Jayhawks Return to Sunshine State for Non-Conference Action
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas softball heads south again for its second non-conference tournament in Florida. This time around Kansas will play a five-game tournament hosted by South Florida, Feb. 26-28. Every game will be available on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
FOLLOWING THE JAYHAWKS
Listen to every pitch all season long as part of the Jayhawk Radio Network, in partnership with KJHK, the University of Kansas’ student radio station, KLWN and KWOD. All of KU’s contests will be carried live, for free, at KUAthletics.com/radio. Fans can also get in-game updates via twitter by following @KUsoftball.
LEADING OFF FOR KANSAS
- Kansas continues its 19-game road swing to start the 2016 season with its second trip to Florida for the South Florida Tournament. KU is 2-3 on the year when playing in games in Florida.
- KU has launched 14 home runs over the outfield fence this season, which have plated 29 of Kansas’ 49 runs scored in 2016. Eight different Jayhawks have recorded a long ball.
- Senior infielder Chaley Brickey walked her way into the history books after recording four base on balls last weekend, the Haltom City, Texas native claimed Kansas’ all-time walk record, surpassing Tracy Bunge’s record 108 walks from 1983-86.
- When Kansas has runners in scoring position, KU is hitting above .300. KU has had 258 at-bats so far in 2016 with 74 of those with runners in scoring position.
- The Jayhawk offense has come alive late in games this season, scoring 26 of 49 runs in the final three innings. Kansas has scored 15 runs in the fifth frame, the most runs scored than in any other inning this year.
- In the last three seasons, Kansas has recorded three top-10 wins including a victory over then-No. 1 Oklahoma, 2-0, in 2013. During the 2015 season, KU continued its tradition of upsetting OU with a 4-2 win over the fifth-ranked Sooners on April 24.
- The Jayhawks have recorded 30 wins in each of the last five seasons under head coach Megan Smith. Kansas’ 40 wins last seasons were the most victories claimed by KU in the Smith era, and the most wins by a Jayhawk team since 1997.
About the Jayhawks
For the second weekend in a row, Kansas finished 2-3 and dropped to 4-6 on the season. KU opened the Fresno State Kickoff with a 5-4 comeback victory over UC Riverside and a run-rule 9-0 shutout over Sacramento State for its second win of the weekend. The Jayhawks dropped two close games to No. 24 Fresno State and the non-conference tournament finale against UC Riverside.
Four Jayhawks hit above .300 in the last five games, including senior Chaley Brickey and sophomore Erin McGinley’s .429 efforts at the plate. Brickey, McGinley and sophomore infielder Daniella Chavez led the squad with six hits and five RBIs over the weekend. So far in 2016, eight different Jayhawks have recorded a home run, a total of 14, led by Chavez’s four. Chavez is batting a team-best .485 in 2016 with a team-high 16 hits, 15 RBIs and four long balls in 10 games. Kansas is batting .287 at the plate with five Jayhawks hitting above .300. KU has recorded a total of 74 hits, including 23 for extra bases, 33 walks and 45 RBIs.
Freshman pitcher Ania Williams tossed her first career complete-game shutout, a five-inning effort, against Sacramento State (2/20).She has a team-low 1.37 ERA with a 2-1 record and seven strikeouts in 15 a one-third innings of work. Sophomore right hander Andie Formby led the pitching staff with nine strikeouts in nine and one-third innings pitched last weekend. On the year, Formby has struck out a team-best 20 batters in six appearances while posting a 2.43 ERA. The Jayhawks’ pitching staff has a combined 4.04 ERA on the year with 45 strikeouts in 62 and one-third innings.
Scouting the Badgers
Wisconsin softball is off to a 5-4 start to 2016, including a 4-3 mark at neutral sites. The Badgers return 11 letterwinners and eight starters from last year’s squad, including the team’s leaders in slugging percentage, on base percentage, RBIs, doubles, home runs, total bases and walks. Wisconsin returns 53.1 percent of its runs scored, 49.9 percent of its hitting and 61.0 percent of its RBI production from last season.
Sophomore Kelsey Jenkins was the first-ever freshman in program history to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors in 2015. Jenkins is hitting a team-best .304 with seven hits, including a double and two home runs, 10 walks and six RBIs. She has posted a team-high .609 slugging percentage and .529 on-base percentage. Offensively, the Badgers are batting .237 with 54 hits, including 19 for extra bases, 32 walks and 37 RBIs. Jenkins is the lone Badger starter hitting above .300 through the first nine games.
Senior ace Taylor-Paige Stewart returns to the circle in 2016 after recording a team season-high 124 strikeouts last year. She currently leads the pitching staff with 30 K’s in eight appearances. Stewart has a 3-2 record in 2016 after giving up 12 earned runs in 28 and one-third innings of work, good for a 3.81 ERA. Transfer Kirsten Stevens has thrown a team-low 3.42 ERA in 23 and two-thirds innings pitched. She has struck out 21 batters and has a 2-2 mark in the circle. The Badgers pitching staff has a combined 3.97 ERA with 57 strikeouts.
Scouting the Bulls
Tournament host South Florida is 2-7 on the season, including a 1-4 mark at home. The Bulls were picked to finish fourth by the league’s coaches in the American Athletic Conference preseason softball poll. USF returns 16 players from a 2015 squad that just missed making its fourth-consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. First team all-conference selection Lee Ann Spivey and second team all-conference selection Kristen Wyckoff both return to help lead the Bulls in 2016.
In nine starts, Spivey is hitting .174 with two doubles and a RBI, while Wyckoff is batting .375 with three hits and a run scored in four starts. Juli Weber is leading the way offensively with a .333 batting average after recording a team-best nine hits. She also has a home run and three RBIs on her resume in 2016. The Bulls are hitting .252 as a team with 51 hits and 26 RBIs.
Left-hander Erica Nunn returns for her senior season after leading the 2015 team in wins (10), ERA (2.18), complete games (3) and opponent batting average (.215). In 2016, Nunn heads up the pitching staff with 16 K’s, but is 0-4 on the season with a 7.23 ERA. Cheyenne Eggens has a 2-0 mark with a team-low 3.38 ERA, while recording 10 strikeouts. Collectively, the Bulls’ pitching staff has a 9.00 ERA with 33 strikeouts.
Scouting the Lady Rebels
UNLV is off to a 7-4 start to the season after the first 11 games of 2016. The Lady Rebels were selected to finish fifth overall in the 2016 Mountain West Preseason Poll. UNLV will be led on the diamond by 11 returning letterwinners, including two that garnered All-Mountain West honors at the conclusion of 2015. Garie Blando, the league’s 2014 player of the year, earned a spot on the first team for the second-straight year, while Emily Haslinger was selected to the second team.
Offensively, Janine Petmecky is hitting a team-high .515 in 11 starts with 17 hits, including five for extra bases, and five RBIs. Haslinger has posted a team-best 11 RBIs while batting .259 with a pair of home runs. The Lady Rebels have a .321 batting average with 95 hits, including three triples and four home runs, 19 walks and 45 RBIs. A total of eight players in the lineup are hitting above .300.
Kwyn Cooper leads the Lady Rebels’ pitching staff with a 3-0 mark in the circle and a 2.43 ERA. She has struck out three in 23 innings of work. Alyssa Batastini leads the staff with 11 K’s, while sporting a 1-1 record and a 3.06 ERA. UNLV pitching staff has a 3.17 ERA with 32 K’s in 75 innings combined.
Walk this Way
Senior infielder Chaley Brickey walked her way into the Kansas record books after recording her 109th career base on balls against UC Riverside (2/21), becoming the Jayhawks’ all-time walk leader after surpassing Tracy Bunge’s base on balls count of 108 from 1983-86. Brickey, who averaged 34 walks per season during her first three years in the Crimson and Blue, set a single-season of 42 walks during the 2014 campaign.
Kansas concludes its 19-game road swing March 5-6 at the Southern Illinois Tournament. The Jayhawks will face Southern Illinois, Eastern Illinois and Butler for a total of four games. Every pitch from Carbondale, Illinois will be available on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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