Kansas Migrates South Once Again For Stetson Classic
LAWRENCE, Kan. – For the third-straight weekend, the Jayhawks return to Florida for another five-game non-conference tournament. Kansas heads to DeLand, Florida for the Stetson Classic March 6-8. The field for this weekend’s tournament, the final road trip before KU hosts its own tournament, includes host Stetson, Chattanooga and La Salle.
Following the Jayhawks
Listen to every pitch, home and away, all season long as part of the Jayhawk Radio Network in partnership with KJHK, the University of Kansas’ student radio station. For the first time ever, all of KU’s contests will be carried live, for free, at KUAthletics.com/radio or by clicking the links on the online schedule. Fans can also get in-game updates via twitter by following @KUsoftball. The Jayhawks’ match up against Stetson can be viewed on HatterVision for a fee, which can be found gohatters.com.
LEADING OFF FOR KANSAS
- Eight Jayhawks are hitting above .300 in 2015 and contributing to KU’s .342 batting average. Junior Briana Evans is hitting over .400 with a batting average of .424.
- Kansas’ 12-0 start to 2015 season set a new program record, surpassing the 10-0 record to begin the 2011 campaign. The Jayhawks are 17-1 with No. 1 Florida handing KU its lone loss.
- The Jayhawks’ red-hot start to the 2015 campaign has put Kansas on the national radar. Heading into the fifth week of the season, KU maintained its previous weeks’ No. 25 ranking in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate top-25 and moved up one spot to No. 25 in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) poll. It marks the first time since 2011 that the Jayhawks have been nationally-ranked and third week in a row to receive votes.
- The Jayhawks have outscored their opponents 123-53 in 18 games, including six shutouts and a no-hitter. KU scores its most runs during the first and third frames after plating 25 and 20 runs, respectively.
- KU has a perfect 13-0 record when scoring first and is 4-1 when the opposition strikes first.
- After 18 games, the Jayhawks have outhit their opponents 165-83 and own a 14-0 record when outhitting the team in the other dugout.
- Head coach Megan Smith has guided the Jayhawks to an upset over at least one nationally-ranked opponent in each of her five seasons at the helm of Kansas softball. In 2014, KU defeated three ranked foes. Most recently, the Jayhawks were victorious over then-No. 19 Nebraska in the first game of the NCAA Tournament.
- After finishing 2014 with the second-best fielding mark in the nation and only replacing one member of the Jayhawk infield, Kansas continues its trend of being defensively sound. After the first 18 games of the season, KU’s defense has committed only 12 errors in 118 innings and has a .975 fielding percentage.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
Kansas concluded its fourth weekend of the 2015 season by tacking on three more victories to get to its 17-1 start. After tallying a program best 12-0 mark to begin the season, the Jayhawks’ perfect record was terminated by the undefeated No. 1-ranked Florida Gators. KU has since gone on a five-game win streak. Kansas has gone undefeated in three of its four tournaments this season. The Jayhawks received their first extra-inning victory of 2015 after freshman catcher Jessie Roane drove in the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning against the Stony Brook Seawolves. In its last 18 games, Kansas has outhit its opponent in all but four contests.
Eight Jayhawks are hitting above .300 with junior outfielder Briana Evans hitting over .400. Junior infielder Chaley Brickey leads the squad with four home runs and 21 RBIs. Senior infielder Chanin Naudin and senior utility Maddie Stein lead the squad with eight doubles each. Naudin has driven in 18 RBIs, second-most on the roster.
Collectively, the Jayhawks are hitting .342 with 33 doubles, 14 home runs and 108 RBIs. Kansas has a .501 slugging percentage and an on-base percentage of .443. KU is 11-for-16 in stolen base attempts and has drawn a total of 84 walks, averaging 4.6 per game. The Jayhawk pitching staff has posted a 2.91 ERA in 118 innings of work while striking out 104 and allowing 46 walks. In the circle, Kansas pitchers combined to hurl 22 and two-thirds innings of scoreless softball. KU tossed three-consecutive shutouts from Feb. 8-14. The Jayhawks nearly threw a fourth-straight shutout, but Weber State scored a run in sixth inning, ending the KU pitchers’ streak an out shy of 23 scoreless innings.
SCOUTING LA SALLE
La Salle will kickoff its 2015 season this weekend at the Stetson Classic. The Explorers finished the 2014 season with their first Atlantic 10 Conference tournament appearance under head coach Ron Shoemaker. La Salle ended 9-9 in conference play and registered an overall mark of 18-24. With 19 letterwinners returning, La Salle is predicted to finish eighth in the Atlantic 10 this season. Sophomore Christina Bascara returns to La Salle’s lineup as a staple to the Explorers’ offense, registering a team-best .331 batting average and 39 hits on the 2014 season. The third baseman also tied a team high with two triples last spring. Senior Alicia Aughton will return to the circle this year after compiling an 11-11 record with a 2.89 ERA, hurling 88 strikeouts. Aughton proved to be a force on the bases as well, stealing a perfect 4-4 on the year.
Collectively, the Explorers hit .255 last season with 268 hits, 37 doubles and 38 home runs. The pitching staff combined for a 3.93 ERA throwing 169 strikeouts in 2014.
After having last weekend’s tournament cancelled, the Mocs enter this weekend with six-straight victories and a 11-4 overall record on the season. After winning the Southern Conference tournament last year, Chattanooga has been tabbed to win this year’s conference slate.
Three Mocs received preseason First-Team conference honors, including senior infielder Nicole Osterman who leads the squad in home runs with four as well as registering 18 RBIs. Osterman is batting .341 and is second on the team with four doubles. Starting all 15 games, junior outfielder Sam Taylor leads the team with 22 hits and a .440 batting average. Taylor is the only Moc to blast a triple this season and has connected on a team-high eight doubles. Senior pitcher Taylor Deason leads the Mocs’ pitching staff with an ERA of 1.54, recording a 5-2 record in the circle while striking out 57 batters she has faced. Chattanooga’s pitching staff combines for a 2.61 ERA in 99.1 innings pitched and has thrown a total of 98 strikeouts this season. As a team, the Mocs are batting .288 with 113 hits, including 14 home runs and 28 doubles.
Stetson holds a 10-3 record entering its own tournament and is coming off of a five-game winning streak. The Hatters have played all 13 of their games on their home field. After winning last year’s Atlantic Sun tournament, their first in seven years, the Hatters are projected to come in third in conference play for the 2015 season.
Stetson currently has five players hitting over .400 on the season. Junior catcher Jessica Griffin is leading the offensive charge with a batting average of .528, registering 19 hits, seven home runs and 24 RBIs. Senior pitcher Courtney Brandt holds a 5-1 record in the circle with a 1.17 ERA. The senior also leads the squad with six doubles and is second on the team with 18 RBIs. After 13 starts, sophomore Jessie TenBroeck is a perfect 10-for-10 in stolen bases and has connected on three doubles this season. As a team, the Hatters are batting .398 with 26 doubles, three triples and 18 home runs. Stetson’s pitching staff, headed by Brandt and freshman Chelsea Hostetler, is combining for a 2.84 ERA, hurling 48 strikeouts in 74.0 innings pitched.
JAYHAWKS ON THE NATIONAL RADAR
After another perfect weekend during the 2015 non-conference slate, Kansas softball has improved to a 17-1 mark on the season, its best start in program history, and earned a spot in both major national softball polls. Entering the fourth week of play, KU was receiving votes and ranked No. 26 in the NFCA/USA Today poll, but after collecting three more victories at the UNF Tournament last weekend, the Jayhawks broke into the second national poll at No. 25. Kansas remains in the 25th spot in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 for the second week in a row.
HOW KANSAS STACKS UP IN THE BIG 12
The Jayhawks own the second-best batting average (.342) in the Big 12 Conference while in the circle, KU has the third-lowest ERA (2.91). Kansas also has the best fielding percentage (.975) in the league. Junior outfielder Briana Evans and junior infielder Chaley Brickey rank among the top 10 in batting average. Evans is hitting .424, while Brickey is batting .390 good for sixth and ninth, respectively, in the league. Senior infielder Chanin Naudin and senior utility Maddie Stein have tallied a conference-leading eight doubles. Senior pitcher Alicia Pille has posted a 1.50 ERA, which is the fourth-lowest ERA in the conference. Pille also leads the Big 12 in wins with an 9-0 record and four shutouts. She is leads the league in strikeouts with 68.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
While Kansas will play its most home games (22) since 2009, the Jayhawks open the season on the road and will play the first five weeks of the 2015 campaign away from Lawrence. KU will play a total of 25-straight games on the road before making its debut in Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park on March 13. After their first three weekends on the road, the Jayhawks have a 17-1 mark with its lone loss at No. 1 Florida. Kansas continues its 25-game streak away from Lawrence in Florida this weekend.
Kansas will head home after a 23-game road stint to host the Jayhawk Invitational, March 13-15. KU will play Northern Colorado on Friday, March 13, at 3 p.m. to kick-off its home season in Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park.
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