Kansas Travels to Creighton for Midweek Matchup
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas softball hits the road for its first midweek matchup of the year when the Jayhawks travel to Creighton on Wednesday, March 16 for a single game at the Kitty Gaughan Pavilion. First pitch against the Bluejays is scheduled for 4 p.m.
FOLLOWING THE JAYHAWKS
Listen to every pitch all season long as part of the Jayhawk Radio Network, in partnership with KJHK, the University of Kansas’ student radio station, 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 went 4-1 its first weekend at Rock Chalk Park and outscored its opponents 23-5 during the Jayhawk Invitational.
- KU has launched 26 home runs over the outfield fence this season, second-most in the Big 12, which have plated 51 of Kansas’ 115 runs scored in 2016. Nine different Jayhawks have recorded a long ball.
- Senior infielder Chaley Brickey walked her way into the history books after recording four base on balls during the second weekend of the season. The Haltom City, Texas native claimed Kansas’ all-time walk record, surpassing Tracy Bunge’s record 108 walks from 1983-86. Brickey currently has 121 career walks.
- In the last three seasons, Kansas has recorded three top-10 wins including a victory over then-No. 1 Oklahoma, 2-0, in 2013. During the 2015 season, KU continued its tradition of upsetting OU with a 4-2 win over the fifth-ranked Sooners on April 24.
- KU’s 10-4 win over Southern Illinois (3/6) gave Kansas head coach Megan Smith her 200th win at the helm of the Jayhawk program. The Jayhawks have recorded 30 wins in each of the last five seasons under head coach Megan Smith. Kansas’ 40 wins last season were the most victories claimed by KU in the Smith era, and the most wins by a Jayhawk team since 1997.
About the Jayhawks
After a 4-1 weekend at home, Kansas improved to 15-9 on the season. The Jayhawks take a break from their homestand for a midweek matchup at Creighton. KU faces the Bluejays for the first time in six seasons, which resulted in a one-run victory for the Jayhawks to end a three-game losing skid to CU.
Last weekend, Kansas hosted the 2016 Jayhawk Invitational where KU outscored its opponents 23-5 in five games. The Jayhawks’ offense tallied 40 hits, 11 for extra bases, and 24 walks, while hitting .320. Sophomore outfielder Erin McGinley hit a team-high .529 over the weekend with a double and three RBIs. Sophomore infielder Daniella Chavez led KU’s roster with two home runs, two doubles and 10 RBIs while hitting .467 in five starts at first base. Chavez recorded a 1.000 slugging percentage and a .579 on-base percentage. Senior shortstop Chaley Brickey drew a team-best six walks over the weekend with four hits and a run batted in.
After a good outing at the plate over the weekend, KU’s batting average rose to .277 on the season. The Jayhawks have recorded 171 hits, including the second-most home runs in the Big 12 (26), and 87 walks. Kansas has posted a .452 slugging percentage and .382 on-base percentage through 24 games.
Kansas’ offense wasn’t the only one to produce for the Jayhawks in the last five games. KU’s pitching staff registered a 1.03 ERA after allowing just five runs in 34 innings of work. In the circle, the Jayhawks struck out 32 batters and gave up 11 walks. Opponents hit .216 against KU’s pitching staff, which surrendered 27 hits in five games. Sophomore Andie Formby recorded a perfect 3-0 mark in three appearances. She posted a 0.00 ERA in 17 and two-thirds innings of work while striking out a team-best 19 batters. Formby tossed two complete-game shutouts and one scoreless relief outing. Freshman Alexis Reid also threw a scoreless relief outing, allowing three hits in four and two-thirds innings pitched.
After an impressive weekend in the circle, Kansas’ ERA dropped to 3.02 on the season. KU has surrendered 68 earned runs and 60 walks in 157 and two-thirds innings. The Jayhawks threw three shutouts last weekend, increasing their total to five in 2016. KU has struck out 123 batters this season, the third-most by a Big 12 pitching staff.
Scouting the Bluejays
With two All-BIG EAST selections returning, Creighton will look to build off of last year’s 22-21 campaign. Creighton was tabbed fifth in the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches’ Poll by the league coaches. Junior utility Allie Reinhart led the Bluejays with a .396 batting average, 21 hits and 12 RBI in conference play last season. Behind the plate, senior utility Blake Ringle finished second on the team with 10 long balls, four of which came in BIG EAST action. Including Reinhart and Ringle, the Bluejays return 15 players from a year ago, while welcoming seven newcomers to the roster.
Heading into the sixth week of the season, the Bluejays are 15-9 and host Kansas in their first home game of 2016. Three Bluejays are batting above .300 as the team collectively is hitting .260 on the season. Reinhart, sophomore infielder Tash Coffiel and junior infielder Jen Daro have all registered a .300 batting average or higher. Coffiel leads the squad with a .386 average, while Daro has launched a team-best five long balls over the outfield fence and tallied 23 RBIs. Reinhart has hit a team-high five doubles while driving home 13 in 2016. The Bluejays’ offense has recorded 154 hits, 31 for extra bases, 99 walks and 105 runs scored.
In the circle, Creighton’s pitching staff has a 3.09 ERA in 156 and one-third innings of work with 169 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting .256 against CU’s pitchers, who have surrendered 69 earned runs. Junior right-hander Sydnee Eck leads the pitching staff with a 2.43 ERA and 109 strikeouts. She is 9-4 in the circle after tossing five complete games in five starts and 15 appearances.
The Series Breakdown
Kansas leads the all-time series over Creighton 42-24-1. The series began in 1980 on a neutral diamond with a 5-2 KU victory. KU has won just one of the last four meetings. The Jayhawks face the Bluejays for the first time since 2010 when KU defeated CU 6-5 in Omaha. Kansas owns a 14-8 record against Creighton in Omaha.
Around the League
The Jayhawks are putting up impressive numbers through the first five weeks of the 2016 season. Kansas is first in the Big 12 Conference in drawing walks with 87, has the best fielding percentage (.986), is second in home runs with 26, third in batters struck out with 123 and third in shutouts thrown with five. Individually, sophomore infielder Daniella Chavez has made her mark on the league standings. Chavez is tied for first in hits (31), first in home runs (8), first in runs batted in (32) and has the sixth-best batting average in the conference (.413). Senior infielder Chaley Brickey leads the Big 12 in walks (17) and runs scored (24). In the circle, sophomore Andie Formby has posted the fifth-lowest ERA in the league (1.73). She is tied for second in shutouts (3) and tied for third in strikeouts (56) and wins (7).
Following the first midweek matchup of 2016, Kansas will host the Rock Chalk Challenge March 18-20 at Rock Chalk Park. The Jayhawks open the tournament against No. 17 Minnesota on Friday, March 18 at 2 p.m. The contest against the Gophers will air on the Jayhawk Television Network, while every game will be broadcast on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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