Kansas Concludes Road Swing at Coach B Classic
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas softball caps off its 19-game road swing to open the season with four games at the Coach B Classic hosted by Southern Illinois March 5-6. The Jayhawks will face the Salukis, Butler and Eastern Illinois in the round-robin tournament.
FOLLOWING THE JAYHAWKS
Listen to every pitch all season long as part of the Jayhawk Radio Network, in partnership with KJHK, the University of Kansas’ student radio station, KLWN and KWOD. All of KU’s contests will be carried live, for free, at KUAthletics.com/radio. Fans can also get in-game updates via twitter by following @KUsoftball.
LEADING OFF FOR KANSAS
- Kansas concludes its 19-game road swing to start the 2016 season with a trip to Illinois for the Coach B Classic.
- KU has launched 20 home runs over the outfield fence this season, which have plated 39 of Kansas’ 67 runs scored in 2016. Nine different Jayhawks have recorded a long ball.
- Senior infielder Chaley Brickey walked her way into the history books after recording four base on balls during the second weekend of the season. The Haltom City, Texas native claimed Kansas’ all-time walk record, surpassing Tracy Bunge’s record 108 walks from 1983-86. She currently has 112 career walks.
- When Kansas has runners in scoring position, KU is hitting above .306. KU has had 384 at-bats so far in 2016 with 98 of those with runners in scoring position.
- The Jayhawk offense has come alive late in games this season, scoring 34 of 67 runs in the final three innings. Kansas has scored 16 runs in the fifth frame, the most runs scored than in any other inning this year.
- In the last three seasons, Kansas has recorded three top-10 wins including a victory over then-No. 1 Oklahoma, 2-0, in 2013. During the 2015 season, KU continued its tradition of upsetting OU with a 4-2 win over the fifth-ranked Sooners on April 24.
- The Jayhawks have recorded 30 wins in each of the last five seasons under head coach Megan Smith. Kansas’ 40 wins last seasons were the most victories claimed by KU in the Smith era, and the most wins by a Jayhawk team since 1997.
About the Jayhawks
For the first time this season, Kansas softball came home with a winning record after going 3-2 at the USF Tournament in Tampa. The Jayhawks defeated Wisconsin and UNLV twice, but fell twice to host South Florida. On the season, KU is 7-8.
Sophomore infielder Daniella Chavez delivered a walk-off home run to start the weekend, lifting Kansas past Wisconsin, 2-1. Both runs scored against the Badgers were plated via long balls. Sophomore outfielder Erin McGinley launched her first career home run against USF. Erin McGinley’s two-run blast marked the third multi-RBI effort this season. Redshirt sophomore catcher Harli Ridling drove in three of KU’s runs in the 6-5 loss to the Bulls on Friday night. She finished the night 2-for-3 with three RBIs for her first multi-RBI game of the year. She followed up that performance with six RBIs in KU’s 7-3 win over UNLV (2/27) and totaled 10 RBIs in five games. Ridling recorded a walk-off grand slam lifting Kansas past UNLV in the second meeting of the weekend, 7-3. The game-winning homer brought Ridling’s RBI count for the game to six.
At the plate, Shannon and Erin McGinley led the Jayhawk offense after batting .467 and .375, respectively. Erin McGinley launched her first career home run against UNLV (2/27) and drove in four runs. Offensively, Kansas is batting .268 on the season with 12 doubles, a triple and 20 home runs. The Jayhawks have tallied 42 walks and an on-base percentage of .354.
In the victory over the Badgers, freshman pitcher Ania Williams struck out a career-high seven batters and improved to 3-1 in the circle. Senior pitcher Monique Wesley made two appearances over the weekend and struck out six batters in five and two-thirds innings of work. KU’s pitching staff lowered its ERA to a mark 3.88 on the season, while striking out 67 batters and allowing 44 walks.
Scouting the Panthers
Eastern Illinois began its 2016 season 4-11 in the first 15 games. The Panthers return 13 players from their 2015 team which finished sixth in the Ohio Valley Conference and earned its eight straight OVC tournament appearance.
Sophomore Jessica Wireman continues to be the go to in the circle, as she had made appearances in fourteen of fifteen games played. She has pitched 56 innings recording 52 strikeouts. Wireman comes off a 2015 season with a 3.97 ERA and a no hitter in a visit to UT Martin in mid-April.
After losing two of the leading hitters, senior Katie Watson has stepped up, leading the team with 16 hits and .364 average. Watson also leads the offense in extra bases and RBIs. Senior April Markowski returns after recording a .349 average at the plate earning her the second spot on the team. She has started all 15 games this season.
Scouting the Bulldogs
Butler softball is off to a 6-7 start to the season, including a 5-5 mark at neutral sites. The team heads into the weekend on a two game win streak. The Bulldogs have recorded a .261 team average at the plate with 63 runs in only 13 games.
Sophomore Maggie MacBeth returns to lead the Bulldog offense with a team high .395 batting average. She also leads the team with 17 hits and a .469 on base percentage. Junior Brandyce Sallee also returns for the Bulldogs with a .359 batting average, a team high 12 RBIs, and two home runs, one of which was a grand slam.
Senior Kristin Gutierrez has been critical recording 35 innings pitched with a team-low ERA of just 1.20. She has a 2-3 record and has thrown 24 strikeouts from inside the circle.
Scouting the Salukis
Tournament host Southern Illinois is 7-5 on the season with a 7-2 record at neutral sites. The team returns 10 letterwinners and has had solid contribution from incoming freshmen early. The Salukis are coming off of a 21-26 season, tied for third in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Junior Shay Harre returns and leads the Salukis offense with a .406 average at the plate. Harre also leads the team with three home runs, 11 RBIs, and an on base percentage of .524. Freshman Hanna Porter has made an impact starting six games, with two home runs in just 14 at bats and a team high .857 slugging percentage.
Freshman Brianna Jones starts her collegiate career off strong with a record of 5-2 and a 1.26 ERA, a conference low. Jones has thrown five shutouts this season, putting her first in the nation. Her success in the circle has garnered two conference Pitcher of the Week accolades in just three weeks.
HOME RUN FUN
The Jayhawks blasted 20 home runs in the first 15 games of the 2016 campaign. Five of those 20 long balls came at the end of sophomore infielder Daniella Chavez’s bat. A year ago, Chavez led the squad with 16 home runs as a rookie. In all, eight different Jayhawks have sent the ball over the outfield fence so far this season. Kansas launched a total of 52 balls over the outfield wall in 2015, which was the third-most home runs among teams in the Big 12 Conference. Seven Jayhawks recorded at least one home run last year. KU also posted 10 grand slams in 2015 by six different members of the roster.
Although graduating both corner infielders at the conclusion of the 2015 season, Kansas’ defense hasn’t skipped a beat committing just seven error in 15 games for a .983 fielding percentage. KU had a .977 fielding percentage last season after committing only 35 errors in 364 innings, which was the second-best percentage in the conference and 11th in the nation. The Jayhawks’ defense was rarely found making an error during the 2014 season and led the Big 12, finishing second in the country, in fielding percentage after posting a .979 mark.
Kansas returns to Rock Chalk Park after a 19-game road swing to host the Jayhawk Invitational March 12-14. KU will host Missouri State, Western Illinois, Nebraska Omaha and Northern Iowa as KU plays the next nine of 10 games at home. The Jayhawks’ weekend finale against Nebraska Omaha will be the first of six televised games this season.
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