach John Rittman accepted the head coaching job at Clemson.

Malveaux joined Megan Smith’s coaching staff in February 2018 and brought with him a combined 16 years of experience as an assistant and head coach at the NCAA Division I level. Video coordinator — in charge of video capturing and analysis for the program — is a new position at KU this season. Malveaux will also be in place to step up into a temporary role as assistant coach while current assistant coach Abbie Butler and her husband, Tye, await the birth their first child this spring.

During the fall 2017 semester, Kansas reported a 3.45 team grade point average (GPA). It is the highest team GPA in program history according to the Kansas Athletics office of academic support. Of the team’s 25 student-athletes on the roster during the fall semester, 19 reported individual GPAs of 3.0 or higher, including five Jayhawks with a perfect 4.0 GPA (junior Emily Bermel, sophomore Sam Dellinger, junior Andie Formby, senior Sarah Miller and freshman Tarin Travieso).

For the second-straight season, Kansas softball was selected to finish fifth in the Big 12 Conference standings by the leagues head coaches. Kansas’ highest preseason conference ranking (fourth) was before the start of 2016 campaign. Six-time defending Big 12 regular-season champion and back-to-back reigning national champion Oklahoma and was selected to finish first after receiving six of seven first-place votes and a total of 36 points.

2018 Big 12 Preseason Poll
1          Oklahoma (6)    36
2          Baylor (1)          31
3          Texas               24
4          Oklahoma State 23
5          KANSAS           12
6          Iowa State         11
7          Texas Tech       10

From the moment a student-athlete steps on campus, Kansas head softball coach Megan Smith and her staff begin the process of instilling the Jayhawk Way into their team. The philosophy guides the Jayhawks in competing on the diamond, in the classroom and being a part of the community. There are several core values that the Jayhawks learn to live by while playing at Kansas: family, academics, character and hard work.

The Jayhawk Way team counsel of leaders for 2018 is Sam Dellinger (hard work), Becky Monaghan (character), Harli Ridling (excellence), Courtney Taylor (energy), Erin McGinley (academics), Sarah Miller (family).

The Jayhawks have made 12 appearances in the NCAA Tournament, including a trip to the Women’s College World Series in 1992. KU’s first NCAA appearance was in 1983 and from 1992-94, the Jayhawks made three-straight appearances in the field of 64 for the longest postseason streak in Kansas history. The Jayhawks hosted a regional in both the 1992 and 1994 NCAA Tournament. Overall, Kansas is 17-24 in the NCAA Tournament.

2017 WRAP
• Kansas softball ended the 2017 season with a 24-28 mark overall and 3-14 record during Big 12 play (seventh place).
• With its victory over then-No. 14 Baylor on March 25, 2017, KU’s streak increased to eight-straight seasons with a win over nationally-ranked opponents.
• Defensively, the Jayhawks posted second-best fielding percentage (.972) in the Big 12.
• Catcher Harli Ridling led the team with 11 home runs, which is tied for fourth in the league.
• Infielder Jessie Roane finished the season with the third-most doubles in the Big 12 (16) and eighth in RBIs recorded (40).
• Outfielder Erin McGinley recorded a team-best 19 stolen bases in 2017, which is the fifth-best mark in the Big 12.
• Kansas finished the season with a 3.54 ERA, which marked the fourth-best ERA in the Big 12.
• McGinley won the team’s Big Jay Award, Offensive Player of the Year and Academic Award. She was also an NFCA All-Region Second Team honoree and named to the Academic All-Big 12 First Team. The Prairie Village, Kansas, native played in all of KU’s 52 games in centerfield, leading the squad with a .337 batting average, 57 hits, and 19 stolen bases.
• Ridling earned KU’s Defensive Player of the Year award. Ridling was the lone Jayhawk to earn All-Big 12 honors in 2017, landing on the second team. She started 49 of Kansas’ 52 games during her junior season, posting a .326 clip with 47 hits and a team-high 11 home runs. In the field, Ridling totaled 206 putouts, 35 assists and just three errors behind the plate for a .988 fielding percentage.
• Infielder Becki Monaghan was named KU’s 2017 Rookie of the Year. Monaghan’s debut season as a Jayhawk included 47 starts with a .261 batting average, seven doubles, 15 RBIs and 12 runs scored. At first base, Monaghan totaled 337 putouts and 15 assists for a .989 fielding percentage. The Stony Plain, Alberta.

Next week, Kansas will compete in the Central Arkansas Tournament from Thursday, Feb. 22 to Saturday, Feb. 24 in Conway, Arkansas. The Jayhawks play five games against five different teams during the event — Louisiana-Monroe (Feb. 22), Central Arkansas (Feb. 22), Coppin State (Feb. 23), Boise State (Feb. 23) and Austin Peay (Feb. 24).

Season tickets and single-game tickets for KU’s 25 home games at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park are now on sale through KUTickets.com or by calling the Kansas Athletics Ticket Office at 800-34-HAWKS.





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