Softball Renews Border Showdown Wednesday



April 6, 2010

Complete Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

No. 7/8 Missouri Tigers vs. Kansas Jayhawks
WHEN: Wednesday, March 7 - 4 p.m. CT | 6 p.m. CT
WHERE: University Field - Columbia, Mo.

LIVE VIDEO: Mizzou All-Access
LIVE AUDIO: 88.1 FM or Online

ADDITIONAL INFO: Fans who come to the game wearing gold will be able to get into the games for only $2.

After getting swept at home and being handed their first back-to-back losses of the season by the Oklahoma State Cowgirls this past weekend, the No. 7/8 Missouri Tigers (25-6, 1-3) look to get back on the winning track when the Kansas Jayhawks invade University Field this Wednesday, April 7, for the Border Showdown.  The midweek doubleheader will begin at 4 p.m. CT, while game two will start at approximately 6 p.m. CT.  Fans who come to the game wearing gold will be able to get into the games for only $2.

Kansas has struggled this season so far, coming in with just a 16-19 record and as the only Big 12 team winless in conference play.  They dropped both games this past weekend to nationally-ranked Texas, who disrupted the Jayhawk conference home-opener with 7-0 and 6-2 victories.  Two weekends ago, Texas A&M run-ruled KU twice in College Station, Texas, besting the Jayhawks 12-4 and 10-1, both in six innings.  In their last 12 games overall, the Jayhawks are just 5-7.  Kansas is coached by Megan Smith, who is in her first season after spending the previous three seasons as an assistant at LSU.  Assisting Smith are Adam Roorbach and Christi Musser.

Freshman Rosie Hull is leading the Jayhawk offense with a .409 batting average this year, pacing a team that’s batting just .257.  She’s connected on 36 hits in just 88 at bats, has scored 15 times and leads the team with a .435 OBP.  Senior Sara Ramirez leads the team with six home runs and is second with 19 runs and 19 runs batted in, despite just a .224 batting average.

The Jayhawks have three pitchers who all get about the same equal time in the circle.  Junior Allie Clark and freshman Alex Jones have each recorded five wins and four losses this season.  Clark’s ERA is a team-best at 3.55, and she’s thrown five complete games and one shutout.  Jones’ ERA stands at 4.00 currently, while she has also registered five complete games to go with her two shutouts.  Senior Sarah Vertelka has pitched the most innings on the team at 86.0, and has a team-high 48 strikeouts.  She has seven complete games this season.

Currently, Kansas holds a slight lead over Missouri in the 2009-10 M&I Bank Border Showdown Series at 12.0-11.0.  Kansas recently retook the lead over the Tigers with their regular season men’s basketball victory at the Mizzou Arena, along with their first place finish at the Men’s Big 12 Conference Tournament.  A total of 3.0 points will be up for grabs on Wednesday, as each game of the doubleheader will be worth 1.5.

The two teams have met up 100 times total in softball, with the Tigers holding a 57-43 edge over their conference rival.  More recently, Missouri has dominated the series, as they’ve won five of the six games played since Ehren Earleywine has taken over the reigns as head coach back in 2007.

Kansas and Missouri split their two games last season during a doubleheader in Lawrence, Kan., with the Tigers taking game one by an 8-0, run-rule victory before falling 4-1 in game two.  Kansas scored all four runs in the bottom of the seventh for a walk-off win over the Tigers.

Missouri starts a five-game road trip this coming weekend as Big 12 play continues against Texas.  The Tigers will head to Austin, Texas, where they’ll play two games in two days.  On Saturday, April 10, Mizzou and the Longhorns kick off at 1 p.m. CT, while game two will take place on Sunday, April 11, at Noon CT.

The Missouri softball team has added two non-conference games to their 2010 regular season schedule, as announced Tuesday.

The Tigers will welcome in-state opponent Central Methodist to University Field on Thursday, April 22 for a double header.  Game one will begin at 2 p.m. CT, with game two starting at approximately 4 p.m. CT.

The Missouri softball team had their Big 12 home opening weekend spoiled by the No. 15 Oklahoma State Cowgirls, as OSU pulled off a sweep of the Tigers, winning 8-3 and 1-0.

Game one, which started on Friday, resumed play Saturday afternoon.  After beginning the fourth inning on Friday, the game was suspended due to heavy rains in the area.  Play continued Saturday at Noon CT, with the two squads tied at 3-3.

It was all Cowgirls when play resumed, as they scored five runs over the last three innings to pick up the 8-3 win.  After a hit and an error in the fifth, a one out, two-run double put Oklahoma State on top for the first time in the game, moving ahead with a 5-3 lead.  In game two, Missouri was limited to zero runs on just three hits, and the lone Cowgirl run held up, giving OSU the sweep.  The Tigers had a chance to score in the second, as they loaded the bases with two outs, but a strikeout ended the inning and the threat.  The Cowgirls scored in the top of the fourth, after getting back-to-back one out doubles.

In the first inning of game two against SLU on Wednesday, March 31, following a leadoff walk, junior Rhea Taylor stole second base on the first pitch for her 111th career steal, breaking the school record in just two-and-a-half years.  Former Tiger Julie Link held the old record since 1989.  After stealing a school-record 57 bases her freshman year, Taylor swiped 36 more her sophomore year.  So far this season she has 18 stolen bases.  Taylor has been thrown out only eight times in her career, giving her a lifetime stolen base percentage of 93.3%.

Following a tough home sweep at the hands of the Oklahoma State Cowgirls, the Missouri softball team slipped a few spots in both the NFCA/USA Today and Softball polls, coming in at No. 7 and No. 8, respectively.

Last week, the Tigers ranked No. 4 in both polls, but after a 2-2 week, dropped out of the top-five after being there for five consecutive weeks in the NFCA poll and six consecutive weeks in the poll.  The Tigers have been in the top 10 for 10 straight polls, dating back to the final poll of the 2009 season.

The Missouri softball program is currently scheduled to appear twice on major television networks in the upcoming weeks.  Both Big 12 Conference matchups, two Tiger road games will be televised.  The first, being shown on ESPN, pits the Tigers up against the Texas A&M Aggies in the second and final game of the weekend series.  The second televised game is the series opener between Missouri and the Cornhuskers of Nebraska, scheduled to appear on FSN.

April 24 
Sat.   1 p.m. CT   ESPN   Missouri @ Texas A&M
May 8
Sat.   Noon CT   FSN   Missouri @ Nebraska



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