Kansas Faces Shockers in Midweek Match-Up
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas softball begins a five-game road swing with a midweek contest at Wichita State on Wednesday, April 2 at 6 p.m. inside the Wilkins Softball Facility. The game is the second to last non-conference game of the 2014 season. The Jayhawks conclude the non-conference slate on April 8 at UMKC.
FOLLOWING THE JAYHAWKS
Live stats are offered for all the Jayhawks’ games during the 2014 season and are available via KUAthletics.com. Fans can listen to every home game through Jayhawk Digital Passport, which is available at 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 27-10 and has won 16 of the last 19 games, including a series sweep over Oklahoma State to open the 2014 Big 12 slate. The 3-0 start is the best start in Big 12 action since the Jayhawks opened 1997 with a 9-0 mark.
- The Jayhawks defeated then-No. 8 Kentucky 7-5 on March 23 and extended their streak of defeating a nationally-ranked opponent to five-consecutive seasons under head coach Megan Smith.
- KU has outscored opponents 181-67 after 37 games. Kansas has a 23-4 advantage when scoring first in the ballgame and has outscored opponents 29-9 in the first frame.
- The Jayhawks have outhit opponents in 27-of-37 games this season. Kansas owns a 24-3 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 second-best fielding percentage in the Big 12 (.978) after committing only 21 errors in 251 innings.
- Sophomore Kelsey Kessler leads the Kansas pitching staff with 202 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 seven games. Kessler has
- Junior Maddie Stein and senior Taylor Hatfield have the longest hitting streak by a Jayhawk after recording at least one hit in 12-straight games. Sophomore Chaley Brickey has the second-longest hitting streak after registering a hit in 11 games.
KANSAS VS. WICHITA STATE: THE SERIES
Kansas leads the overall series against the Shockers 69-17. The Jayhawks have won five-straight games and nine of the last 10 meetings. The first meeting was a 7-5 victory for KU in 1978 and the last meeting was in 2012 when KU defeated Wichita State 8-3. Kansas has shut out WSU in 30 of its 69 victories and won 16 games in a row from 1988-93.
SCOUTING THE SHOCKERS
Wichita State has a 20-12 mark coming into the midweek match-up against the Jayhawks. The Shockers have won five of their last six games. WSU is batting .314 with 53 doubles, seven triples, 30 home runs and 176 RBIs for a slugging percentage of .492. The Shockers have recorded 38 stolen bases in 46 attempts with Kelli Spring leading the way with 11 stolen bases. Paige Luellen is batting a team-high .404 with eight doubles, a triple and a team-leading seven home runs. She also has recorded 33 RBIs and 25 runs scored. In the circle, the Shockers pitching staff has a 4.37 ERA with 138 strikeouts in 216.1 innings pitched. Wichita State’s pitching staff has allowed 271 hits and 80 walks. Sloan Anderson has a 3.76 ERA after 98.2 innings of work and has struck out team-high 73 batters. She is 8-9 in the circle with three saves. Kaitlyn Malone has a 10-3 mark with a 4.63 ERA and 57 strikeouts. She also has earned three saves.
KESSLER DOMINATING IN THE CIRCLE
Sophomore Kelsey Kessler has continued her dominating ways in the circle this season. She is 16-7 on the year with a 1.38 ERA after 157.1 innings of work. In 29 appearances, she has 202 strikeouts and is averaging 6.9 strikeouts per game. She recorded a career-best 15 strikeouts against Chattanooga (2/9). Kessler has tossed 10 or more strikeouts in a game on seven occasions, and has thrown 17 complete games and seven shutouts in 2014.
KANSAS OFF AND RUNNING
The Jayhawks opened their Big 12 slate with a 3-0 mark after sweeping Oklahoma State March 28-30. The undefeated mark in the opening series is the best start to Big 12 play since Kansas started the 1997 season 9-0.
AMONG THE BEST IN THE NATION
Kansas is among the top in the country in several statistical categories. The Jayhawks posted the ninth-best fielding percentage in the nation at .978 and are ranked No. 9 in the country in staff ERA at 1.53. Individually, sophomore Kelsey Kessler is second in the country in strikeouts (202) just three Ks behind the national leader. She is eighth in shutouts (7), 13th in victories (16) and her 1.38 ERA is the 28th-best ERA in the nation. Freshman Harli Ridling is eighth in the nation in hit-by-pitch per game (0.49), while senior Ashley Newman is third in sacrifice hits per game (0.41). Senior Taylor Hatfield is 29th in the country in triples (3).
EXTRA, EXTRA READ ALL ABOUT IT
The Jayhawks are 4-2 in extra-inning games this season and 7-2 under head coach Megan Smith in extended contests. Kansas has an overall record of 79-76-1 in extra-inning games. The longest game in KU history is 24 innings against Oklahoma State on May 2, 1994, which is the third-longest game in NCAA history.
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