KU’s six-game Big 12 road swing begins this weekend at No. 2 Oklahoma
Kansas softball begins a stretch of back-to-back Big 12 road series against top-25 opponents with a three-game set against No. 2 Oklahoma starting Friday at 6:30 p.m., from Marita Hynes Field in Norman, Oklahoma.
Kansas (25-15, 0-6 Big 12) will look to slow the momentum of Oklahoma (35-2, 6-0 Big 12), which enters the weekend on the nation’s longest winning streak of 26 games while leading the Big 12 with a .335 team batting average and a 1.06 team ERA.
The Jayhawk Radio Network will cover all three games of the series on KUAthletics.com/radio with Nick Springer calling the action. Kansas City’s ESPN Radio (KCTE 1510 AM & 99.3 FM) will broadcast game two on Saturday at 4 p.m., while Lawrence’s KLWN (1320 AM) will carry Sunday’s noon first pitch over the air.
|Games 41-43: at #2 Oklahoma|
|Friday, April 13 – Sunday, April 15|
|Norman, Okla. (Hynes Field)|
|Jayhawk Radio Network|
- Oklahoma holds a 63-44 series advantage over Kansas. The Sooners have won the last four meetings since KU’s last victory in the series, a 5-2 triumph on April 2, 2016 in Norman.
- Through 40 games this season, the Jayhawks have 66 doubles. KU’s 1.65 doubles per game is a program high and ranks 16th in the nation.
- Kansas is 7-2 in one-run games, 4-2 in extra-inning contests, and feature three walk-off victories this season.
- Senior outfielder Erin McGinley is hitting .316 during Big 12 play with three doubles.
- Junior utility Brynn Minor threw a Big 12 season high of 14 strikeouts against Colorado State on March 30.
- Senior catcher Harli Ridling ranks third in career home runs (35) and third in career RBIs (141) at KU. This season, she is hitting .314 with 16 extra-base hits — seven home runs and nine doubles.
- Senior infielder Jessie Roane leads KU with a .358 batting average and 13 doubles.
- Freshman utility Tarin Travieso leads KU with 30 RBIs.
- Junior pitcher Andie Formby leads the Big 12 in game started (21), innings pitched (123.2) and ranks third in total strikeouts (94). Formby has three complete-game shutouts this season.
- Kansas ranks 19th in the nation in fielding percentage (.974).
- KU has a pair of winning streaks lasting at least five games this season.
- KU’s 12-inning loss to Colorado State on March 30 was the most innings KU has played in 25 years.
- KU assistant coach Abbie Butler returns to the dugout from maternity leave. Butler and husband, Tye, gave birth to their first-born daughter, Saydie, earlier this season.
- The 2018 Kansas softball campaign marks the 50th season overall and the ninth under head coach Megan Smith. Kansas has a 271-194 record during Smith’s tenure.
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECAST
Friday: Partly cloudy, with a high near 79 degrees and a low around 38 degrees. Windy, with a south wind 22 to 30 mph, with gusts as high as 41 mph.
Saturday: Mostly sunny and clear, with a high near 52 degrees and a low around 34 degrees. Northwest wind 18 to 23 mph, with gusts as high as 32 mph.
Sunday: Sunny with a high near 57 degrees.
LAST TIME OUT
In KU’s Big 12 home opener, Oklahoma State swept the Jayhawks in a three-game series, April 5-7, at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park. The Jayhawks and Cowgirls opened the weather-modified series with a doubleheader on Thursday, April 5, and concluded the series on Saturday, April 7.
In game one, Oklahoma State needed nine innings before a KU fielding error allowed the go-ahead run to score in the top of the ninth. Junior pitcher Andie Formby threw a nine-inning complete game with five strikeouts and just one earned run allowed despite the losing decision. Freshman shortstop Shelby Gayre scored KU’s lone run of the day with a solo home run, her seventh of the season. Kansas recorded nine hits, including two doubles each from senior Erin McGinley and freshman Tarin Travieso.
In game two, Oklahoma State shutout Kansas, 7-0. The Cowgirls used a four-run fourth inning to extend its lead over the Jayhawks. It was the fourth time this season KU had been shutout, while also tying a season-low in hits (three) for the fourth time.
The Cowgirls won the series finale after scoring seven runs in the last two innings — a three-run sixth and a four-run seventh. OSU’s first lead of the day was in the sixth inning, after KU bolted out to a 2-0 lead in the first innings and a 3-1 lead after five innings. Freshman Brittany Jackson doubled, Travieso drove in two runs and senior Harli Ridling reached base in all four of her plate appearances with two hits and two walks. It was just the second time this season the Jayhawks had lost when leading after five innings (20-2); the first time was a 6-4 loss to College of Charleston on Feb. 10, in which the Cougars scored all of their six runs in the last two innings.
SERIES SUMMARY: Oklahoma
Oklahoma holds a 63-44 advantage over Kansas entering this weekend’s three-game series in Norman. The Sooners swept last season’s series in Lawrence, 3-0. KU’s last victory in the series was a 5-2 triumph on April 2, 2016 in Norman. KU is 3-18 against OU under head coach Megan Smith.
The Sooners (35-2, 9-0 Big 12), led by NFCA Hall of Fame head coach Patty Gasso, are ranked No. 2 in the NFCA coaches poll. The back-to-back reigning national champions enter the weekend on the nation’s longest winning streak of 26 games. Oklahoma leads the Big 12 in every major team statistical category, including a .335 batting average, 7.16 runs per game, and a 1.06 ERA. OU’s scoring offense (7.16 rpg) leads the nation.
Senior infielder Sydney Romero leads the Sooners with a .465 bating average while freshman utility Jocelyn Alo ranks second in the nation in home runs (17). Senior All-American lefty pitcher Paige Parker enters the weekend with a 19-1 record in the circle and a 0.40 ERA. Parker is complemented by senior left-handed relief pitcher Paige Lowary, who also has a sub-1.00 ERA (0.74), five saves and a 3-1 record.
BUTLER RETURNS TO THE DUGOUT
Assistant coach Abbie Butler and husband, Tye, gave birth to their first-born daughter, Saydie, earlier this season. This weekend, Coach Butler returns to the dugout to assume duties as the Jayhawks’ assistant/pitching coach. Video coordinator Chris Malveaux stepped up as the interim assistant coach during Butler’s absence.
RUNS, HITS AND DOUBLES
Through 40 games, KU’s 2018 offense is stacking up to be one of the most productive in program history. The Jayhawks are hitting a program-best 1.65 doubles per game, while their 7.83 hits per game ranks fourth and 4.63 runs per game ranks sixth in the KU record books.
Entering the 10th week of the regular season, Kansas ranks 19th in the nation in fielding percentage (.974). The Jayhawks have just 31 errors through the first 40 games of the season. KU’s season-long eight-game errorless streak lasted from Feb. 17 to Feb. 27. Senior catcher Harli Ridling has 243 fielding chances and remains errorless this season, while freshman utility Tarin Travieso has 105 fielding chances and just one error.
Kansas is 17-4 when not committing an error this season.
RIDLING APPROACHING HISTORY
Senior catcher Harli Ridling is nine home runs away from tying KU’s all-time record of 44 held by Serena Settlemier (2002-06) and 16 RBIs away from tying KU’s all-time record of 157 held by Chaley Brickey (2013-16).
Ridling’s 35 career home runs ranks third at KU, behind Brickey (39) and Settlemier. Ridling’s 141 career RBIs also currently ranks third at KU behind Maddie Stein (150) and Brickey.
This season, Ridling is hitting .314 with 26 RBIs and a co-team-high seven home runs this season.
Senior third baseman Jessie Roane is hitting 18-for-41 (.439) at the plate with runners in scoring position. Overall, Roane has team highs of a .358 batting average, 44 hits and 13 doubles through 40 starts at third base or as the designated player.
Despite missing the first five games of the season, freshman utility Tarin Travieso (pronounced traa-VEE-es-oh) leads the Jayhawks in total RBIs (30) and walks (16) this season while hitting .313 with nine doubles and four home runs. Travieso has also made 12 appearances inthe pitching circle with a 2-0 record and a 3.25 ERA.
The freshman from San Antonio hit her first-career grand slam during a one-run KU victory over North Carolina (March 3), in which she also earned her first career win in the pitching circle.
On 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 tied for the most by any Big 12 player this season.
Travieso has started every game since her six-RBI performance at UTSA on Feb. 16.
The Jayhawks total 176 runs batted in this season, 94 of which have been scored with two outs. Shelby Gayre leads KU with 18 two-out RBIs — the freshman shortstop has driven in a total of 27 runs this season.
Kansas is on pace to shatter a program record for doubles in a season. Through 40 games this season, the Jayhawks have 66 doubles (1.65 per game).
KU’s 1.65 doubles per game is an all-time program high and ranks 16th in the nation this season. The next-highest doubles per-game average for KU is 1.46 in 2013.
Even while KU’s team batting average has dipped below .300 during its current slump of nine losses in the last 11 games, the Jayhawks have still maintained a high clip of doubles. In the last 11 games, Kansas has five games with two or more doubles, including four against Oklahoma State on April 5.
Four Jayhawks rank among the top-10 in the Big 12 in total doubles this season led by senior Jessie Roane (13), senior Erin McGinely (12), sophomore Sam Dellinger (10), senior Harli Ridling (nine) and freshman Tarin Travieso (nine).
Roane is also climbing the charts on KU’s career doubles list, entering the week with the sixth most in program history (48). Ridling isn’t far behind with 32.
On Feb. 25, Kansas totaled six doubles during a 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 30 home runs through the first 40 games of the season led by four Jayhawks with at least four homers — Harli Ridling (seven), Shelby Gayre (seven), Tarin Travieso (four) and Jessie Roane (four). Kansas ranks 81st in the nation and fifth in the Big 12 in home runs per game (0.75).
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).
JACKSON THRIVING AS CENTERFIELDER, LEADOFF
Freshman centerfielder Brittany Jackson has started all of KU’s 40 games in centerfield, including 38 as the leadoff hitter in the lineup. Jackson boasts a .307 batting average, a .376 on-base percentage, 11 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 plays its second-straight Big 12 road series against a ranked opponent with a three-game series at No. 16 Baylor, April 20-22, in Waco, Texas.
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