Kansas ready for weekend series against Colorado State
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas softball is set to host a three-game weekend series against Colorado State beginning with a doubleheader on Friday at 2 p.m. On Saturday, the sixth annual Orange Game will begin at 1 p.m.
|Games 35-37: vs. Colorado State|
|Fri., March 30 – Sat., March 31|
|Lawrence, Kan. (Arrocha Ballpark at RCP)|
|Watch (Friday only)|
• Kansas and Colorado State meet for the 15th time in program history and the first time since 2007. The Jayhawks lead the series, 13-1.
• Saturday is KU’s sixth annual Orange Game benefiting supports Jayhawks for a Cure and kidney cancer awareness.
• Last time out, Kansas held SIU-Edwardsville to one hit while sixth-inning home runs by Erin McGinley and Harli Ridling powered the Jayhawks past the Cougars, 4-1, on Wednesday in Lawrence.
• Through 34 games this season, the Jayhawks have 58 doubles. KU’s 1.71 doubles per game is a program high and ranks 13th in the nation.
• Kansas is 7-1 in one-run games, 4-0 in extra-inning contests, and feature three walk-off victories this season.
• Junior pitcher Andie Formby leads the Big 12 in game started (22), complete games (10) and innings pitched (109.1). Formby has three complete-game shutouts this season.
• Senior catcher Harli Ridling ranks third in career home runs at KU with 34. This season, she is hitting .317 with 15 extra-base hits — six home runs and nine doubles.
• Senior infielder Jessie Roane leads KU with a .363 batting average, 26 RBIs and 12 doubles.
• Kansas ranks 12th in the nation in fielding percentage (.978).
• KU has a pair of winning streaks lasting at least five games this season.
• The 2018 Kansas softball campaign marks the 50th season overall and the ninth under head coach Megan Smith. Kansas has a 270-189 record during Smith’s tenure.
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECAST
Friday: Sunny, with a high near 59 degrees. Light and variable wind becoming west 5 to 10 mph in the afternoon.
Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 57 degrees. Breezy, with a southwest wind 15 to 20 mph becoming north in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 25 mph.
AT THE BALLPARK
• Public Service Day
• KU License Plate giveaway
• $5 ticket with Public Service ID
• Weekday Work Perk ($5 ticket with business card)
• Jay Day ($2 hot dogs, $2 popcorn, $1 fudge bars)
• Orange Game (Jayhawks for a Cure / kidney cancer awareness)
• $5 ticket for fans wearing orange
• Orange Game t-shirt giveaway
• Silent auction, proceeds benefit Jayhawks for a Cure
• Discounted orange-colored concessions
• $1 build-a-cookie, proceeds benefit Jayhawks for a Cure
• Postgame egg hunt in the outfield for kids 13-years-old and younger.
LAST TIME OUT
Kansas held SIU-Edwardsville to one hit while sixth-inning home runs by Erin McGinley and Harli Ridling powered the Jayhawks past the Cougars, 4-1, on Wednesday in Lawrence. Junior starting pitcher Andie Formby’s first and only hit of the day was a solo home run by SIUE’s pinch-hitting Conner Cutright to lead off the top of the fifth inning. Senior Sarah Miller (7-4) earned the win in the circle after throwing 2.2 innings in relief with four strikeouts, including three Ks in the sixth inning alone. KU’s one hit allowed ties a season low set at Stetson on Feb. 9. With 24 wins after 34 games, the Jayhawks have already matched last season’s wins total (24-28).
SERIES SUMMARY: Colorado State
Kansas holds a 13-1 series advantage over Colorado State entering this weekend’s three-game set in Lawrence. It will be the first time the teams have played since 2007 and the first non-neutral site contests in series history.
The Rams (16-9), led by eighth-year head coach Jen Fisher, have early-season quality wins over Wisconsin and Texas, and are 3-3 in Mountain West Conference play. CSU was picked to finish sixth in the Mountain West preseason poll after finishing the 2017 season with a 28-22 overall record and 9-15 mark during MWC play. Hawaii transfer Sarah Muzik leads off the Rams’ offense with a .455 batting average, while Corina Gamboa provides the power with team highs of six home runs and 21 RBIs this season. Bridgette Hutton
It is the second-straight season Kansas has hosted a three-game series against a Mountain West Conference team. Last season, the Jayhawks won two of three games against Nevada at Arrocha Ballpark.
ABOUT THE ORANGE GAME
KU’s sixth annual Orange Game will take place on Saturday in the series finale against Colorado State. The Orange Game supports Jayhawks for a Cure and kidney cancer awareness, which is represented by the color orange. It is also a memorial game for Kansas head coach Megan Smith‘s late husband, Paul Buske, who succumbed to kidney cancer in 2011 — shortly after Smith completed her second season coaching the Jayhawks.
Every year the Orange Game expands in some way. This year, it will feature a pregame fun run and reception to pay special recognition to cancer survivors and fighters, and to remember those lost. The one tradition that remains constant with each Orange Game is when Megan and Paul’s son, Cooper Buske, throws out the ceremonial first pitch.
Kansas has won three of the last four Orange Game contests, including wins over No. 14 Baylor in 2017 and No. 5 Oklahoma in 2015.
Entering the eighth week of the regular season, Kansas ranks 12th in the nation in fielding percentage (.978). The Jayhawks have just 21 errors through the first 34 games of the season. KU’s season-long eight-game errorless streak lasted from Feb. 17 to Feb. 27. Three Jayhawks have over 40 fielding chances and remain errorless this season — senior catcher Harli Ridling, freshman utility Tarin Travieso and freshman centerfielder Brittany Jackson.
RIDLING APPROACHING HISTORY
Senior starting catcher Harli Ridling is 10 home runs away from tying KU’s all-time record of 44 held by Serena Settlemier (2002-06). Ridling’s 34 career home runs ranks third at KU, behind current volunteer assistant coach Chaley Brickey (39) and Settlemier. Ridling is hitting .324 with a team-high six home runs this season.
Senior Jessie Roane is hitting 15-for-32 (.469) at the plate with runners in scoring position. Overall, Roane leads KU with a .363 batting average, four home runs and 26 RBIs through 34 starts.
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.
Kansas is on pace to shatter a program record for doubles in a season. Through 34 games this season, the Jayhawks have 58 doubles (1.71 per game). KU’s 1.71 doubles per game is a program high and ranks 13th in the nation. The next-highest doubles per game average for KU is 1.46 in 2013. Four Jayhawks rank top-six in the Big 12 in total two-base knocks led by senior Jessie Roane (12), sophomore Sam Dellinger (10), senior Erin McGinely (10) and senior Harli Ridling (nine).
Roane is also climbing the charts on KU’s career doubles list, entering the week with the sixth-most in program history (47). Ridling isn’t far behind with 32 career doubles.
On Feb. 25, Kansas totaled six doubles during 10-2 victory over Coppin State for the most doubles by a Big 12 team in a game this season and the third-most of all NCAA Division I teams in 2018.
KU totals 27 home runs through the first 34 games of the season led by four Jayhawks with at least four homers — Harli Ridling (six), Shelby Gayre (five), Tarin Travieso (four) and Jessie Roane (four). Kansas ranks 71st in the nation and third in the Big 12 in home runs per game (0.79).
The Jayhawks have a season-high three homers against Missouri State (Feb. 18) and a pair of round-trippers at North Carolina (March 3) and against SIUE (March 29).
Kansas is 7-1 in one-run games and 4-0 in extra-inning contests this season.
2017 WINS MATCHED
With a 4-1 victory over SIUE on March 28, Kansas reached 24 wins. It took 34 games for the Jayhawks to match last season’s wins total (24-28).
KU’s pitching staff ranks second in the Big 12 in saves (four). Kansas reached three saves in the first five games of the season, which eclipsed KU’s combined total of saves from the previous two seasons — 2016 (one) and 2017 (one). KU’s most recent save was by Brynn Minor, who pitched the final third of an inning during a 4-3 victory over UMKC (March 8). Both Minor and junior Andie Formby have two saves on the season.
JACKSON THRIVING AS CENTERFIELDER, LEADOFF
Freshman centerfielder Brittany Jackson has started all of KU’s 34 games in centerfield, including 33 as the leadoff hitter in the lineup. Jackson boats a .317 batting average, a .365 on-base percentage, 10 stolen bases, and four outfield assists so far this season.
Jackson’s 11-game hitting streak earlier this season is a team high for the Jayhawks.
Kansas has winnings streaks of five games and six games this season. The first winning streak went from Feb. 17 to Feb. 25, and the second lasted from Feb. 27 to March 8. The pair of winning streaks are the longest since an eight-game winning streak from the last three games of 2016 to the first five games of 2017.
Kansas is averaging 4.79 runs per game this season — the sixth-highest scoring average in program history. The Jayhawks are outscoring opponents, 163-106 (+57) through 34 games.
McGINLEY COMES ALIVE
In the last 24 games, senior left fielder Erin McGinley is hitting .370 with 13 RBIs and 11 extra-base hits. During the first 10 games of the season McGinley, KU’s offensive MVP last season, had a .194 batting average. Over the three games at the Central Arkansas Invitational, the Kansas City native hit .625 with three doubles and seven RBIs. During the first weekend of Big 12 play, McGinley led the Jayhawks at the plate with a .333 batting average against Texas.
Junior pitcher Andie Formby leads the Big 12 in game started (22), complete games (10) and innings pitched (109.1), while ranking fourth in wins (11-4) and third in strikeouts (86). The California native has allowed just 29 walks in her 109.1 innings pitched.
Formby threw three-straight complete-game shutouts against Saint Louis (March 17), UMKC (March 18) and Incarnate Word (March 21). She also has a span of 30.2-straight innings without allowing an earned run 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.
Kansas begins the month of April with a visit to Wichita State for a midweek road contest on April 4 at 6 p.m.
Big 12 Conference play will resume for a three-game weekend series against Oklahoma State at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park, April 6-8. On Saturday, April 7, Kansas will welcome former players back to Lawrence for the annual Alumni Day game, which will be highlighted by the jersey retirement of former played and coach Tracy Bunge ’86.
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