Kansas Continues Homestand With Jayhawk Invitational
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas softball continues its longest homestand of the 2014 season with the Jayhawk Invitational March 14-16. The Jayhawks (17-7) welcome No. 14 Nebraska, Northern Illinois and Jackson State in the first tournament at Arrocha Ballpark since the 2009 season. KU opens the weekend against Northern Illinois on Friday, March 14 at 3:30 p.m., and will play a total of four games over the weekend.
FOLLOWING THE JAYHAWKS
Kansas’ game against Jackson State on Saturday, March 15 will be broadcast live on the Jayhawk Television Network/ESPN3, it is the first of four home games that will be air on the Jayhawk Network/ESPN3. Live stats are offered for all the Jayhawks’ games during the Jayhawk Invitational and are available via KUAthletics.com. Kansas softball’s twitter account (@KUSoftball) will also have in-game updates during each game of the season.
LEADING OFF FOR KANSAS
- Kansas is 17-7 and has won 11 of the last 13 games, including the past six contests. The Jayhawks are 2-0 at Arrocha Ballpark this season and are in the middle of a six-game homestand.
- KU has outscored opponents 113-44 after 24 games. Kansas has turned up the heat late in the game and has outscored the opposition 30-6 in the fifth inning. The Jayhawks have a 15-3 advantage when scoring first in the ball game.
- The Jayhawks have outhit opponents in 19-of-24 games this season. Kansas owns a 16-3 record when out hitting its opponents.
- 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 (.978) after committing only 12 errors in 151.1 innings.
- Sophomore infielder Chaley Brickey was named Co-Big 12 Player of the Week as announced by the league for the week ending on March 9. It is the first weekly conference honor for Brickey, who is also the first Jayhawk to earn the accolade this season.
- Six Jayhawk starters are hitting above .300 on the season with Brickey leading the way with a .449 batting average. In the last seven games, Brickey is hitting .737 (14-for-19) with three doubles, four home runs and 12 RBIs. She hit a home run in four of the last six games.
- Sophomore Kelsey Kessler leads the Kansas pitching staff with 131 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 five games. Kessler is 60 strikeouts away from KU’s top 10 career list and nine away from becoming the fifth sophomore Jayhawk pitcher to hurl 140 or more strikeouts in a single season.
- Junior Maddie Stein the longest hitting streak by a Jayhawk after recording at least one hit in 12-straight games. Brickey has the longest current hitting streak after registering a hit in the last 11 games.
Northern Illinois: Kansas faces Northern Illinois twice this weekend and leads the all-time series 6-1. The Jayhawks have won five-straight games over the Huskies. KU last faced NIU in 1999 and swept the series by defeating the Huskies 3-0 and 4-1. Kansas has outscored Northern Illinois 29-8 in the first seven meetings and shut out the Huskies on two occasions.
Jackson State: Kansas squares off with the Tigers for the third time in program history and second time this season at the Jayhawk Invitational. The Jayhawks have a perfect 2-0 record against Jackson State and have outscored the Tigers 14-3 in the previous two meetings. Earlier this season, KU defeated Jackson State 9-0 in Jackson, Miss., where Alicia Pille recorded her first career no-hitter.
Nebraska: Sunday’s game against the Cornhuskers marks the 103rd meeting between the two programs. It is the first meeting since 2011 when Nebraska left the Big 12 conference for the Big Ten. The all-time series is tied 51-51 and the victor of Sunday’s meeting will take a one-game advantage in the overall series. The Jayhawks are looking to snap the Huskers four-game winning streak.
SCOUTING THE FIELD
Northern Illinois: The Huskies are 7-9 on the season and have lost their last three games heading into the weekend. At the plate, Northern Illinois is hitting .266 with 112 hits, including 21 extra base hits, and 51 RBIs. Rebecca Rupard is batting a team-high .458 in 13 appearances with a home run and five RBIs. Emily Naegele leads the team with four doubles and nine RBIs, while hitting .283 on the season. NIU has a combined ERA of 3.26 in 105.1 innings pitched and tallied a total of 28 strikeouts this season. Jessica Sturm is 4-3 in the circle with a 0.77 ERA and eight strikeouts.
Jackson State: The Tigers play two games against Memphis before heading to the Jayhawk Invitational and are 5-16 in 2014. Jackson State is hitting .189 on the year totaling 96 hits, including 15 doubles and two home runs. The Tigers have collected 34 RBIs, 59 walks and stolen 33 bases. Cannessa Swanson leads the squad with 11 stolen bases. Lauren Aikens is batting a team-high .328 with five doubles and 12 RBIs, which is the most on the team. She has recorded a slugging percentage of .414 and an on-base percentage of .435. In the circle, the Tigers’ pitching staff has registered a 5.57 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 140.2 innings of work. Breea Jamerson has thrown a team-best 23 strikeouts. She has a 2-5 mark with 3.00 ERA and one shutout in six starts. Jamerson also has two saves this season.
Nebraska: The Cornhuskers enter the weekend ranked No. 14 in the country by ESPN.com/USA Softball. Nebraska is 15-8 on the season and have won three of its last four games, including an upset win over No. 6 Washington. The Huskers have a 1.82 team ERA and tossed 131 strikeouts in 158 innings of work. Tatum Edwards leads the pitching staff with a 1.54 ERA and 76 strikeouts. She has thrown 11 complete games and two shutouts. Emily Lockman has an 8-3 mark in the circle with 55 batters stuck out and an ERA of 2.17. Offensively, Nebraska is batting .270 with 23 doubles, 16 home runs and 78 RBIs. The Huskers have collected 65 walks, but also struck out 99 times in 2014. Taylor Edwards is hitting .473 with a team-best five home runs and 13 RBIs. She has a slugging percentage of .716 and on-base percentage of .557. Three Huskers are batting .300 or better on the year.
AND THE WINNER IS…
Sophomore infielder Chaley Brickey was named Co-Big 12 Player of the Week as announced by the league for the week ending on March 9. It is the first weekly conference honor for Brickey, who is also the first Jayhawk to earn the accolade in 2014. Brickey helped the Jayhawks to a 4-1 record last weekend (March 7-9) by hitting .643 (9-of-14) with three doubles, three home runs and a team-high six RBIs. She tallied multiple hits in three of five games and multiple RBIs in two games.
RUN JAYHAWKS RUN
Kansas has outscored opponents 113-44 and have ended four games early due to the run-rule. When a Jayhawk runner scores first, KU has a 15-3 advantage. Kansas scores more runs during the fifth inning than any other in 2014 and has outscored the opposition 30-6 in the fifth frame. In the final three innings of games, the Jayhawks have outscored their opponents 46-21. Kansas has a 16-1 mark when leading after four innings.
HEATING UP AT THE PLATE
Sophomore Chaley Brickey is heating up at the plate. The shortstop is hitting .449 on the season and in the last seven games has hit .737 (14-of-19). Eight of her 14 hits were for extra bases and she posted 12 RBIs. Brickey launched one over the fence in four of the last six games and now leads the team with six home runs. She registered a slugging percentage of 1.526 and a on-base percentage of .808 over the last seven games.
CAN’T TOUCH THIS
Sophomore pitcher Kelsey Kessler has thrown 19.1 consecutive scoreless innings dating back to her relief appearance against South Florida (3/7). She has thrown three complete-game shutouts in a row, while striking out 29 in her last three starts.
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