Jayhawks to host Rock Chalk Challenge, play Omaha

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas softball is set to host its second and final tournament of the season at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park March 15-17. KU welcomes Tulsa and Nebraska for the Rock Chalk Challenge, and is scheduled to play four games over three days. 

Tulsa enters the Rock Chalk Challenge fresh off a 2-1 victory over No. 14 Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas, while Nebraska recently played a doubleheader at Wichita State and dropped both games.

Following the four games in the Rock Chalk Challenge, the Jayhawks host Omaha on Monday, March 18 at 5:30 p.m. The contest was originally scheduled for March 12, but was moved due to inclement weather. 

Kansas vs. Tulsa | March 15 at 5:30 p.m. (CT)
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Kansas vs. Nebraska | March 16 at 1:30 p.m. (CT)
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Kansas vs. Tulsa | March  16 at 4 p.m. (CT)
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Kansas vs. Nebraska | March 17 at 1:30 p.m. (CT)
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Kansas vs. Omaha | March 18 at 5:30 p.m. (CT)
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To provide a safe environment for the public and significantly expedite fan entry into all of our athletics’ venues, Kansas Athletics implemented a clear-bag policy that limits the size and type of bags that may be brought into sporting events.

Kansas Athletics strongly encourages fans to not bring any type of bag to KU sporting events. To expedite entry there will be express lanes designated for fans without bags.

• Kansas enters the Rock Chalk Challenge 5-17 and recently finished the Jayhawk Invitational 1-3, claiming its first home victory of the season against Maine on March 8. The 6-4 victory is the first home victory for head coach Jennifer McFalls.
• The 6-0 shutout of Charleston Southern was the first shutout for Kansas since March 21, 2018 at Incarnate Word (5-0).
• Kansas enters the Rock Chalk Challenge with a 59-66 record against Tulsa and Nebraska. In the 125 meetings between the Cornhuskers and Jayhawks, Kansas has tallied 51 victories and the series in Lawrence is tied 18-18. Against Tulsa, KU has eight wins, but the Golden Hurricanes hold a 4-3 edge over the Jayhawks in Lawrence.
• Freshman Lexy Mills notched a career game against UMKC on March 10, pitching a career-high eight innings with a career-high 11 strikeouts. Mills also tallied her first two-hitter.
• Senior pitcher Brynn Minor recorded her first career shutout at Kansas, pitching a complete game two-hitter against Charleston Southern on March 3.
• In their last meeting, the Jayhawks beat Omaha 12-4 in six innings on March 19, 2017. Current Jayhawks Becki Monaghan and Jennifer Marwitz each tallied a RBI in the contest
• The Jayhawks rank second in the Big 12 and 61st in the NCAA in double plays per game (0.41).
Brynn Minor is tied for 21st in the NCAA with her two saves on the season and is tied for second in the Big 12.
Lexy Mills is ranked sixth in the Big 12 and 49th in the NCAA in strikeouts per game (8.6).
Madison Sykes is ranked eighth in the Big 12 and 143rd in hits (25).
• In the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Coaches Poll, Kansas is scheduled to play six teams (No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 6 Tennessee, No. 11 Texas, No. 13 Texas Tech, No. 17 Arizona State and No. 18 Oklahoma State in 2019. Two other KU opponents (Oregon and Baylor) are receiving votes in the poll.
Cheyenne Hornbuckle made a resounding return off the bench for Kansas against Maine, hitting her first career home run and providing an insurance run for KU against the Blackbears.
Hornbuckle finished the Jayhawk Invitational with three starts in four games played with a .400 batting average and two RBI.
• Since being inserted back into a hitting role for Kansas, Minor has the third-highest batting average (.321) minimum 20 attempts. Minor has logged nine hits and has five RBI.
Minor has also made 15 appearances (71.0 IP) with 10 starts in the circle for Kansas, including six games of seven innings against Missouri, Bethune-Cookman, Virginia, Charleston Southern and SEMO (2x).
• Senior pitcher and utility player Brynn Minor is set to face her former Butler County Community College teammate Regan Mergele, who is a senior pitcher for Nebraska. The duo were members of the Grizzlies’ two NJCAA National Championships (2016, 2017).
• In the 2017 NJCAA National Championship game, Mergele pitched 4.2 innings, while Minor tallied 2.1 innings in relief. Minor helped lead Butler CC at the plate, finishing with three home runs and seven RBI.
• Kansas was originally slated to play five games at the Tennessee Classic, but due to inclement weather the Jayhawks were only able to play three games.
• The Jayhawks then played another altered schedule due to weather at the NC State Invitational and Duke Invitational. Originally scheduled to play Campbell on March 1, the Camels and Jayhawks met on March 3. KU was able to compete in all five games in Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina.
• In their first home tournament of the year – The Jayhawk Invitational – Kansas played four games instead of the originally scheduled five. Kansas finished 1-3 in the invitational.
• Originally scheduled for Tuesday, March 12, the single game midweek clash against Omaha has been moved to Monday, March 18 in Lawrence with a first pitch scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
• Tulsa holds the overall series lead, 10-8, including a 4-3 record in Lawrence. In the last meeting between the two schools, Tulsa prevailed in Lawrence, 4-3, on March 18, 2017.
• The Golden Hurricane enter the Rock Chalk Challenge with a 14-8 record, and recently beat No. 14 Arkansas on Wednesday, March 13, 2-1. Prior to the exchange with Arkansas, Tulsa beat Drake 3-2 on a walk-off hit by Julia Hollingsworth.
• Hollingsworth leads the Golden Hurricane at the plate in batting average (.468), hits (29), total bases (36) and triples (3). Chenise Delce leads the Tulsa pitching efforts with a 1.84 earned run average, and has a 5-3 record in her nine starts.

• Nebraska holds a 56-51 edge over Kansas in the overall meeting between the two state-boarding schools. In Lawrence, the series is tied at 18-18 with the Cornhuskers earning the last victory at Kansas by a 5-1 margin on March 10, 2018.
• Nebraska enters the weekend with a 10-9 record and recently lost three-straight games to Wichita State, including a doubleheader loss on March 10.
• The Cornhuskers are led at the plate by Bri Cassidy, who holds a .415 batting average and a team-high 22 hits. Three members of the Cornhuskers have tallied five-or-more steals in 2019, including a 6-7 team-high performance by Alyvia Simmons. Despite having a 1-2 record, Regan Mergele has a team-best 2.74 ERA in her 11 appearances with seven starts.
• Kansas holds a 3-0 advantage over Omaha with all three wins in Lawrence. In their last meeting, Kansas beat Omaha 12-4 in six innings. Current Jayhawks Jennifer Marwitz and Becki Monaghan each tallied a RBI in the contest.
• The Mavs enter the weekend prior to their Monday contest with the Jayhawks 2-18 and recently competed in the Highlander Classic. In the Classic, Omaha finished 0-5 with loses to San Diego (2x), UC Riverside (2x) and Houston. From March 15-17, the Mavs are slated to play in the Billiken Spring Tournament in Saint Louis, Missouri
• Savannah Fisher leads the Omaha attack with a .270 batting average, while being one of four Mavs to have 10-or-more hits on the year. Two Omaha pitchers – Sydney Hampton and Ryanne Millington – have tallied 45 innings pitched or more this season. Hampton has a team-best 7.69 earned run average, while posting a 1-8 record in her 16 appearances with 11 starts.
•After four weekends on the road to start the season, Kansas returned to play its first home games of the 2019 season. With the temperatures hovering around 40 degrees and strong winds, the schedule was moved up and hour each of the first two days. Kansas started the tournament with a 2-0 loss to SEMO on March 8, but rebounded to earn the 6-4 victory over Maine in the night cap. The victory was the first home win of head coach Jennifer McFalls career.
• With winds as high as 35 miles per hour, rain and cold temperatures, KU did not play its scheduled games against Maine and SEMO on Saturday, March 9, which again altered the Jayhawk Invitational schedule.
• On the final day of competition, the Jayhawks fell to SEMO (2-1) and UMKC (5-4) at Arrocha Ballpark. Freshman Lexy Mills finished with a team-high 11 strikeouts in a single game this season, while pitching a career-high eight innings. Brynn Minor pitched 14.2 innings in three appearances, while allowing only four earned runs.
• Following the Rock Chalk Challenge and the Monday single-game contest against Omaha, Kansas travels to Wichita State on Wednesday, March 20. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Wilkens Stadium.
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