Kansas Opens Big 12 Action at No. 13 Oklahoma
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas begins its 2016 Big 12 Conference slate on the road for second time in three years. The Jayhawks travel to No. 13 Oklahoma to start their league lineup April 1-3 at Hynes Field. First pitch of the three-game series is set for Friday, April 1 at 6:30 p.m.
Following the Jayhawks
Listen to every pitch all season long as part of the Jayhawk Radio Network, in partnership with KJHK, 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 owns a 5-15 mark in Big 12 Conference openers since the league inception in 1996. Under head coach Megan Smith, the Jayhawks are 1-5 in the first game of league play.
- With four games remaining in non-conference action, Kansas has posted a 19-11 record outside of league play. KU has won five of its last seven contests with one of the losses against a nationally-ranked opponent.
- Oklahoma is the fourth nationally-ranked opponent that the Jayhawks will face this season. Heading into the three-game series with the Sooners, KU is 0-4 against opponents in the national polls.
- KU has launched 35 home runs over the outfield fence this season, the most in the Big 12, which have plated 69 of Kansas’ 144 runs scored in 2016. A total of 10 Jayhawks have recorded a long ball.
About the Jayhawks
Kansas heads into 2016 Big 12 Conference play with a 19-11 overall mark and has won five of the last seven games as the Jayhawks’ non-conference lineup winds down for the season. For the second-straight game, Kansas needed extra innings to decide the outcome. However, KU found itself on the opposite end after Wichita State rallied past the Jayhawks, 6-1, on Tuesday evening.
Wichita State outhit Kansas, 13-6, marking the ninth time this season that an opponent has registered more hits than the Jayhawks. Three of KU’s six hits against the Shockers came at the end of sophomore infielder Jessie Roane’s bat. Roane, who is batting .216 on the season, drove in KU’s lone run against the Shockers with her third home run of 2016. Kansas’ offense has registered 35 home runs in 30 games, the most in the Big 12 Conference.
Four Jayhawks are hitting above .300 with senior shortstop Chaley Brickey leading the charge, batting .386 on the season. Brickey leads the squad in hits (34), runs scored (29), slugging percentage (.750), walks (23) and on-base percentage (.518). Sophomore first baseman Daniella Chavez leads KU in home runs hit (9) and RBIs (35). Collectively, Kansas is batting .278 after 30 games with 219 hits, including 76 extra-base hits, and 111 walks.
Dating back to her no-hitter on March 20, sophomore Andie Formby hadn’t allowed a run to cross home plate in 23 and one-third-straight innings before Wichita State halted the scoreless streak. Her longest scoreless streak reached 28 and two-thirds innings before nationally-ranked Minnesota ended the streak. The Orange, California product dropped to 11-3 on the season while posting a 1.82 ERA, third-lowest in the Big 12.
Senior Monique Wesley entered Tuesday night’s contest and threw two-thirds of hitless relief. After her short outing against the Shockers, Wesley’s ERA fell to 2.60 on the season in 37 and two-thirds innings of work. The Jayhawks’ pitching staff has posted a 2.76 ERA with 159 strikeouts while allowing 175 hits and 68 walks. KU’s opposition is hitting .231 on the season.
Scouting the Sooners
No. 13/14 Oklahoma continues its string of seven-straight games in the Sooner State as it opens Big 12 play by taking on Oklahoma State Wednesday evening before hosting Kansas in a three-game series April 1-3. Oklahoma, who is favored to repeat in 2016, claimed the Big 12 Championship for an unprecedented fourth year in a row in 2015. In fact, in 2014, OU became the first team to win three-straight Big 12 titles. Oklahoma has won eight Big 12 regular-season titles and four conference tournament championships. The 12 combined championships are the most in league history. The Sooners enter conference play this year with a 23-6 record.
Offensively, OU is hitting .371 in 2016 with 304 hits, including 59 doubles and 34 home runs, and 85 walks. The Sooners have posted a .590 slugging percentage and a .437 on-base percentage in 29 games. Three Sooners are batting above .400 as Big 12 Conference play starts up. Sophomore infielder Kelsey Arnold leads OU’s offense, hitting .431 with 31 hits and five RBIs. Senior outfielder Erin Miller leads the roster in extra-base hits (19) and RBIs (30).
In the circle, the Sooners’ pitching staff has registered a 2.96 ERA with 193 strikeouts and 79 walks. Sophomore Paige Parker leads the staff with a 2.00 ERA in 77 innings of work. Parker has struck out a team-high 91 batters in 2016 and opponents are hitting .182 against OU’s ace. Parker is 10-3 on the season with eight complete games and five shutouts in 11 starts.
The Series Breakdown
Kansas and Oklahoma meet for the 100th time in program history on Friday evening. The Sooners lead the all-time series that began in 1978, 57-42. OU won the first meeting between the two programs before Kansas won the next seven contests. The Jayhawks have defeated the Sooners twice in the last seven tries, both of those victories came on their home field. Kansas hasn’t won a ballgame in Norman since the 1996 season. Oklahoma has won the last two meetings between KU and the Sooners.
Although graduating both corner infielders at the conclusion of the 2015 season, Kansas’ defense hasn’t skipped a beat committing just 12 errors in 30 games for a .985 fielding percentage, which is the second-best fielding percentage in the Big 12 Conference. 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 vs. Ranked Opponents
The Jayhawks faced four nationally-ranked foes in 2015 and faired 1-8 against opponents ranked in the Top-25 polls. With last year’s 4-2 upset of No. 5 Oklahoma, KU extended its streak to three-consecutive seasons taking down a Top-10 program. The Jayhawks aren’t afraid of a challenge and will face five opponents with a national ranking. Kansas kicked off the 2016 season with its first ranked foe in North Carolina State and is 0-4 against opponents in the national polls.
The Jayhawks conclude non-conference action for 2016 with a pair of games against Georgia Tech and North Texas April 8-10 at Rock Chalk Park. Every pitch can be heard live on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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