Kansas Welcomes Shockers for Midweek Finale
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Following a week break from action, Kansas softball returns to the diamond to host Wichita State in its final midweek matchup of 2016 on Tuesday, March 29, at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park. First pitch against the Shockers is slated for 6 p.m., on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
Around the Diamond
Tuesday night is staff and faculty appreciation night with free admission with valid identification. Kansas will be giving away the first set of 2016 Jayhawk softball trading cards, while supplies last.
Leading Off for Kansas
- After just her second loss of the season in the circle, sophomore Andie Formby bounced back in historic fashion, throwing the 26th no-hitter in Kansas softball history against Saint Louis (3/20).
- In the last 54 and two-thirds innings of work, Formby has relinquished just four earned runs for a 0.51 ERA in outings since March 6. She had thrown 28 and two-thirds scoreless innings before No. 22 Minnesota ended the streak after scoring four runs. Formby started another streak with her first career no-hitter that is at 19-straight innings heading into the midweek matchup.
- KU has launched 34 home runs over the outfield fence this season, the most in the Big 12, which have plated 68 of Kansas’ 143 runs scored in 2016. A total of 10 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 126 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 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
Kansas has won five of its last six games heading into the midweek matchup with Wichita State, including a 3-1 mark at Rock Chalk Park. The Jayhawks’ lone loss in the last six outings was a 4-2 decision in favor of No. 22 Minnesota, marking the fourth time this season that the Jayhawks have fallen short to a nationally-ranked opponent. KU has posted four shutout victories in its last six games as sophomore Andie Formby started Spring Break with a complete-game shutout over Creighton, tossed her first career no-hither against Saint Louis during the Rock Chalk Challenge and threw her eighth shutout of the season over Evansville.
Formby has made four starts since the meeting at Creighton and has given up four runs in 28 innings of work. The Golden Gophers’ four runs in her first start at the Rock Chalk Challenge ended Formby’s scoreless streak at 28 and two-thirds innings. Since March 6, Formby has allowed four earned runs in 47 and two-thirds innings for a 0.81 ERA. Against Creighton, Formby struck out seven batters, marking the third time this season that she has struck out seven or more batters in a single game. On the season, Formby is 11-2 in the circle with a 1.50 ERA. KU’s pitching staff has a 2.66 ERA with 153 strikeouts while giving up 68 walks.
Offensively, Kansas hit .296 in the last five games with 11 doubles and eight home runs for a .542 slugging percentage and .394 on-base percentage. Senior shortstop Chaley Brickey led the offensive charge, hitting .533 with a team-best three doubles and two home runs for a 1.133 slugging percentage. Along with her team-high eight hits, Brickey drew five walks to record a .650 on-base percentage. Redshirt sophomore catcher Harli Ridling launched a pair of home runs and tallied a team-best six RBIs over the last six games, while batting .333.
Sophomore outfielder Erin McGinley’s bat continues to heat up as she recorded eight hits in the last five games, including a walk-off home run. Erin McGinley hit .400 last week with three RBIs along with her second career long ball. The offensive highlight of the Rock Chalk Challenge Tournament came from senior infielder Kylee Kennedy. The Topeka, Kansas native entered the game against Saint Louis as a pinch hitter and during her second at-bat of the contest delivered a three-run homer to give Kansas the lead. Kennedy’s second career long ball sparked nine unanswered Jayhawk runs against the Billikens.
Scouting the Shockers
Wichita State enters the midweek showdown with the Jayhawks after sweeping a three-game series against Loyola Chicago to improve to 16-12 on the season and 4-2 in Missouri Valley Conference action. The Shockers were picked first in the 2016 Missouri Valley Conference Preseason Poll after receiving three first-place votes and a total of 84 points in the poll. The Shockers return 15 players from last year’s team that went 34-23 overall and 16-11 in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Senior Brittany Fortner, senior Cacy Williams and sophomore Mackenzie Wright were all named to the preseason all-conference team for the 2016 season. Fortner is hitting .324 on the season with a team-best nine doubles, while Williams is batting .288 with 10 extra-base hits and 24 RBIs. Junior infielder Macklin Hitz leads the team with a .367 batting average and has launched the second-most home runs on the roster with four. Redshirt sophomore utility Paige Luellen has driven in a team-high 27 RBIs while hitting .356 in 28 starts. Collectively, the Shockers are batting .285 with 208 hits, including 59 extra-base hits, and 110 walks.
In the circle, junior Jenni Brooks leads the Wichita State pitching staff after posting a 2.75 ERA and an 8-3 record. She has thrown two complete games in 10 starts and 19 appearances. Junior right-hander Katie Malone has struck out a team-high 45 batters and is 6-5 in the circle with a 4.18 ERA. The Shockers’ pitching staff has registered a 3.92 ERA with 86 strikeouts and 70 walks.
The Series Breakdown
Kansas and Wichita State meet for the 88th time in program history on the diamond with Tuesday evening’s contest. The series with the Shockers began in 1978 with a 15-game winning streak. The Jayhawks have won 10 of the last 11 meetings, including six-straight. KU has a 58-10 record against the Shockers when playing in Lawrence.
Around the League
The Jayhawks are putting up impressive numbers during the 2016 season. Kansas is second in the Big 12 Conference in drawing walks with 106, has the best fielding percentage (.985), is first in home runs with 34, third in batters struck out with 153 and third in shutouts thrown with eight. Individually, sophomore infielder Daniella Chavez has made her mark on the league standings. Chavez is second in home runs (9) and first in runs batted in (35). Senior infielder Chaley Brickey leads the Big 12 in walks (22), is tied for first in runs scored (29) and has the sixth-best batting average (.410). In the circle, sophomore Andie Formby has posted the second-lowest ERA in the league (1.50). She is first in shutouts (six) and tied for second in wins (nine) and is fourth in strikeouts (81).
The Jayhawks open their Big 12 slate on the road at Oklahoma April 1-3. Kansas’ three-game series with the Sooners will air on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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