Jayhawks Unveil 2016 Softball Slate
Complete 2016 Softball Schedule
LAWRENCE, Kan. – After back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, Kansas softball has once again laid the foundation for another postseason run with a competitive schedule, which features two tournaments hosted by the Jayhawks at Rock Chalk Park. Head coach Megan Smith announced the 2016 lineup on Thursday morning.
The Jayhawks will play a total of 54 contests during the 2016 campaign, including 24 games in Lawrence. KU will also face six opponents on the diamond which appeared in the NCAA Tournament last season.
Last year, Kansas built an impressive resume for the NCAA selection committee and saw its best RPI mark in recent years after playing tough competition throughout the non-conference slate. The 2016 campaign will be no different, as the Jayhawks kick off the season with North Carolina State, who advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals in 2015. NC State is the first of three non-conference opponents that appeared in the postseason.
“We will get a big test in our opening game versus North Carolina State,” said head coach Megan Smith. “Playing teams like NC State, Minnesota and Fresno State will be a lot of fun and will test our young team. I think it will be good for our young players to see such great competition early in our season.”
The Jayhawks open the season with a 19-game road swing before hosting back-to-back tournaments in March. Kansas begins the season with five games at the Jacksonville Tournament (Feb. 12-14) followed by a visit to California for five games at the Fresno State Classic (Feb. 19-21). The next stop for KU is South Florida for five games (Feb. 26-28) before concluding the non-conference road slate with four games at Southern Illinois (March 5-6).
Following four weekends on the road, KU returns to Rock Chalk Park for the Jayhawk Invitational (March 11-13) and the Rock Chalk Challenge (March 18-20). Kansas hosts Missouri State in its 2016 home opener, and rounding out the field for the Jayhawk Invitational are Western Illinois, Northern Iowa and Nebraska Omaha. The Rock Chalk Challenge includes contests against Minnesota, Saint Louis, UMKC and Tulsa.
“We are excited to once again play almost the entire month of March at home,” Smith said. “Since moving into Rock Chalk Park, we have scheduled more games at home because we now have one of the best facilities in the country. Our players are more comfortable at our new park and the fans have a much better experience with the amenities Rock Chalk Park has to offer.”
Kansas will also face Creighton on the road and host Jackson State, Wichita State, Georgia Tech and North Texas in non-conference action.
The Jayhawks open their Big 12 Conference schedule on the road with a three-game series at Oklahoma (April 1-3). Kansas will also travel to Baylor (April 22-24) and Texas (April 29-May 1) for three-game league series. KU welcomes Texas Tech (April 15-17), Oklahoma State (May 6-8) and Iowa State (May 13-15) to Lawrence for three-game series.
“We are always excited when our conference season starts because we are so proud to be in such a competitive conference,” said Smith. “We know that each weekend will be facing a talented and competitive team, and we know that each game will be a fight.”
The NCAA Tournament selection show will be Sunday, May 15 with regional action kicking off Friday, May 20. The 2016 Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma will start Thursday, June 2.
Kansas softball opens its 2016 campaign in Florida at the Jacksonville Invitational Feb. 12-14, hosted by Jacksonville University. The Jayhawks will play a total of five games during the first weekend of the year against North Carolina State, Jacksonville, Coastal Carolina and North Carolina-Greensboro.
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