Jayhawks Stay on the Road for Kentucky Tournament
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kansas softball continues it eight-game stretch on the road with the Kentucky Tournament March 21-23 at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington. The Jayhawks (20-9) open the tournament with Kent State on Friday, March 21 at 9 a.m. CT. KU will play a total of five games in three days against the Golden Flashes, Fairfield, Saint Francis and host No. 8 Kentucky.
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 20-9 and has won nine of the last 11 games, including a 4-1 mark at home. The Jayhawks are 16-8 away from Arrocha Ballpark this season.
- KU has outscored opponents 143-49 after 29 games and in the past 10 games has scored 60 runs compared to the opposition’s six runs. Kansas has turned up the heat late in the game and has outscored the opposition 31-6 in the fifth inning. The Jayhawks have a 18-4 advantage when scoring first in the ball game.
- The Jayhawks have outhit opponents in 22-of-29 games this season. Kansas owns a 19-3 record when out hitting its opponents.
- Sophomore infielder Chaley Brickey was named Co-Big 12 Player of the Week on March 9, while junior Alicia Pille earned Big 12 Pitcher of the Week honors on March 16. It is the first weekly conference honor for Brickey and Pille.
- Six Jayhawk starters are hitting above .300 on the season with Brickey leading the way with a .429 batting average.
- 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 (.981) after committing only 14 errors in 195 innings.
Kent State: Kansas’ all-time series record against the Golden Flashes is tied 1-1. The series began in 2007 and Kent State won the series-opening game 4-1. The Jayhawks evened the overall series record with a 4-0 win.
Fairfield: The Jayhawks and the Stags meet for the third time in program history this weekend. Kansas has a 2-0 lead in the all-time series, which began in 2012. KU swept the series 5-3 and 8-1 in Wilmington, N.C.
Saint Francis: Saturday’s game against the Red Flash marks the first meeting in program history.
Kentucky: KU has faced Kentucky twice prior to this weekend’s match-up. The series began in 2004 and the last meeting occurred in 2010. The all-time series is tied 1-1. Kansas won the first meeting 6-5 and the Wildcats won the last meeting 7-2.
SCOUTING THE FIELD
Kent State: The Golden Flashes are 12-9 on the year and have won two of their last four games. Kent State has a batting average of 2.41 with 19 doubles, seven triples and 16 home runs. The Flashes have also collected 70 RBIs and 12 stolen bases in 15 attempts. Maddy Grimm leads the team with a .317 batting average. She also has recorded three doubles, two triples, six home runs and 24 RBIs. Kent State has a staff ERA of 2.52 in 138.2 inning pitched. Emma Johnson has a 7-4 mark in the circle and has thrown seven complete games, including two shutouts. She has an ERA of 1.69 with 82 strikeouts in 70.1 innings of work.
Fairfield: The Stags are 2-7 heading into the Kentucky Tournament. At the plate, Fairfield is batting .230 with 51 hits, including 10 extra base hits, and has recorded 18 RBIs. Sammy Ruffalo is batting .400 after nine starts with a triple and four RBIs. In the circle, Fairfield’s pitching staff has a combined ERA of 5.27 and has struck out 42 batters. Rae Ball is 2-2 on the season with a team-low 4.32 ERA and has registered 20 K’s.
Saint Francis: The Red Flash are off to a 13-4 start to the 2014 season. Saint Francis has outscored its opponents 113-51 and collected 101 RBIs. Saint Francis is batting .317 on the year with 138 hits, including 44 extra base hits. Chelsy Cosentino is batting a team-high .412 with six doubles, a pair of triples, a home run and 13 RBIs. Alexis Bower leads the team with 21 RBIs. In the circle, the Red Flash pitching staff has struck out 74 batters and thrown six complete games. Saint Francis has a team ERA of 2.41 in 107.2 innings pitched. Ketarah DeVries has a 5-1 mark with 27 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.31 in eight appearances and five starts. Bower is also 5-1 with 2.63 ERA and has struck out 24 batters.
Kentucky: The Wildcats enter the weekend ranked No. 8 in the country and have an overall mark of 22-4. Kentucky is hitting .277 on the year with 31 doubles, four triples, 28 home runs and 105 RBIs. UK has stolen 12 bases in 20 attempts. Griffin Joiner leads the team with a .378 batting average, seven home runs and 20 RBIs. She has recorded a .743 slugging percentage and an on-base percentage of .505. The Wildcats’ pitching staff has a combined ERA of 1.83 in 183.2 innings and has struck out 152 batters. Lauren Cumbess has a perfect 7-0 mark in nine games started with a 1.38 ERA and 47 strikeouts. Kelsey Nunley is 8-2 with a 1.89 ERA and 55 strikeouts.
AMONG THE NATION’S BEST
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 .981 and are ranked No. 14 in the country in staff ERA at 1.47. 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 (153) and eighth in shutouts (6).
AND THE WINNER IS…
Junior Alicia Pille picked up her first career Big 12 Pitcher of the Week accolade for the week ending on March 16. She threw back-to-back complete game shutouts and allowed just three hits in two starts and struck out 15. Sophomore infielder Chaley Brickey was named Co-Big 12 Player of the Week for the week ending on March 9.
RUN JAYHAWKS RUN
Kansas has outscored opponents 143-49 and have ended five games early due to the run-rule. When a Jayhawk runner scores first, KU has a 18-4 advantage. Kansas scores more runs during the fifth inning than any other in 2014 and has outscored the opposition 31-6 in the fifth frame.
KANSAS VS. RANKED OPPONENTS
The Jayhawks face six teams during the 2014 season that are currently ranked in USA Today/NFCA poll or the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. Kentucky is the highest nationally-ranked opponent that Kansas will play in 2014 and is No. 8 in the USA Today/NFCA Poll. KU is 1-2 on the year against opponents ranked in the top 25. Oklahoma is ranked No. 19 in the country and is the last ranked team that KU has defeated. The Jayhawks beat OU 2-0 on Senior Day (5/5/13), which is the first time in program history that Kansas earned a victory over a top-ranked foe.
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