Kansas Hosts South Dakota State in 2014 home opener
LAWRENCE, Kan. — After five-straight weeks on the road to begin the season, Kansas returns to Arrocha Ballpark for a six-game homestand. The Jayhawks host South Dakota State on Tuesday, March 11 for a doubleheader in their 2014 home opener. KU is set to play a total of 15 games inside Arrocha Ballpark in its final season before moving to the newly-constructed Rock Chalk Park in 2015.
FOLLOWING THE JAYHAWKS
Live stats are offered for the Jayhawks’ doubleheader against South Dakota State and are available via KUAthletics.com. Kansas softball’s twitter account (@KUSoftball) will also have in-game updates during each game this season.
LEADING OFF FOF KANSAS
- Kansas is 15-7 in 2014 and has won nine of the last 11 games, including the last four contests. The Jayhawks are 3-1 on the road and 12-6 on neutral diamonds.
- KU has outscored opponents 97-44 after 22 games. Kansas has turned up the heat late in the game in 2014 and has outscored the opposition 26-6 in the fifth inning. The Jayhawks have a 13-3 advantage when scoring first in the ball game.
- The Jayhawks have outhit opponents in 17-of-22 games this season. Kansas owns a 14-3 record when out hitting its opponents.
- Kansas is 2-1 in extra inning games this season and has a 5-1 mark in extended contests under head coach Megan Smith. KU’s all-time record in extra-inning games is 79-75-1.
- Five Jayhawk starters are hitting above .300 on the season with sophomore infielder Chaley Brickey leading the way with a .406 batting average. She hit .643 over the weekend at the Under Armour Showcase with nine hits, including three doubles, three home runs and six RBIs. Brickey hit a home run in three-straight games and leads the squad with five home runs on the season.
- Freshman catcher Harli Ridling hit her first career grand slam against Jackson State (2/22) and has four home runs on the year. She recorded a home run two games in a row last weekend.
- Sophomore Kelsey Kessler leads the Kansas pitching staff with 121 strikeouts on the season. Kessler recorded a career-high 15 Ks earlier this season against Chattanooga (2/9) and has struck out 10 or more batters in four games. Kessler is 70 strikeouts away from KU’s top 10 career list and 19 away from becoming the fifth sophomore Jayhawk pitcher to hurl 140 or more strikeouts in a single season.
- Junior Maddie Stein has recorded a hit in the last 11 games for the longest current hitting streak by a Jayhawk. Brickey has the second-longest streak after registering a hit in the last nine games.
KANSAS VS. SOUTH DAKOTA STATE: THE SERIES
Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Jackrabbits marks the second and third meetings in program history. Kansas leads the series 1-0 after downing South Dakota State 8-0 in six innings in 2011 in Deland, Fla. KU is 1-0 against SDSU under head coach Megan Smith. It is the first meeting between the two squads in Lawrence as the Jayhawks own a 1-0 advantage over the Jackrabbits when playing on a neutral diamond.
SCOUTING THE JACKRABBITS
South Dakota State is 5-10 on the season and will play games against Murray State and Evansville at the Aces Invitational before coming to Arrocha Ballpark for Tuesday’s doubleheader with Kansas. The Jackrabbits were selected to finish seventh in the Summit League by the conference coaches. The Jackrabbits are hitting .266 on the season with 102 hits, including 26 doubles, four triples and six home runs. SDSU has registered 58 RBIs, 43 walks and 15 stolen bases. Elyse Eitel is batting .429 after 15 starts and leads the team with 18 hits and five doubles. She also has posted the highest slugging percentage (.619) and on-base percentage (.520) in the lineup. Devan Larsen has recorded a team-best 13 RBIs and two home runs, while Sammy Bingham has hit a team-high three triples. In the circle, South Dakota State has a 4.94 ERA after 95 innings of work. SDSU’s pitching staff has a total of 48 strikeouts and 12 complete games. Ashlyn Bender has a 3-3 mark in the circle and posted a 3.60 ERA, which is the lowest on the staff. She has struck out a team-high 22 batters, while tossing five complete games. Opponents are hitting .309 when Bender is in the circle.
RUN JAYHAWKS RUN
Kansas has outscored opponents 97-44 in 2014 and have ended two games early due to the run-rule. When a Jayhawk runner scores first, KU has a 13-3 advantage. Kansas scores more runs during the fifth inning than any other in 2014 and has outscored the opposition 26-2 in the fifth frame. In the final three innings of games, the Jayhawks have outscored their opponents 42-21. Kansas as a 14-1 mark when leading after four innings.
HEATING UP AT THE PLATE
Sophomore Chaley Brickey is heating up at the plate. The shortstop is hitting .406 on the season and last weekend hit .643 (9-of-14) at the Under Armour Showcase. Six of her nine hits were for extra bases and she posted six RBIs. Brickey launched one over the fence three games in a row and now leads the team with five home runs. She registered a slugging percentage of 1.500 and a on-base percentage of .737 over the last five games.
TWO OUT SUCCESS
Freshman Harli Ridling has tallied 18 RBIs during her rookie campaign, which is second-most on the team. Seven of her RBIs have come with two outs, which is the most two-out RBIs in 2014. In all, 38 of the Jayhawks’ 89 RBIs have come with two-outs this season.
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