Hot Start Has Kansas Knocking on Door of Top-25
LAWRENCE, Kansas – A program-record-tying 10-straight wins to open the season has the Kansas softball team on the national radar heading into a weekend showdown that includes the defending National Champion and No. 1-ranked Florida Gators. The Jayhawks received votes in both national polls released Tuesday, sitting at No. 27 in the USA Today/National Fast Pitch Coaches Association (NFCA) poll and No. 30 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate top-25 polls.
Kansas has swept through its first two weekends of competition, posting quality wins over programs like Arkansas, Florida Atlantic, Georgia Tech, New Mexico State and Penn State, among others. Kansas received 21 votes in the USA Today/NFCA Poll, just behind South Carolina (22) and No. 25 Texas (23). In the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25, the Jayhawks received six votes, with No. 25 Tulsa holding the last spot in at 27 votes.
“It’s nice recognition for the hard work and success over the last two weeks, but we don’t really talk about rankings,” Kansas head coach Megan Smith said. “We just go out and work hard and have a challenging weekend ahead of us.”
The Jayhawks are batting .330 as a team with 10 home runs while the pitching staff has posted a 2.82 ERA with four shutouts and face their toughest challenge of the season with a strong field at the Aquafina Invitational in Gainesville, Florida. Kansas has a 10:15 a.m. (CT) Friday meeting with Mercer – a team that won 39 games last year and enters with a .332 average – before tangling with No. 1 and defending College World Series winner Florida at 3 p.m. (CT). Kansas will also play the Gators Saturday. Florida, at 11-0 through two weekends, was No. 1 in both polls after earning 26 of the 29 first-place votes from the NFCA and 18 of the 20 first-place votes from USA Softball.
Kansas received votes last year while making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2006, but hasn’t cracked the top-25 since holding the No. 22 spot in the March 22, 2011 poll – the Jayhawks’ last 10-0 start.
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