Kansas ready for rainy UCA Invitational

Kansas softball will play through rain this weekend at the Central Arkansas Invitational on the all-FieldTurf surface at Farris Field in Conway, Arkansas. The Jayhawks are scheduled to begin the event on Friday against Stephen F. Austin, followed by contests against Austin Peay, Coppin State and host Central Arkansas.

  Friday, Feb. 23 – Sunday, Feb. 25
  Conway, Ark. (Farris Field)
  Game Notes

Friday: Rain and possibly a thunderstorm. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. High near 62 degrees. Calm wind. Chance of precipitation is 90 percent.
Friday Night: Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm. Cloudy, with a temperature rising to around 61 degrees by 5 a.m. Calm wind becoming south around five mph after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 70 degrees.
Saturday: Showers and thunderstorms likely. Cloudy, with a high near 66 degrees. South wind around five mph. Chance of precipitation is 70 percent.
Saturday Night: Showers and thunderstorms likely. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 44 degrees. South-southwest wind around five mph becoming west northwest after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 60 percent.
Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 60 degrees. West-northwest wind around five mph becoming east southeast in the afternoon.

SERIES SUMMARY: Central Arkansas
Kansas and Central Arkansas, host of the UCA Invitational, meet for the second time this weekend. The Jayhawks defeated the Sugar Bears, 2-1, in Orlando, Florida, in the first meeting of the series on Feb. 8, 2008. Central Arkansas is the second Southland Conference opponent Kansas will face in as many weeks after facing Lamar last week in San Antonio.

SERIES SUMMARY: Stephen F. Austin
Kansas and Stephen F. Austin will meet for the third time in program history this weekend. The Jayhawks won the first two meetings in run-rule fashion, defeating the Ladyjacks 12-1 in 1996 and 9-1 in 1997.

Kansas and Coppin State meet for the first time this weekend. The Jayhawks are 15-0 all-time against teams currently in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC).

Kansas and Austin Peay meet for the second time this weekend in Arkansas. The first meeting between the teams came during head coach Megan Smith’s first season at KU when the Jayhawks shutout the Governors, 9-0, in five innings in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Austin Peay, hailing from Clarksville, Tennessee, is the first of three Ohio Valley Conference opponents for KU this season.

Kansas ranks second in the Big 12 and 33rd in the NCAA in home runs per game (1.10). KU totals 11 home runs through the first 10 games of the season led by five Jayhawks with two homers — Harli Ridling, Tarin Travieso, Jessie Roane, Becki Monaghan and Shelby Gayre.

Senior starting catcher Harli Ridling leads KU’s offense with a .429 batting average and 12 hits. Enters the weekend with a four-game hitting streak. Ranks fifth in the conference with 12 hits. Ranked as the second-toughest hitter to strikeout in the Big 12 (27th in NCAA). Ridling has a .543 on-base percentage and has been struck out just once this season.

Junior pitcher Andie Formby ranks second in the Big 12 in total strikeouts (24) and her three complete-game efforts co-leads the league. Through five starts and three relief appearances, Formby has a 3-0 record and a Big 12-best two saves this season. Her pair of early-season saves also ranks third in the nation. The California native ranks third in the Big 12 in walk allowed per seven innings (0.88) and holds a 24-4 strikeouts-to-walks ratio.

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.

Freshman utility player Tarin Travieso made a shining collegiate debut in her hometown of San Antonio last weekend. During her first weekend of competition, Travieso (pronounced traa-VEE-es-oh) posted a .385 batting average with five hits, eight RBIs and three run scored. On Friday, 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. In KU’s final two games of the weekend, Travieso added another home run, three hits and two RBIs in back-to-back games against Missouri State at the plate.

Freshman backup catcher Shelby Gayre’s first two hits is the stuff of legend. The D’Hanis, Texas, native has a pair of three-run home runs as her 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.

Kansas added a home doubleheader against South Dakota State (Tuesday, Feb. 27, 1 p.m.) at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park. Admission will be free; gates will open to the public starting at noon. The doubleheader was added after select games at this weekend’s upcoming UCA Invitational have already been canceled due to heavy rain in Conway, Arkansas.

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). Andie Formby’s two saves ranks third in the nation. Brynn Minor (1) and Formby are two of the three players in the Big 12 with a save this season.

Senior Jessie Roane is hitting 4-for-6 at the plate with runners in scoring position. Overall, Roane is hitting .321 with two home runs and nine RBIs to her credit through 10 starts. At third base, she maintains a perfect fielding percentage with 16 putouts and 23 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.

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 254-181 (.581) record at Kansas. In her 13th season as a head coach, Smith has a 374-242 (.606) career record.

Senior pitcher Sarah Miller recorded a career-high nine strikeouts in a one-run victory (2-1) over Stetson on 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 six innings before allowing her first hit in the seventh inning — a single through the left side with no outs.

For the second-straight season, Kansas softball was selected to finish fifth in the Big 12 Conference standings by the leagues head coaches. Kansas’ highest preseason conference ranking (fourth) was before the start of 2016 campaign. Six-time defending Big 12 regular-season champion and back-to-back reigning national champion Oklahoma and was selected to finish first after receiving six of seven first-place votes and a total of 36 points.

From the moment a student-athlete steps on campus, Kansas head softball coach Megan Smith and her staff begin the process of instilling the Jayhawk Way into their team. The philosophy guides the Jayhawks in competing on the diamond, in the classroom and being a part of the community. There are several core values that the Jayhawks learn to live by while playing at Kansas: family, academics, character and hard work.

The Jayhawk Way team counsel of leaders for 2018 is Sam Dellinger (hard work), Becky Monaghan (character), Harli Ridling (excellence), Courtney Taylor (energy), Erin McGinley (academics), Sarah Miller (family).

Kansas will play host to South Dakota State on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park.





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