Kansas heads to Lonestar State for Cardinal Classic
Date Feb. 24-26, 2017
Location Beaumont, Texas
Notes Game Notes
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas softball travels south for the Cardinal Classic, Feb. 24-26, hosted by Lamar in Beaumont, Texas. The Jayhawks will play five games over three days against South Dakota State, Northern Illinois, Lamar, Tulsa and Alabama A&M in their third nonconference tournament of 2017.
FOLLOWING THE JAYHAWKS
Listen to every pitch, home and away, 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 or by clicking the link on the online schedule. Fans can also get in-game updates via twitter by following @KUsoftball.
LEADING OFF FOR KANSAS
- The Jayhawks enter the third weekend of the 2017 campaign with a 7-3 record. Kansas started the season off with a 5-0 mark, the second time in the last three years to start with a perfect 5-0 record.
- Kansas is outscoring its opponents 68-20 after 10 games and has posted four shutouts. KU’s pitching staff has the 28th-best ERA in the country, and lowest ERA in the Big 12, at 1.60.
- At the plate, KU is hitting .323, the second-best batting average in the Big 12, with 87 hits, including 31 for extra bases. The Jayhawks have recorded 13 home runs in the first 10 games, the only team in the league to hit 10 or more long balls so far this season.
- Of Kansas’ 68 runs scored this season, 58 runs have been produced in the first four innings of the ballgame.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS
After starting the 2017 season off to a hot 5-0 start, Kansas fell to 7-3 in 2017 after a 2-3 record during the second weekend of the year. All three of KU’s losses last weekend were decided by two runs or less, including an extra-inning loss to North Florida in 10 innings.
Offensively, Kansas is hitting .323 at the plate, the second-best batting average in the Big 12 Conference. KU has recorded a Big 12-leading 87 hits, including 31 for extra bases. The Jayhawks are the only team in the league to hit more than 10 home runs this season with 13 in the first 10 games. Senior outfielder Lily Behrmann is third in the Big 12 with a .500 batting average and second in walks recorded with nine. Junior infielder Jessie Roane is batting .441 and has driven in a conference-best 13 RBIs. Roane and senior infielder Taylor Dodson have each launched four home runs in 2017, tied for the most in the league. Defensively, the Jayhawks have recorded just three errors in 65 and two-thirds innings played in 10 games, good for the sixth-best fielding percentage (.989) in the country.
In the circle, Kansas has posted the lowest ERA in the Big 12 with a 1.60 ERA. All five Jayhawk pitchers have under a 2.00 ERA. Sophomore pitcher Alexis Reid owns a 3-1 record in 2017 with a 1.31 ERA, the second-best in the league, and 17 strikeouts. She has thrown a pair of shutouts, which are tied for the most in the conference. Freshman Mandy Roberts leads the pitching staff with 20 strikeouts.
SCOUTING SOUTH DAKOTA STATE
South Dakota State is 3-7 on the young season with one of those wins over Kansas last weekend at the Osprey Invitational. The Jackrabbits were selected to finish fifth in the Summit League this season by the conference coaches. Offensively, SDSU is batting .265 with 71 hits, including seven home runs, 26 walks and 41 RBIs. Sophomore infielder Yanney Ponce leads the team with a .333 batting average after 10 starts. She has recorded nine hits, including a pair of doubles, and two RBIs. Junior utility Brittney Morse has hit six of the Jackrabbits’ seven long balls this season.
In the circle, South Dakota State’s pitching staff has posted a 4.47 ERA with 51 strikeouts. Senior lefty Ashlyn Bender has accumulated a 3-2 record in the circle with a 2.66 ERA in four starts this season.
SCOUTING NORTHERN ILLINOIS
Four games into its 2017 campaign, Northern Illinois owns a 2-2 record after opening the season with a three-team round robin tournament hosted by Ohio. The Huskies, the defending Mid-American Conference West Division champion, were selected to finish on top of the west division standings in 2017 by the conference coaches. NIU returns 11 Huskies from last year’s squad with double-figure starts on their resumes.
After the first weekend of play, sophomore outfielder Jessica Rio leads NIU with a .467 average and seven hits, while sophomore utility Abby Howlett has registered a .357 batting average with two doubles, two home runs and a team-best nine RBIs. Collectively, the Huskies are hitting .301 with 37 hits and 12 walks.
In the circle, the Huskies’ pitching staff has posted a 2.12 ERA with 19 strikeouts and 19 walks. Junior Tara Thacker has recorded a team-high 11 strikeouts in 13 and two-thirds innings of work. She has a 1-1 record and a 2.05 ERA.
After the first two weekends of the 2017 season, Lamar is 2-8 on the year with its first games at home coming up this week at the Cardinal Classic. The Cardinals are hitting .225 with 59 hits and 35 walks after 10 games. Junior outfielder Brittany Rodriguez leads the squad with a .364 batting average and 12 hits. Senior infielder Brynn Baca is hitting .300 with nine hits, including the lone Cardinal long ball, and five RBIs.
The Cardinals’ pitching staff has struck out 46 batters, while allowing 18 walks in 66 and one-third innings of work. Collectively, the Lamar pitchers have posted a 3.48 ERA. Senior Ciara Luna is 0-5 in the circle with a 4.12 ERA in six starts. She leads the pitching staff with 26 strikeouts in 34 innings of work. Freshman Anissa Rodriguez has a 1-0 record with a 0.91 ERA in seven and two-thirds innings of work.
Tulsa enters the third weekend of the 2017 campaign with a 4-6 record. The Golden Hurricane were selected as the preseason favorite to win the American Athletic Conference, as voted on by the conference coaches. Tulsa returns 12 players from last season’s American Athletic Conference Tournament Championship and NCAA Tournament team, including all-conference honorees junior infielder Shelby Estocado, sophomore outfielder Julia Hollingsworth, senior outfielder Maddie Withee and senior infielder Maggie Withee. Hollingsworth leads the squad with a .419 batting average with a team-best 13 hits and seven RBIs. Estocado has hit a team-high three long balls so far this season with three RBIs.
In five starts, junior pitcher Emily Watson has a 3-2 record in the circle with a 2.96 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 28 and one-third innings of work. Junior Lexi Blevins has posted two saves in 19 and two-third innings pitched. Tulsa’s pitching staff has a cumulative 3.85 ERA with 45 strikeouts and 24 walks in 63 and two-third innings of work.
SCOUTING ALABAMA A&M
Alabama A&M heads into the weekend with a 3-6 mark on the season. The Lady Bulldogs finished last season with a 12-35 record and were picked to finish fifth in the Southwestern Athletic Conference in 2017. Junior shortstop Tiana Sanders and junior outfielder Imani Largin were named to the preseason all-conference team. Sophomore catcher Sierra Smith is hitting a team-best .556 with five hits and a RBI, while sophomore infielder Ariel Smith has registered eight hits, including a double, a triple and a home run, and a team-high five RBIs. The Lady Bulldogs have a .273 batting average with 71 hits and 15 walks.
In the circle, Alabama A&M’s pitching staff has posted a 5.81 ERA with 26 strikeouts and 35 walks. Junior pitcher Caitlyn Hayden has thrown a team-low 1.70 ERA in four starts with 17 strikeouts. She has compiled a 2-3 record and tossed a team-high 33 innings in 2017.
Kansas continues its 21-game road streak at the Citrus Classic in Orlando, Florida, March 3-6. The Jayhawks will play six games during the tournament against Boston College, Purdue, Mercer, FIU, South Alabama and James Madison. Every game of the weekend will be available on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/radio.
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