Kansas opens home slate against South Dakota State
Kansas softball looks to extend a five-game winning streak entering its home opener on Tuesday afternoon against South Dakota State. The Jayhawks and Jackrabbits will play a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. Central. Admission to Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park will be free since the contests were a late addition to the original schedule.
|Games 14-15: vs. South Dakota St.|
|Tuesday, Feb. 27|
|Lawrence, Kan. (Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park)|
|1 p.m. CT|
• With an 11-2 record, Kansas leads the Big 12 in total wins.
• In the first three weekends of the season, Kansas went 4-1 at the Stetson Leadoff Classic, 4-1 at the UTSA Softball Tournament and 3-0 at the Central Arkansas Invitational.
• Kansas and South Dakota State are meeting for the sixth and seventh time in program history. The Jayhawks lead the series entering Tuesday, 4-1.
• Kansas ranks second in the Big 12 and 22nd in the NCAA in home runs per game (1.15). The Jayhawks have at least one home run in the last seven games.
• Senior starting catcher Harli Ridling leads KU’s offense with a .436 batting average and 17 hits.
• Junior pitcher Andie Formby leads the Big 12 in wins (5-0), saves (2), innings pitched (43.0) and complete games (5).
• Senior Jessie Roane is hitting .395 with four home runs and a Big 12-best 18 RBIs. Roane is hitting 7-for-11 (.636) at the plate with runners in scoring position.
• Freshman centerfielder Brittany Jackson co-leads the Big 12 with six stolen bases this season.
• Freshman Shelby Gayre started at shortstop last weekend in Arkansas in place of the injured freshman Sydnee Ramsey (knee). Ramsey started the first 10 games before a season-ending injury.
• The 2018 Kansas softball campaign marks the 50th season overall and the ninth under head coach Megan Smith. Kansas has a 257-181 record during Smith’s tenure. Kansas won its 250th game under Smith with a 6-1 victory over College of Charleston (Feb. 11).
• KU’s 2018 roster is balanced with seasoned leadership and a renewed depth of talent, featuring seven seniors along with 10 newcomers. Eight of KU’s 10 newcomers made their Kansas debuts during opening weekend.
• In the 2018 Big 12 Preseason Coaches Poll, the Jayhawks were picked to finish fifth by the league’s head coaches.
• During the fall 2017 semester, Kansas reported a program-record 3.45 team grade point average (GPA); 19 Jayhawks earned individual GPAs of 3.0 or higher, including five Jayhawks with a perfect 4.0 GPA.
WEATHER FORECAST: Lawrence, Kan.
Tuesday: A 20 percent chance of showers after noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 64 degrees. Breezy, with a south wind 10 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.
SERIES SUMMARY: South Dakota State
Kansas and South Dakota State meet for the second-straight season on Tuesday in Lawrence. The doubleheader will be the sixth and seventh meeting between the Jayhawks and Jackrabbits. Kansas also opened its 2014 home schedule with a doubleheader against South Dakota State with a pair of 8-0 wins.
Kansas added Tuesday’s home doubleheader against South Dakota State last week after select games at the University of Central Arkansas Invitational were canceled due to heavy rain in Conway, Arkansas. The Jayhawks were originally scheduled to open the home slate on March 8.
• Feb. 22 games against Louisiana-Monroe and Central Arkansas at the UCA Invitational rained out and the tournament’s three-day schedule was pushed back one day (Feb. 23-25); Central Arkansas game was postponed to Feb. 25; Louisiana-Monroe game was canceled.
• Boise State dropped out of the UCA Invitational and was replaced by Stephen F. Austin (Feb. 23).
• Feb. 23 game against Coppin State in the UCA Invitational was moved to Feb. 25.
• Feb. 24 game against Austin Peay in the UCA Invitational was canceled due to rain and thunderstorms.
• Feb. 27 home doubleheader against South Dakota State added to the schedule on Feb. 21.
Kansas ranks second in the Big 12 and 22nd in the NCAA in home runs per game (1.15). The Jayhawks have a home run in the last seven games, including a season-high three homers against Missouri State (Feb. 18). KU totals 15 home runs through the first 13 games of the season led by five Jayhawks with at least two homers — Harli Ridling (3), Tarin Travieso (2), Jessie Roane (4), Becki Monaghan (2) and Shelby Gayre (3).
JACKSON LEADING BIG 12 IN STEALS
Freshman centerfielder Brittany Jackson co-leads the Big 12 with six stolen bases this season. Jackson has started all 13 games at center field and in the leadoff position in the batting order. Jackson is 6-for-7 in her stolen base attempts with five-straight successful attempts. Jackson has reached base in all but one game this season.
Kansas is on a five-game winning streak entering Tuesday’s home-opener against South Dakota State. It is the longest winning streak since an eight-game winning streak from the last three games of 2016 and the first five games of 2017.
Kansas outscored its opponents, 33-4, in three games at the University of Central Arkansas Invitational. Kansas held an 85-37 scoring advantage through 13 games this season. The Jayhawks average 6.54 runs per game, which ranks 24th nationally and second in the Big 12.
In the 6th and 7th innings, KU is out scoring opponents, 24-4.
MINOR WAS MAJOR AGAINST COPPIN STATE
Junior pitcher/utility Brynn Minor recorded 11 strikeouts in 7.0 innings during a 10-2 win over Coppin State (Feb. 25). It is the most strikeouts by a Jayhawk since 2016.
McGINLEY COMES ALIVE
Over the three games at the Central Arkansas Invitational, senior left fielder Erin McGinley hit .625 with three doubles and seven RBIs. McGinley, KU’s offensive MVP last season, entered last week with a .194 batting average. McGinley enters Tuesday on a five-game hitting streak.
RIDLING LEADING OFFENSE
Senior starting catcher Harli Ridling leads KU’s offense with a .436 batting average and 17 hits. Ridling has a .542 on-base percentage and has been struck out just twice this season.
Ridling enters Tuesday on a seven-game hitting streak. Five games of the hitting streak have been multi-hit games. Ridling ranks tied for fourth in career home runs at Kansas with Destiny Frankenstein (2003-06).
Senior Jessie Roane is hitting 7-for-11 (.636) at the plate with runners in scoring position. Overall, Roane is hitting .395 with four home runs and 18 RBIs to her credit through 13 starts. At third base, she maintains a perfect fielding percentage with 17 putouts and 26 assists.
Roane was named to the Stetson Leadoff Classic 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.
Junior pitcher Andie Formby leads the Big 12 in wins (5-0), saves (2), innings pitched (43.0) and complete games (5) through seven starts and two relief appearances this season. Formby also ranks second in the Big 12 in total strikeouts (35). Her pair of early-season saves ranks seventh in the nation. The California native has allowed just five walks in 43.0 innings pitched 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 travels east for the Carolina Classic, hosted by the University of North Carolina, March 2-4.
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