Jayhawks Announces 2015 Softball Slate
LAWRENCE, Kan. – On the heels of its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2006, Kansas softball has lined up another loaded schedule for 2015 that features eight opponents that competed in the 2014 postseason, three of which advanced to the Women’s College World Series, as the Jayhawks announced the 2015 softball slate on Tuesday afternoon.
In 2014, KU recorded its highest Rating Percentage Index (39) under sixth-year head coach Megan Smith, which helped the Jayhawks earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Kansas’ tough non-conference slate, including victories over nationally-ranked Kentucky, South Florida and Utah, and a competitive Big 12 Conference schedule aided in the Jayhawks’ high RPI mark.
“It’s another really competitive schedule, but we’re excited about the 2015 season and the match-ups we have,” said Smith. “We have a young team that will be tested early, which is good for us because it’ll start preparing us for Big 12 Conference action.”
Smith, who is 151-116 at the helm the Kansas softball program, has once again scheduled a challenging non-conference slate, highlighted by two games against the 2014 National Champion Florida Gators. Kansas’ non-conference opponents include a total of five programs that appeared in the postseason.
“We open the season with a big challenge against teams from the ACC, SEC and Big Ten conferences,” said Smith. “It’s going to be a fun season with a lot of tough competitions. We’re excited about those games and being able to face the 2014 National Champions on their field.”
In all, Kansas will square off 20 times in the newly-constructed Rock Chalk Park, which is the most home games since 2009 when KU hosted 22 contests in Lawrence. The Jayhawks are set to host four midweek games, the Jayhawk Invitational, the Rock Chalk Challenge and three Big 12 series on their new field.
“We are most excited about getting the chance to play so many games in front of our fans and at Rock Chalk Park,” Smith added. “We have a beautiful new facility with Rock Chalk Park and we’re thrilled to be able to showcase our new home with so many home games.”
The Jayhawks’ first 25 games of the season will be on the road as Kansas heads to Florida and New Mexico for non-conference tournaments. After spending the first five weeks of 2015 away from Rock Chalk Park, KU will begin a 12-game homestand by hosting the Jayhawk Invitational March 13-15, which features Northern Colorado, Idaho State and Nebraska Omaha.
Kansas will face Drake (March 16) and Indiana State (March 17) in midweek contests before hosting its second non-conference tournament of the year. The Rock Chalk Challenge brings Eastern Michigan, Kansas City and Georgia State to Rock Chalk Park March 20-22.
While the 2015 lineup is full of familiar foes, Kansas will face five opponents for the first time in program history prior to the start of conference action. The Jayhawks square off with LaSalle, Weber State, Nebraska-Omaha, Mercer and North Carolina Central for the first time in various non-conference tournaments.
KU opens Big 12 Conference play with a three-game series against Texas (March 27-29) at Rock Chalk Park. It marks the second-straight season that the Jayhawks begin their conference schedule at home. It will be another tough weekend of competition as Texas was one of four Big 12 programs to earn a bid to the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
The Jayhawks hit the road for two series in row to open April. Kansas travels to Oklahoma State (April 2-4) and Texas Tech (April 10-12) for three-game series. Once KU returns from Lubbock, Texas, the Jayhawks will host eight games in a row at home, including midweek match-ups with SIU-Edwardsville (April 22), Wichita State (April 28) and back-to-back Big 12 series against Women’s College World Series participants Oklahoma(April 24-26) and Baylor (May 1-3).
In early May with college finals looming in the distance, Kansas will hit the road for its final conference series of the 2015 season against Iowa State (May 8-10). Last season, KU swept the Cyclones to close out the 2014 season winning four of its last five games.
The Jayhawks return 13 letterwinners from last season’s NCAA Tournament roster and welcomed nine newcomers to the squad in the offseason. KU opens the 2015 season with Long Island at the Florida Atlantic Tournament on Feb. 6 at 8 a.m.
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