Kansas set to host Jayhawk Invitational

Beginning in August 2017, fans will be allowed to bring only one clear plastic bag no larger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches or a one-gallon, clear, resealable plastic storage bag per person inside Kansas athletics events.

Fans will also be allowed a small clutch purse not to exceed 5.5 inches by 8.5 inches.

More on new bag policy

Kansas softball (16-3) opens an 11-game home stand this weekend as hosts of the Jayhawk Invitational at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park this weekend with UMKC, Northern Iowa, Green Bay, Nebraska and Tulsa.

Live audio of KU’s games will be available on KUAthletics.com/radio. Thursday’s game against UMKC at 5 p.m., is the first of four KU softball telecasts this season on the Jayhawk Television Network, powered by Spectrum Sports Kansas City.

  Thurs., March 8- Sun., March 11
  Lawrence, Kan. (Arrocha Ballpark at RCP)
  Game Notes
 Game 20: vs. UMKC
  Thursday, March 8
  5 p.m.
  Live Stats
 Game 21: vs. UNI
  Friday, March 9
  4:30 p.m.
  Live Stats
 Game 22: vs. Nebraska
  Saturday, March 10
  2 p.m.
  Live Stats
 Game 23: vs. Green Bay
 Sunday, March 11
  11:30 a.m.
  Live Stats
 Game 24: vs. Tulsa
  Sunday, March 11
  2 p.m.
  Live Stats

• With a 16-3 record, Kansas leads the Big 12 in total wins entering the fifth weekend of the regular season.
• Kansas has won five-straight games, including a 4-0 record during the Carolina Classic last weekend.
• KU ranks third in the Big 12 and 26th nationally in home runs per game (1.0). The Jayhawks have at least one home run in 10 of the last 13 games.
• Freshman centerfielder Brittany Jackson is on a nine-game hitting streak entering Thursday and has six stolen bases this season.
• Senior infielder Jessie Roane is hitting .417 with four home runs with 21 RBIs and a Big 12-best eight doubles. Roane is hitting 11-for-19 (.579) with runners in scoring position.
• Senior catcher Harli Ridling leads KU’s offense with a .452 batting average and 28 hits.
• Junior pitcher Andie Formby (6-1) leads the Big 12 in saves (2), innings pitched (61.2) and complete games (5).
• Freshman Shelby Gayre started the last nine games at shortstop in place of the injured freshman Sydnee Ramsey (knee). Ramsey started the first 10 games before a season-ending injury.
• Kansas has the second-best fielding percentage in the Big 12 (.980).
• The 2018 Kansas softball campaign marks the 50th season overall and the ninth under head coach Megan Smith. Kansas has a 262-182 record during Smith’s tenure.
• KU’s 2018 roster is balanced with seasoned leadership and a renewed depth of talent, featuring seven seniors along with 10 newcomers.
• 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.

Thursday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 33 degrees.
Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 64 degrees.
Friday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 36 degrees.
Saturday: A 30 percent chance of showers, mainly after noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 58 degrees.
Saturday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 30 degrees.
Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 50 degrees.

Kansas and UMKC will face twice this season in back-to-back weekends. The Kangaroos will bookend KU’s pair of home tournaments as the first game of the Jayhawk Invitational this weekend and the last game of next week’s Rock Chalk Challenge on Sunday, March 18. Kansas enters Thursday with a 34-2 series advantage against UMKC, including seven-straight victories.

Kansas and Northern Iowa meet for the ninth time on Friday. The series is even, 4-4. Kansas won four of the first five meetings with UNI, but the Panthers have won three straight entering the Jayhawk Invitational.

Former Big 12 rivals Kansas and Nebraska are meeting for the 111th time on Saturday. Since exiting the Big 12 after the 2011 season, the series between the Jayhawks and Huskers is split, 2-2. The overall series record is almost as even with Nebraska holding a slight 56-54 series lead. Last season, KU defeated Nebraska 5-3 in Lincoln. In 2014, the teams met twice during the NCAA Regionals in Columbia, Missouri, with Kansas winning the opening game of the tournament, 3-1, and Nebraska eventually eliminating the Jayhawks, 2-1. This season, with quality wins over then-No. 19 BYU, then-No. 15 Utah and then-No. 6 Texas A&M, Nebraska is receiving votes in the latest NFCA Coaches Poll.

Kansas leads the all-time series with Green Bay, 7-0. The Jayhawks have run-ruled the Phoenix in four of the seven meetings while holding an scoring advantage of 8.0 to 0.6 runs per game. Green Bay also participated in last season’s Jayhawk Invitational, with Kansas winning 12-0 and 14-2 in two five-inning decisions.

Tulsa leads the all-time series with Kansas, 10-8. The Hurricanes have won the last six meetings, including three-straight one-run decisions. Tulsa finished last season ranked No. 22 in the NFCA Coaches Poll.

Kansas has a pair of walk-off victories this season. Both games have been 2-1 decisions and both came in the bottom of the eighth inning. Senior outfielder Erin McGinley lifted KU past Prairie View A&M (Feb. 16) on a first-pitch RBI single with two outs and the bases loaded. Freshman shortstop Shelby Gayre had the second game-winning hit, producing an RBI single down the left field line against Elon (March 2).

Senior starting catcher Harli Ridling leads KU’s offense with a .452  batting average and 28 hits. Ridling has a .528 on-base percentage with 10 free bases (two walks, eight hit-by-pitch) and only four strikeouts. Half of Ridling’s hits this season have come with two outs, hitting 14-for-27 with two outs through 19 games.

Ridling enters the weekend on a three-game hitting streak and already has a nine-game hitting streak to her credit this season. Ridling ranks tied for third in career home runs (32) at Kansas with Liz Kocon (2008-12).

Senior Jessie Roane is hitting 11-for-19 (.579) at the plate with runners in scoring position. Overall, Roane is hitting .417 with four home runs and 21 RBIs to her credit through 19 starts. At third base, she maintains a perfect fielding percentage with 25 putouts and 41 assists.

Roane was named to the Stetson Leadoff Classic All-Tournament Team 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.

Kansas is on pace to shatter a program record for doubles in a season. Through 19 games this season, the Jayhawks have a Big 12-leading 32 doubles. KU’s 1.68 doubles per game is a program high and ranks 19th in the nation. The next-highest doubles per game average for KU is 1.46 in 2013. Senior Jessie Roane (8) and senior Harlie Ridling (7) rank first and second, respectively, in the Big 12 for total doubles this season. Roane is also climbing the charts on KU’s career doubles list, entering the weekend with the sixth-most in program history (43). Ridling isn’t far behind with 30 career two-base knocks.

On Feb. 25, Kansas totaled six doubles during 10-2 victory over Coppin State. KU’s six doubles are the most by a Big 12 team in a game this season and the third-most of all NCAA Division I teams in 2018.

March marks the beginning of Kidney Cancer Awareness Month. Kansas head coach Megan Smith has been deeply effected by the disease, losing her husband, Paul Buske, to kidney cancer in June 2011. Kansas has played an annual Orange Game in his memory and to draw awareness to kidney cancer. This season’s Orange Game will be March 31 against Colorado State. Orange is the official color for kidney cancer awareness.

Kansas ranks 26th in the nation in home runs per game (1.00). KU has a home run in 10 of its last 13 games, including a season-high three homers against Missouri State (Feb. 18) and a pair of round-trippers during a 8-7 road win at North Carolina (March 3). KU totals 19 home runs through the first 19 games of the season led by five Jayhawks with at least two homers — Harli Ridling (4), Tarin Travieso (3), Jessie Roane (4), Becki Monaghan (2) and Shelby Gayre (3).

Freshman centerfielder Brittany Jackson has started all of KU’s 19 games in centerfield and as the leadoff hitter in the lineup. Jackson features a .323 batting average, a .391 on-base percentage, six stolen bases, and two outfield assists so far this season.

Jackson enters the weekend on a nine-game hitting streak and has reached base in all but one game this season.

Kansas enters this weekend on a five-game winning streak. It is the second five-game winning streak of the season, also occurring Feb. 17 to Feb. 25. The pair of winning streaks are the longest since an eight-game winning streak from the last three games of 2016 to the first five games of 2017.

As Kansas approaches its 20th game of the season on Thursday, the Jayhawks are nearing one of the best 20-game starts during the Big 12 era (since 1996). KU’s 16 wins through 19 games trails only the 2012 and 2015 seasons.

Kansas is averaging 6.0 runs per game this season — the third-highest average in program history thus far. The Jayhawks are outscoring opponents, 114-57 (+57) and by an average of 6.0 to 3.0 runs per game through 19 games.

KU’s 6.0 runs per game ranks third in the Big 12 and 27th nationally.

Kansas has opened games with a cumulative 37-10 scoring advantage in the first and second innings. After the fifth inning, KU is out scoring opponents 33-12.

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 the UCA Invitational with a .194 batting average. In the nine games since, McGinley is hitting .379 with eight RBIs.

Junior pitcher Andie Formby leads the Big 12 in saves (2), innings pitched (61.2) and complete games (5) through 10 starts and three relief appearances this season. Formby also ranks third in the Big 12 in wins (6-1) and fifth in strikeouts (42). Her pair of early-season saves ranks 14th in the nation. The California native has allowed just 12 walks in 61.2 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.

During the Carolina Classic last week, freshman utility player Tarin Travieso (pronounced traa-VEE-es-oh) hit her first-career grand slam during a one-run KU victory over North Carolina (March 3) and earned her first two career wins in the pitching circle against North Carolina and Elon. Travieso reached base in all four games at the Carolina Classic with a .400 batting average and five RBIs. In the circle, she pitched a total of 9.1 innings with seven strikeouts and allowed only one run.

Travieso also made a shining collegiate debut in her hometown of San Antonio during the UTSA Softball Tournament (Feb. 16-18). During her first weekend of competition, she posted a .385 batting average with five hits, eight RBIs and three run scored. 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 the most by any Big 12 player this season.

Travieso has started every KU game as the designated player since her six-RBI performance at UTSA (Feb. 16). On the season, she is hitting .361 with 18 RBIs and three home runs.

Freshman Shelby Gayre’s first two hits are the stuff of legend. The D’Hanis, Texas, native hit a pair of three-run home runs as the first two hits of her collegiate career — both home runs came after Gayre was inserted into the lineup as a pinch hitter. The first came against College of Charleston on Feb. 11 during a 6-1 KU victory in DeLand, Florida. The second gave KU the go-ahead 7-6 lead over Missouri State on Feb. 18.

Gayre, a catcher and infielder, has started the last nine games at shortstop.

Starting freshman shortstop Sydnee Ramsey (knee) will miss the remainder of the season due to injury. Ramsey started the first 10 games for KU as a shortstop or designated player with a .280 batting average and a team-high eight runs scored. The Oklahoma City native also drew a team-high six walks without striking out in 25 plate appearances.

With a 6-1 victory over College of Charleston on Feb. 11, Megan Smith notched her 250th win as head coach at Kansas. In her ninth season at the helm of the Jayhawks, Smith has a 262-182 (.590) record at Kansas. In her 12th season as a head coach, Smith has a 382-243 (.611) career record.

KU’s pitching staff leads the Big 12 in saves (3). Kansas reached three saves in only the first five games of the season, which eclipsed KU’s combined saves from 2016 (1) and 2017 (1).

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.

Senior pitcher Sarah Miller recorded a career-high nine strikeouts in a 2-1 victory over Stetson (Feb. 9). Miller reached her career mark in Ks after throwing 6.0 innings and allowing no earned runs. Miller maintained a no-hit performance against Stetson through six innings before allowing her first hit in the seventh inning.

Kansas continues its 11-game home stand as hosts of the Rock Chalk Challenge, March 15-18. KU’s second home tournament will feature Murray State, Northern Colorado, Saint Louis, UMKC and Western Illinois.



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