Kansas softball releases 2018 schedule
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Let the countdown begin: Kansas softball is 65 days away from its season-opener on Feb. 9 in Florida, and 92 days away from its home-opener on March 8 at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park in Lawrence.
The Jayhawks will play a total of 56 regular-season games, including 25 games at home during the 2018 schedule released on Tuesday. KU’s slate features six teams that competed in the 2017 NCAA Tournament Regional Finals, including a pair of Women’s College World Series participants.
Season tickets for KU’s 25 home games at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park are now on sale through KUTickets.com or by calling the Kansas Athletics Ticket Office at 800-34-HAWKS. Single-game tickets will be available in February.
KU opens the season at the Stetson Leadoff Classic, Feb. 9-11 in DeLand, Florida. The 2018 season debuts on Feb. 9 with an afternoon game against Akron and an evening game against host Stetson. The four-team Stetson Leadoff Classic also includes College of Charleston.
During the second week of the season, the Jayhawks travel for their first of two trips to San Antonio for the UTSA Classic, Feb. 16-18. The ‘classic’ features Prairie View A&M, host UTSA, Lamar and Missouri State.
Kansas will spend the third week of the season in Conway, Arkansas, competing in the Central Arkansas Tournament, Feb. 22-24, with host Central Arkansas, Louisiana-Monroe, Coppin State, Boise State and Austin Peay.
Kansas head coach Megan Smith returns to her alma mater for the Carolina Classic, March 2-4. The Jayhawks face Elon, Harvard and host North Carolina in the round-robin event. On the third day, Kansas will play one of the three teams in either a consolation game or a tourney title game. Smith is a 1999 graduate of UNC and was coached by Donna Papa, who is currently in the same position for the Tar Heels.
Rock Chalk Park will host back-to-back home tournaments starting with the Jayhawk Invitational, March 8-11. KU’s home opener will be March 8 against UMKC at 6 p.m., followed by games against Northern Iowa, Nebraska, Green Bay and Tulsa during the four-day event.
The Rock Chalk Challenge welcomes Northern Colorado, Western Illinois, Murray State, Saint Louis and UMKC to Rock Chalk Park, March 15-18.
KU’s second trip to San Antonio will serve as a primer for Big 12 Conference play. The Jayhawks have a doubleheader at Incarnate Word on March 21 in San Antonio before traveling directly to Austin for the Big 12 series opener at Texas, March 23-25.
Kansas plays nonconference games against SIU-Edwardsville (March 28), Colorado State (March 30-31), Wichita State (April 4) and Omaha (April 25) after conference play begins in late March.
After the Big 12 series opener at Texas, KU’s other road Big 12 series include back-to-back trips to Oklahoma (April 13-15) and Baylor (April 20-22). Both the Sooners and Bears advanced to the NCAA Women’s College World Series last season with OU winning the national title for the second-straight season.
The Jayhawks will host three Big 12 series at Rock Chalk Park against Oklahoma State (April 6-8), Texas Tech (April 28-29) and Iowa State (May 4-6). Senior Day is scheduled for Saturday, May 5 against the Cyclones.
The Big 12 Conference Softball Championship will take place May 10-12 in Oklahoma City. The championship will include pool play for the top six teams and will be contested at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium Complex, site of the conference’s previous 16 championships and also home to the NCAA Women’s College World Series.
The NCAA Tournament selection show will be Sunday, May 13 with regional action kicking off Thursday, May 17. The 2018 Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, will start Thursday, May 31.
BY THE NUMBERS # Note 2 Home nonconference tournaments at Rock Chalk Park 3 2018 opponents that finished the 2017 season ranked the NFCA top-25 5 Pre-conference tournaments 6 2018 opponents that finished the season in the 2017 NCAA Regional Finals or better, including two Women’s College World Series participants and the National Champion 15 Neutral site games 16 True road games 19 Games away from home before the home-opener on March 8 20 Number of different conferences represented during the nonconference schedule 25 Home games at Rock Chalk Park 28 Average number of 2017 wins by KU’s 2018 opponents 56 Total number of scheduled games, including 18 Big 12 games and 38 nonconference games 59 Average opponent RPI during Big 12 play, based on the final NCAA RPI of 2017 FOLLOW
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