Jayhawks Face Saint Louis For Midweek Doubleheader
LAWRENCE, Kan. — After a five-game stint at home, Kansas softball hits the road for eight-straight games starting with a doubleheader at Saint Louis Wednesday, March 19 starting at 3 p.m. The next eight games on the road conclude non-conference play before the Jayhawks open their 2014 Big 12 slate with Oklahoma State on March 28.
FOLLOWING THE JAYHAWKS
Live stats are offered for all the Jayhawks’ games during the 2014 season 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 19-8 and has won 13 of the last 16 games, including a 4-1 mark at home. The Jayhawks are 15-7 away from Arrocha Ballpark this season.
- KU has outscored opponents 130-45 after 27 games and in the past five games has scored 33 runs compared to the opposition’s one run. 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 17-3 advantage when scoring first in the ball game.
- The Jayhawks have outhit opponents in 21-of-27 games this season. Kansas owns a 18-3 record when out hitting its opponents.
- Six Jayhawk starters are hitting above .300 on the season with Brickey leading the way with a .416 batting average. In the last five games, senior Taylor Hatfield hit .533 with three doubles, a triple, a home run and five RBIs.
- Sophomore Kelsey Kessler leads the Kansas pitching staff with 144 strikeouts on the season and is just the fifth sophomore Jayhawk pitcher to hurl 140 or more strikeouts in a single 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 37 strikeouts away from KU’s top 10 career list.
- Kessler tossed 24.1 consecutive scoreless innings starting with her relief appearance against South Florida (3/7) until the second inning against No. 14 Nebraska (3/15).
- Junior Maddie Stein has the longest hitting streak by a Jayhawk after recording at least one hit in 12-straight games. Brickey has the second-longest hitting streak after registering a hit in the last 11 games.
- 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 14 errors in 180.1 innings.
KANSAS VS. SAINT LOUIS: THE SERIES
Wednesday’s doubleheader marks the third and fourth meetings in program history and first since 1983. The Jayhawks lead the all-time series 2-0, which began in 1980. KU shutout the Billikens in the first two meetings and has outscored Saint Louis 10-0.
SCOUTING THE BILLIKENS
Saint Louis is 11-10 on the season and is set to play its first home games of 2014 against the Jayhawks. The Billikens were selected to finish fifth in the Atlantic 10 Conference and are the second A-10 team that Kansas has faced this season. KU defeated Fordham, 10-1, on Feb. 14. At the plate, the Billikens are hitting .261 with 143 hits, including 22 doubles, three triples and 16 home runs. SLU has collected 93 RBIs, 79 walks and 20 stolen bases. Four Billikens are batting .300 or higher on the season. Mackenzie Peter leads the team with a .368 batting average after 19 starts. Sh is also on top with eight doubles, while launching two home runs and recording 13 RBIs. Saint Louis’ pitching staff has a combined ERA of 3.17 in 132.1 innings of work and has struck out 77 batters, while allowing the opposition to hit .263. Ace Brianna Lore is 7-7 in the circle after 14 starts with a 3.37 ERA and a team-best 60 strikeouts. She has thrown 13 complete games and recorded a save.
AMONG THE BEST IN THE NATION
Kansas is among the top 15 in the country in several statistical categories. The Jayhawks posted the fifth-best fielding percentage in the nation at .980 and are ranked No. 14 in the country in staff ERA at 1.48. Individually, freshman Harli Ridling is sixth in the nation in hit-by-pitch per game (0.52), while senior Ashley Newman is third in sacrifice hits per game (0.44). Sophomore Kelsey Kessler is fourth in the country in strikeouts (144) and eighth in shutouts (6).
RUN JAYHAWKS RUN
Kansas has outscored opponents 130-45 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.
NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT
Through 180.1 innings of play this season, the Jayhawk defense has committed only 14 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.
Kansas continues its eight-game road stretch at the Kentucky Tournament March 21-23. The Jayhawks open the tournament on Friday, March 21 against Kent State.
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