Jayhawks Ready for College of Charleston Classic
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas softball travels to South Carolina for the College of Charleston Classic Feb. 14-16 at Patriots Point Athletics Complex. The classic is fielded by the College of Charleston Cougars and includes KU, Fordham, Ole Miss, Western Carolina and DePaul. The Jayhawks open the weekend on Friday, Feb. 14 at 10 a.m. against Fordham and will play five games in three days.
FOLLOWING THE JAYHAWKS
Live stats are offered for all five of the Jayhawks’ game this weekend and are available via KUAtheltics.com. Kansas softball’s twitter account (@KUSoftball) will also have in-game updates during each game of the season.
LEADING OFF FOR KANSAS
- 2014 marks the sixth season that the Jayhawks have played in South Carolina and third-straight season KU has headed to the Palmetto State for games. Kansas has an 8-4 mark in the state of South Carolina and is 3-0 in Charleston. This is the Jayhawks’ second appearance in Charleston after playing in a tournament in 2012.
- KU faces two opponents (Fordham and College of Charleston) this weekend for the first time in program history and plays three familiar opponents, two which Kansas leads the all-time series (Ole Miss and Western Carolina) and the third (DePaul) the overall series is tied.
- Sophomore Kelsey Kessler opened the 2014 campaign by setting a new KU record after posting 15 strikeouts against Chattanooga (2/9). She bested her previous career-high of 14 Ks and recorded a 0.00 ERA to start the season.
- Head coach Megan Smith, entering her fifth season at the helm of the Jayhawk softball program, fields a roster that features 10 veterans and eight rookies. Among the veterans leading Kansas are fifth-year senior outfielder Alex Jones and senior infielder Ashley Newman.
- The Jayhawks return seven starters from last season’s line up. Both of Kansas’ starting pitchers are back along with 3-of-4 infielders.
- Kansas welcomes back two 2013 All-Big 12 Second Team selections in sophomores Chaley Brickey and Kesley Kessler and 2013 NFCA All-Region honoree Maddie Stein.
SCOUTING THE FIELD
Fordham: The Rams are 2-1 on the season and, like the Jayhawks, opened 2014 at the UCF Knights Invitational. KU’s first scheduled meeting against Fordham was canceled due to rain in Orlando. At the plate, Fordham is hitting .264 with five doubles, two home runs and 17 RBIs. Two Rams starters are hitting above .300 including Gabby Luety, who is batting .833 (5-for-6) with a home run and three RBIs. Daubman also has a 1.333 slugging percentage and a .909 on-base percentage. Paige Ortiz leads the team with four RBIs. The Rams have a team ERA of 1.50 and tallied 10 strikeouts in 18 innings. Michele Daubman posted a 0.00 ERA and a 1-1 mark after two starts in the circle. She has struck out eight batters and opposing batters are hitting .130 against her.
Ole Miss: After the first weekend of the 2014 season, the Rebels are 2-3. Ole Miss is batting .309 this season and has six players in the starting lineup hitting .300 or better. RT Cantillo is hitting a team-best .563 with nine hits and four walks, while Madi Osias leads the Rebels with four RBIs. Ole Miss has collected 43 hits including two doubles, a triple and a home run in five games. Ole Miss is 6-of-7 in stolen base attempts and has an on-base percentage of .370. In the circle, the Rebels have hurled 26 strikeouts and recorded a 1.85 team ERA. Shelby Jo Fenter posted a 0.84 ERA with a team-high 11 strikeouts in two appearances. Emily Gaitan is 1-1 on the year with a 0.91 ERA and a complete game. She also has a save and three strikeouts in 2014.
WCU: The Catamounts did not play any games during the first weekend of the 2014 campaign and open their season this weekend at the College of Charleston Classic. Western Carolina finished 2013 with a 20-36 mark and a conference record of 9-15. A year ago, WCU batted .237 with 47 doubles, 32 home runs and 154 RBIs. Taylor Sigmon hit .273 in 2013, the best batting average of the returners, and led the team with seven home runs and 28 RBIs. In the circle, the Catamounts posted a 3.81 ERA and struck out 354 batters in 358.1 innings pitched. Jordan Garrett returns to the mound for WCU in 2014. Last season, Garrett was 13-14 in the circle with a 3.53 ERA and a team-high 223 strikeouts. She tossed 18 complete games and two shutouts.
College of Charleston: The Cougars have an overall mark of 0-2 on the young season. At the plate, College of Charleston is batting .226 with four doubles, two home runs and three RBIs. Four Cougar starters are hitting .300 or better and are led by Lizzy Vaughn (.429). She has recorded three hits including two doubles, while Chandler Frisbie has tallied a team-best two RBIs. In the circle, the Cougars have a 5.53 ERA and hurled nine strikeouts. Samantha Martin has a 3.50 ERA in one start, while Hope Klicker is 0-2 with a 5.25 ERA and eight strikeouts.
DePaul: The Blue Demons are 3-2 after the first weekend of the 2014 season. Offensively, DePaul is batting .315 on the season with 40 hits, four doubles and 12 RBIs. Four Blue Demon starters are hitting .300 or better in 2014. Morgan Maize leads the way batting .600 (3-for-5) with two RBIs and a stolen base. Staci Bonezek leads the team with three stolen bases while hitting .556. Kirsten Verdun posted a 0.64 ERA and a 3-0 record in her first three starts of the season. She hurled three complete games, two of which were shutouts, and struck out 28 batters. Verdun also has recorded a team-best three RBIs. As a team in the circle, DePaul has a 3.98 ERA in 31.2 innings pitched and struck out 33 batters.
KESSLER OPENS 2014 IN HISTORIC FASHION
In her second start of the 2014 season on Feb. 9, sophomore Kelsey Kessler posted a career-best 15 strikeouts, including eight in the last nine Chattanooga outs, to post the eighth shutout of her career. The 15 Ks also set the Kansas standard for strikeouts in a game. In her 2014 debut, Kessler tossed a one-hitter against UCF, the fifth of her career.
HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT
Freshman Harli Ridling was hit by a pitch in each game played last weekend for a total of three on the year. Ridling’s three hit by pitches and base hit on the season give her an on-base percentage of .400, which is the third-best on-base percentage on the roster.
NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT
Through 19 innings of play in the 2014 season, the Jayhawk defense has committed only one error for a fielding percentage of .986. A year ago, Kansas broke the program fielding percentage record with a .976 mark, which finished eighth in the NCAA.
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN
Kansas stole 36 bases in 2013, 20 of which came from seniors Alex Jones and Ashley Newman. Jones led the team with 11 stolen bases, while Newman tallied nine last season. Jones, a fifth-year senior, has led the team in stolen bases in three of the last four years.
AROUND THE CONFERENCE
After the first weekend of the 2014 season, Kansas ranks in the top half of several statistical categories in the Big 12. The Jayhawks have the third-best team ERA (2.37) and are second in the conference in fielding percentage (.986). Kelsey Kessler posted a league-leading 0.00 ERA in the opening weekend. She is also first in the Big 12 in shutouts (1) and fourth in the strikeouts (22). Alex Jones and Kessler are first and second in opposing batting average with .111 and .116, respectively.
The Jayhawks travel to Mississippi for the Jackson State Tournament Feb. 21-23. KU opens the tournament on Friday, Feb. 21 at 10 a.m. against SIUE.
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