Kansas Returns to Big 12 Action, Hosts Red Raiders
LAWRENCE, Kan. — After a nine-day break from play, Kansas softball returns to Big 12 action with a three-game series against Texas Tech April 17-19 at Arrocha Ballpark. The Jayhawks will look to increase their four-game winning streak over the Red Raiders and sweep TTU for the second-straight season. The series begins on Thursday, April 17 at 5 p.m.
LEADING OFF FOR KANSAS
- Kansas is 29-13 and has won 10 of the last 14 games. The Jayhawks are 7-1 at home this season and are 10-5 when playing Texas Tech in Lawrence.
- The Jayhawks defeated No. 8 Kentucky 7-5 on March 23 and extended their streak of defeating at least one nationally-ranked opponent to five-consecutive seasons under head coach Megan Smith.
- KU has outscored opponents 199-93 after 42 games. Kansas has a 25-5 advantage when scoring first in the ballgame and has outscored opponents 35-13 in the first frame.
- The Jayhawks have outhit opponents in 29-of-42 games this season. Kansas owns a 26-3 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 (.975) after committing only 27 errors in 279.1 innings.
FOLLOWING THE JAYHAWKS
Thursday night’s series opener will be televised on the Jayhawk Television Network/ESPN3 with Steven Davis and Maggie Hull-Tietz calling the action. Fans can also listen to every home game through Jayhawk Digital Passport, which is available at KUAthletics.com. 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.
AROUND THE BALLPARK
Thursday: #KUsoftball Night; $3 admission for all fans with proof of social media following. Faculty & Staff Appreciation; Free admission for all staff, faculty and state employees with valid ID.
Friday: Scout Day; $3 admission for all scouts. Kansas license plate giveaway.
Saturday: Jayhawk for a Cure; $3 admission for fans wearing orange or pink. Jayhawk orange towel giveaway.
KANSAS VS. TEXAS TECH: THE SERIES
The Jayhawks lead the overall series 30-16 and won the last four games, including a series sweep in 2013. The series debut was in 1984 when Texas Tech won 4-2. KU went on to win six of the next seven games. The longest winning streak over the Red Raiders was from 2004-09 and the Jayhawks won 12 in a row. Kansas owns a 10-5 record against TTU when playing in Lawrence.
LAST TIME OUT
Kansas has shut out the Red Raiders in the last two meetings, 3-0 and 4-0. The last time that the two programs squared off on the diamond was April 7, 2013 and the Jayhawks topped Texas Tech 4-0. Kelsey Kessler made her mark in the history books the last time KU faced TTU after recording her first career no-hitter. She tossed seven innings and struck out eight. A walk and a fielder’s choice stood between Kessler and a perfect game. Offensively, Maddie Stein drove in three of four KU RBIs behind a 2-for-3 performance at the plate.
SCOUTING THE RED RAIDERS
Texas Tech heads into the series with an overall mark of 30-15. In Big 12 play, the Red Raiders are 3-6 and fifth in the conference standings behind the Jayhawks, who sit in fourth place. TTU defeated Oklahoma State in two of three games last weekend in Lubbock.
Collectively, Texas Tech is hitting .302 on the season with 348 hits, including 105 for extra bases. The Red Raiders are third in the conference with 54 doubles and second in the league with 16 triples. TTU has a team slugging percentage of .468 and an on-base percentage of .393. Sydni Emanuel is hitting .409 after 42 starts, which is the highest batting average among the TTU starters and sixth in the Big 12. She leads the team with 56 hits, 41 runs scored and 18 walks. Emanuel also has the highest on-base percentage at .481. Cassie McClure has tallied a team-best 34 RBIs, while hitting seven doubles and five home runs.
In the circle, Texas Tech has an ERA of 2.83 after giving up a combined 121 earned runs in 299 innings. The Red Raiders pitching staff has posted 244 strikeouts and allowed 116 walks. Cara Custer is 12-6 on the year in 12 starts and 27 appearances. She has struck out 56 batters and has a 3.64 ERA. Gretchen Aucoin leads the team with 113 strikeouts in 102.2 innings pitched. She has a 2.11 ERA and a 9-7 mark.
AND THE WINNER IS…
The Jayhawks have won five Big 12 weekly honors this season, including four-straight weeks. The five Big 12 Pitcher/Player of the Week honors is the most in a single season by Kansas softball surpassing the previous mark of four, which was accomplished in 2006. Junior Alicia Pille was recognized twice by the league. Sophomore pitcher Kelsey Kessler earned the weekly accolade for the week of March 30. Freshman Harli Ridling (March 23) and sophomore infielder Chaley Brickey (March 9) also earned Big 12 weekly honor this season.
RACKING UP RBIs
Junior utility Maddie Stein collected 49 RBIs in 2013, which is the second-most in Kansas single-season history. She currently has 35 RBIs on the season, which leads the team and is fifth in the Big 12. With 104 RBIs in her career, Stein has the 10th-most RBIs in Kansas softball history and needs two more to surpass Mariah Montgomery for ninth all-time. Maggie Hull set a new all-time RBI record at the conclusion of last season after tallying 140 RBIs in her four-year career as a Jayhawk.
WALK IT OUT
The Jayhawks have recorded 137 walks after 42 games in the 2014 campaign. Sophomore Chaley Brickey has tallied a team-high 32 walks this season, while senior Alex Jones has collected 17 walks. Kansas’ individual single-season record for walks is 36 set in 1985 by Tracy Bunge.
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