Kansas Travels to Jackson State Tournament
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas softball continues its 2014 non-conference slate on the road at the Jackson State Tournament Feb. 21-23 in Jackson, Miss. The Jayhawks (4-4) are set to play five games in three days facing host Jackson State, SIUE twice, Eastern Illinois and Southeastern Louisiana.
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
- The Jayhawks embark on their first road trip to the Magnolia State when KU heads to the Jackson State Tournament this weekend. Kansas has faced three opponents that call Mississippi home (Ole Miss, Jackson State and Mississippi State) and owns a 5-2 record when facing a team from Mississippi.
- Kansas has played each opponent at the Jackson State Tournament once prior to this weekend. KU leads the all-time series 1-0 against Eastern Illinois, Southeastern Louisiana and Jackson State, while SIUE leads the overall series 1-0 over the Jayhawks.
- KU outscored opponents at the College of Charleston Classic 26-15 and had a 3-2 mark on the weekend that saw the Jayhawks’ first run-rule and extra inning victories of the 2014 season.
- Sophomore Kelsey Kessler has struck out a team-high 49 batters in 2014, which is the third-most strikeouts by a pitcher in the Big 12 this year.
- The Jayhawks concluded the 2013 season with the eighth-best fielding percentage (.976) in the country and currently have the best fielding percentage in the Big 12 (.980) after committing only four errors in 52 innings.
- Five Jayhawk starters are hitting above .300 on the season. Freshman Harli Ridling leads the squad with a .348 batting average and a team-high three extra base hits. She hit her first career home run against College of Charleston (2/15).
SIUE: The Cougars are the only team that the Jayhawks face this weekend that has an advantage in the all-time series over Kansas. Although the lead is only 1-0 overall, KU will have two chances at SIUE this weekend and with a sweep could move the all-time series to 2-1 in the Jayhawks’ favor. Kansas’ first meeting against SIUE was in 2010 on a neutral diamond and the Cougars came out on top 5-2.
Southeastern Louisiana: Kansas participated in SELU’s tournament during the 2012 season and recorded an 11-0 shutout in five innings in the first meeting between the two programs. KU is 1-0 all-time against the Lions.
Eastern Illinois: The Jayhawks are 1-0 all-time against Eastern Illinois. The inaugural meeting between the two programs was in 2009 and Kansas won 4-2 at Arrocha Ballpark.
Jackson State: KU faced the Tigers for the first time in 2012 at a tournament hosted by Southeastern Louisiana. The Jayhawks posted a 5-3 victory over Jackson State taking a 1-0 lead in the overall series.
SCOUTING THE FIELD
SIUE: The Cougars were picked to finish first in the west division of the Ohio Valley Conference and return 13 letterwinners from last season including seven starters. SIUE is 1-8 after opening the season at tournaments hosted by No. 23 LSU and No. 4 Arizona State. The Cougars are hitting .189 after nine games with 10 doubles and 14 RBIs. Sophomore outfielder Jordan LaFave leads the team with eight hits and three doubles on the season and is batting .364. In the circle, SIUE has recorded a 6.83 ERA with five complete games and 40 strikeouts. Haley Chambers has posted a 1-6 mark on the mound with a 4.42 ERA and 30 Ks.
Southeastern Louisiana: The Southland Conference coaches tabbed the Lions to finish fifth in 2014. Southeastern Louisiana is 2-2 on the season and 1-2 at home. SELU returns 16 letterwinners and four starters for last season’s squad. Senior infielder Tori Sheppard leads the team with a .455 batting average, five hits and five RBIs. Sophomore Katie Lacour, a preseason all-conference selection, has four hits and three runs scored. As a team, the Lions are batting .280 with a pair of doubles, a home run and 20 RBIs. Southeastern Louisiana returns two pitchers to the circle including sophomore Taylor Bishop, who has a 0.00 ERA after two appearances and 12 innings pitched. She has struck out a team-best nine batters. Collectively in the circle, the Lions have posted a 2.62 ERA in 24 innings pitched with 14 strikeouts.
Eastern Illinois: The Panthers were selected to finish second the west division of the Ohio Valley Conference behind SIUE. Eastern Illinois returns 14 letterwinners and seven starters from 2013. All three pitchers return to the circle for EIU this season. At the plate, the Panthers are batting .310 with 28 extra base hits, including eight home runs, and 48 RBIs. Junior utility Hannah Cole has started all 10 games and is hitting .447 with four doubles, two triples, a home run and a team-high 10 RBIs. In the circle, EIU has posted a 3.80 staff ERA with 59 strikeouts in 66.1 innings pitched. Senior Stephanie Maday is 3-1 after six appearances and has thrown four complete games. Maday has a 2.12 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 33 innings of work.
Jackson State: The Southwestern Athletic Conference coaches tabbed the Tigers to finish second in the eastern division for the 2014 campaign. Jackson State returns six starters from a year ago including SWAC Preseason Pitcher of the Year Breea Jamerson and preseason all-conference selection Lauren Aikens. After seven starts, Aikens is batting .353 and leading the Tigers with three doubles and four RBIs. Aikens has an on-base percentage of .450 and a slugging percentage of .529, both of which lead the team. The Tigers are hitting .185 as a team with six extra base hits and 10 RBIs. Jamerson is 2-2 in the circle after six appearances and four starts. She has tossed two complete games and recorded a save. Jamerson has a 2.51 ERA and has struck out 18 batters in 28.2 innings pitched.
NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT
Through 52 innings of play in the 2014 season, the Jayhawk defense has committed only four errors for the Big 12’s best fielding percentage (.980). A year ago, Kansas broke the program fielding percentage record with a .976 mark, which finished eighth in the NCAA.
WALK IT OUT
The Jayhawks have recorded 28 walks after eight games in the 2014 campaign. Freshman Lily Behrmann has collected a fourth of those walks as she leads the team with seven on the year. Sophomore Chaley Brickey and junior Chanin Naudin each have tallied four walks this season. Kansas’ single-season record for walks is 36 set in 1985 by Tracy Bunge.
AROUND THE CONFERENCE
Kansas is among the top half of several Big 12 statistical categories in 2014. The Jayhawk defense has the best fielding percentage in the conference (.980), while KU’s pitching staff has the third-lowest ERA at 2.42. Individually, freshman Harli Ridling has the fifth-best on-base percentage in the league at .500. Sophomore Kelsey Kessler is third in the Big 12 in strikeouts (49) and fourth in complete games (3).
EXTRA, EXTRA READ ALL ABOUT IT
The Jayhawks are 1-0 in extra-inning games this season and 4-0 under head coach Megan Smith in extended contests. Kansas has an overall record of 78-74-1 in extra-inning games. The longest game in KU history is 24 innings against Oklahoma State on May 2, 1994, it is the third-longest game in NCAA history.
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