Kansas begins Carolina Classic Friday

Kansas softball (12-3) begins the Carolina Classic on Friday against Elon (9-4) at 11 a.m. Central time from Anderson Stadium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Jayhawks will face both Harvard (2-3) and host North Carolina (6-10) on Saturday. The Carolina Classic concludes on Sunday morning with the title and consolation games.

Live audio of KU’s games will be available on KUAthletics.com/radio. Saturday’s game between Kansas and North Carolina will be video streamed on ACC Network Extra, available on the ESPN App or WatchESPN.com (subject to cable subscriptions and blackout restrictions).

  Friday, March 2 – Sunday, March 4
  Chapel Hill, N.C. (Anderson Stadium)
Game Notes
 Game 16: vs. Elon
  Friday, March 2
  11 a.m. CT
  Live Stats
 Game 17: vs. Harvard
  Saturday, March 3
  11 a.m. CT
  Live Stats
 Game 18: at North Carolina
  Saturday, March 3
  1:30 p.m. CT
  Live Stats
 Game 19: TBD
  Sunday, March 4
  9 a.m. CT
  Live Stats

• With a 12-3 record, Kansas leads the Big 12 in total wins entering the fourth weekend of the regular season.
• Kansas is coming off a home-opening doubleheader split against South Dakota State on Tuesday.
• Kansas head coach Megan Smith is returning to the campus of her alma mater this weekend at the Carolina Classic, hosted by UNC.
• The Jayhawks are 2-1 in the series against North Carolina and 2-2 against Harvard. KU will meet Elon for the first time in program history.
• Kansas ranks second in the Big 12 and 22nd in the NCAA in home runs per game (1.06). The Jayhawks have at least one home run in eight of the last nine games.
• Senior catcher Harli Ridling is on a nine-game hitting streak entering the Carolina Classic. Ridling leads KU’s offense with a .447 batting average and a Big 12-best 21 hits.
• Junior pitcher Andie Formby leads the Big 12 in wins (5-1), saves (2), innings pitched (46.2) and complete games (5).
• Senior infielder Jessie Roane is hitting .444 with four home runs and a Big 12-best 19 RBIs. Roane is hitting 9-for-14 (.643) with runners in scoring position.
• Freshman centerfielder Brittany Jackson co-leads the Big 12 with six stolen bases.
• Freshman Shelby Gayre started the last five games at shortstop in place of the injured freshman Sydnee Ramsey (knee). Ramsey started the first 10 games before a season-ending injury.
• The 2018 Kansas softball campaign marks the 50th season overall and the ninth under head coach Megan Smith. Kansas has a 258-182 record during Smith’s tenure.
• KU’s 2018 roster is balanced with seasoned leadership and a renewed depth of talent, featuring seven seniors along with 10 newcomers.
• In the 2018 Big 12 Preseason Coaches Poll, the Jayhawks were picked to finish fifth by the league’s head coaches.
• During the fall 2017 semester, Kansas reported a program-record 3.45 team grade point average (GPA); 19 Jayhawks earned individual GPAs of 3.0 or higher, including five Jayhawks with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

Friday: Sunny, with a high near 54 degrees. Breezy, with a northwest wind 16 to 21 mph, with gusts as high as 39 mph.
Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 56.
Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 55.

Kansas and Elon meet for the first time on Friday. Kansas is 5-2 all-time against current members of the Colonial Athletic Conference (CAA), including a two-game series split with College of Charleston in DeLand, Florida, this season.

SERIES SUMMARY: North Carolina
Kansas and North Carolina meet for the fourth time this weekend in Chapel Hill. Kansas leads the series, 2-1. In the lone game during head coach Megan Smith’s tenure, KU opened the 2011 season with a 5-4 victory over then-No. 24 North Carolina in Jacksonville, Florida. This weekend will be the first non-neutral site meeting between the teams.

Kansas and Harvard meet for the fifth time this weekend. The series is even, 2-2, with Kansas winning the last two meetings by a combined score of 19-2.

Kansas head coach Megan Smith is returning to the campus of her alma mater this weekend while leading the Jayhawks in the Carolina Classic. Smith, a native of Walkertown, North Carolina, graduated from UNC in 1999 and played softball for current UNC head coach Donna J. Papa — a NFCA Hall of Fame inductee who is in her 32nd season coaching the Tar Heels.

Primarily a third baseman in college, Smith served as captain her senior season and was named the team’s Defensive Player of the Year. Smith was also named to the ACC Honor Roll on three occasions and made the Dean’s List twice.

Awaiting the birth of her first child with husband Tye, assistant coach Abbie Butler will not travel to North Carolina this weekend. Video coordinator Chris Malvauex will step in as a temporary assistant coach in Butler’s absence.

This week marks the beginning of Kidney Cancer Awareness Month during the month of March, a cause near and dear to the Kansas softball program. Kansas head coach Megan Smith has been deeply effected by the disease, losing her husband, Paul Buske, to kidney cancer in June 2011. Kansas has played an annual Orange Game in his memory and to draw awareness to kidney cancer. This season’s Orange Game will be March 31 against Colorado State. Orange is the official color for kidney cancer awareness.

Kansas ranks second in the Big 12 and 22nd in the NCAA in home runs per game (1.06). The Jayhawks have a home run in eight of the last nine games, including a season-high three homers against Missouri State (Feb. 18). KU totals 16 home runs through the first 15 games of the season led by five Jayhawks with at least two homers — Harli Ridling (3), Tarin Travieso (2), Jessie Roane (4), Becki Monaghan (2) and Shelby Gayre (3).

Freshman centerfielder Brittany Jackson co-leads the Big 12 with six stolen bases this season. Jackson has started all 15 games at center field and in the leadoff position in the batting order. Jackson is 6-for-8 in her stolen base attempts. Jackson has reached base in all but one game this season.

KU’s longest winning streak of the season is five games from Feb. 17 to Feb. 25. It is the longest winning streak since an eight-game winning streak from the last three games of 2016 to the first five games of 2017.

Kansas outscored its opponents, 33-4, in three games at the Central Arkansas Invitational last week. On the year, Kansas holds an 94-45 (+50) scoring advantage through 15 games. The Jayhawks average 6.27 runs per game, which ranks 24th nationally and second in the Big 12.

Kansas has opened games with a cumulative 16-4 scoring advantage in the first inning. In the 6th and 7th innings combined, KU is out scoring opponents, 27-4.

Junior pitcher/utility Brynn Minor recorded 11 strikeouts in 7.0 innings during a 10-2 win over Coppin State (Feb. 25). It is the most strikeouts by a Jayhawk since 2016.

Over the three games at the Central Arkansas Invitational, senior left fielder Erin McGinley hit .625 with three doubles and seven RBIs. McGinley, KU’s offensive MVP last season, entered the UCA Invitational with a .194 batting average. In the five games since, McGinley is hitting .450 with eight RBIs.

Senior starting catcher Harli Ridling leads KU’s offense with a .447  batting average and 21 hits. Ridling has a .536 on-base percentage with nine free bases (two walks, seven hit-by-pitch) and only two strikeouts. Nearly 50 percent of Ridling’s hits this season have come with two outs, hitting 12-for-24 with two outs through 15 games.

Ridling enters the Carolina Classic on a nine-game hitting streak. Six games of the hitting streak have been multi-hit performances. Ridling ranks tied for fourth in career home runs (31) at Kansas with Destiny Frankenstein (2003-06).

Senior Jessie Roane is hitting 9-for-14 (.643) at the plate with runners in scoring position. Overall, Roane is hitting .444 with four home runs and 19 RBIs to her credit through 15 starts. At third base, she maintains a perfect fielding percentage with 21 putouts and 29 assists.

Roane was named to the Stetson Leadoff Classic All-Tournament Team after hitting a decisive two-run home run during KU’s 2-1 victory over Stetson (Feb. 9) and opening weekend with a .333 batting average, four hits and five RBIs.

Junior pitcher Andie Formby leads the Big 12 in wins (5-1), saves (2), innings pitched (46.2) and complete games (5) through eight starts and two relief appearances this season. Formby also ranks second in the Big 12 in total strikeouts (36). Her pair of early-season saves ranks seventh in the nation. The California native has allowed just six walks in 46.2 innings pitched this season.

After missing the 2017 season due to injury, Formby returned to the circle as KU’s opening-day starter. In 2016, Formby was KU’s wins leader with a 16-7 record and held a 113-to-34 strikeouts-to-walks ratio.

Freshman utility player Tarin Travieso made a shining collegiate debut in her hometown of San Antonio during the UTSA Softball Tournament (Feb. 16-18). During her first weekend of competition, Travieso (pronounced traa-VEE-es-oh) posted a .385 batting average with five hits, eight RBIs and three run scored. On Friday, Feb. 16, Travieso made her first-career start as the designated player against UTSA, going 2-for-3 at the plate with a team-high six RBIs and her first-career home run. Her six RBIs against the Roadrunners during her first-career start are the most by any Big 12 player this season. In KU’s final two games of the weekend, Travieso added another home run, three hits and two RBIs in back-to-back games against Missouri State at the plate.

Travieso has started every KU game as the designated player since her six-RBI performance at UTSA (Feb. 16). On the season, she is hitting .346 with 13 RBIs and two home runs.

Freshman Shelby Gayre’s first two hits is the stuff of legend. The D’Hanis, Texas, native hit a pair of three-run home runs as the first two hits of her collegiate career — both home runs came after Gayre was inserted into the lineup as a pinch hitter. The first came against College of Charleston on Feb. 11 during a 6-1 KU victory in DeLand, Florida. The second gave KU the go-ahead 7-6 lead over Missouri State on Feb. 18.

Gayre, a catcher and infielder, has started the last five games at shortstop.

Starting freshman shortstop Sydnee Ramsey (knee) will miss the remainder of the season due to injury. Ramsey started the first 10 games for KU as a shortstop or designated player with a .280 batting average and a team-high eight runs scored. The Oklahoma City native also drew a team-high six walks without striking out in 25 plate appearances.

With a 6-1 victory over College of Charleston on Feb. 11, Megan Smith notched her 250th win as head coach at Kansas. In her ninth season at the helm of the Jayhawks, Smith has a 258-182 (.586) record at Kansas. In her 13th season as a head coach, Smith has a 378-243 (.609) career record.

KU’s pitching staff leads the Big 12 in saves (3). Kansas reached three saves in only the first five games of the season, which eclipsed KU’s combined saves from 2016 (1) and 2017 (1).

Kansas returns home for an 11-game homestand as hosts of the Jayhawk Invitational (March 8-11) and the Rock Chalk Challenge (March 15-18).





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