Kansas softball hits the road again for the Coach B Classic March 1-2 hosted by Southern Illinois. The tournament features four games against SIU, Murray State and Miami (Ohio). The Coach B Classic was originally scheduled to be played on SIU's campus, but due to forecasted poor weather conditions the tournament moved to Warner Park in Chattanooga, Tenn.
FOLLOWING THE JAYHAWKS
Live stats are offered for all four of the Jayhawks' game this weekend and are available via KUAthletics.com. Kansas softball's twitter account (@KUSoftball) will also have in-game updates during each game of the season.
LEADING OFF FOR KANSAS
Junior Alicia Pille tossed her first career no-hitter against Jackson State (2/22) becoming the 24th Jayhawk to record a no-no. Pille's no-hitter is the first since 2013 when Kelsey Kessler hurled one against Texas Tech. She faced one over the minimum and struck out 10.
Sophomore Kelsey Kessler leads the Kansas pitching staff with 71 strikeouts on the season. Kessler recorded a career-high 15 Ks earlier this season against Chattanooga (2/9) and has struck out 10 or more batters in three games.
Freshman Harli Ridling owns the longest hit streak of 2014 after recording at least one hit in the past seven games. Seniors Taylor Hatfield and Ashley Newman each have a four-game hitting streak on the line heading into the weekend.
Ridling recorded her first career grand slam against Jackson State (2/22) and the first since Maggie Hull hit one against North Carolina A&T in 2013. Ridling leads the team with two home runs and five extra base hits. She also has the best slugging percentage at .610.
Kansas is 2-0 in extra inning games this season and has a perfect 5-0 mark in extended contests under head coach Megan Smith. KU's all-time record in extra-inning games is 79-74-1.
The Jayhawks concluded the 2013 season with the eighth-best fielding percentage (.976) in the country and currently have the best fielding percentage in the Big 12 (.983) after committing only six errors in 88 innings.
Three Jayhawk starters are hitting above .300 on the season. Freshman Harli Ridling leads the squad with a .390 batting average and a team-high five extra base hits. She hit her first career grand slam against Jackson State (2/22) and has two home runs on the year.
Southern Illinois: The overall series against Southern Illinois is tied 4-4 after eight games. The series' first game was in 1982 and the last meeting was in 2010. Kansas has won two of the last four games. KU has played two extra-inning games against SIU, splitting the extended contests 1-1. Three of the four Jayhawk victories were shutouts.
Murray State: The Jayhawks and Racers meet for the first time in program history on March 1.
Miami (Ohio): KU has a perfect 3-0 mark against the Red Hawks in a series that started in 1999. Kansas posted a shutout in 2-of-3 meetings against Miami (Ohio). The most recent contest against the Red Hawks was in 2002 in Sacramento, Calif., and the Jayhawks edged Miami 5-4.
SCOUTING THE FIELD
Southern Illinois: The Salukis are 5-6 on the season and 5-3 on a neutral field. SIU was tabbed to finish fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference in 2014 by the league coaches. Southern Illinois returns 14 letterwinners, including seven position starters and two pitchers to the squad this year. Jayna Spivey and Meredith Wilson were selected to Preseason MVC All-Conference team. Spivey is hitting .250 with eight hits and a team-leading right RBIs. Wilson is also batting .250 with four hits and six RBIs. The Salukis are hitting .232 with 63 hits including 20 for extra bases and tallied 40 RBIs. Ace Katie Bertelsen has a 2-2 mark in the circle after six starts. She has posted a 4.40 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 28.2 innings of work. Taylor Orsburn recorded the lone Saluki save and has an ERA of 0.88 in eight innings pitched. The SIU pitching staff has a 4.36 ERA with 37 strikeouts in 70.2 innings pitched. Opponents are batting .324 against Southern Illinois' staff.
Murray State: Murray State, a member of the Ohio Valley Conference, is 7-5 on the year heading into the Coach B Classic. The Racers return 12 letterwinners from last season's roster, including six starters, while adding seven newcomers during the offseason. Murray State was selected to finish fourth in the OVC West Division by the league coaches. At the plate, the Racers are hitting .291 with 92 hits and 22 for extra bases including 10 doubles, six triples and six home runs. MSU tallied 49 RBIs, 41 walks and 15 stolen bases. Cayla Levins leads the team with a .414 batting average. She has recorded 12 hits, including a double and two triples, along with six runs scored, six RBIs and four walks. Three Racers are hitting .300 or better on the season. On the mound, Murray State has a 3.33 ERA and has struck out 61 batters in 80 innings pitched. The Racers have compiled three complete games, two saves and one shutout. Mason Robinson has a 3-1 mark in four starts and seven appearances. She has hurled 25.2 innings for a 2.73 ERA and 16 strikeouts. CheyAnne Gaskey leads the team with 35 strikeouts. She is 3-3 on the year in the circle with a 3.87 ERA.
Miami (Ohio): Miami is 3-5 on the young 2014 season and was picked to finish third in the MAC East Division. All 14 letterwinners from a year ago return and are joined by five talented newcomers. MU is 3-3 when playing on a neutral diamond. The Red Hawks are batting .268 after eight games with 12 extra base hits including 10 doubles, a triple and a home run. Miami's offense is led by Kristy Arbour, who is hitting a team-best .370 with 10 hits, six runs scored and three RBIs. Allie Larrabee is the only other Red Hawk in the line up hitting over .300 (.350). She has seven hits, two runs scored and a team-high five walks. In the circle, Miami has an ERA of 3.98 with 38 strikeouts and an opposing batting average of .278 after 51 innings of work. Paige Myers has posted a 3-1 record after six appearances and four starts. After 24.1 innings pitched, she leads teh squad with a 1.15 ERA, has struck out 23 batters and has tossed one complete game shutout.
NO-NO YOU DIDN'T
Junior Alicia Pille recorded her first career and the 24th Jayhawk no-hitter against Jackson State on Feb. 22. Pille recorded 10 strikeouts and faced 22 batters, one over the minimum. She allowed two walks and one JSU batter reached on an error in her third victory of the season. The last Jayhawk to toss a no-no was sophomore Kelsey Kessler in 2013 against Texas Tech.
HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT
Freshman Harli Ridling leads the team with seven hit by pitches in 2014. Ridling's hit by pitches combined with two walks and 16 hits give her a team-high on-base percentage of .500.
NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT
Through 88 innings of play in the 2014 season, the Jayhawk defense has committed only six errors for the Big 12's best fielding percentage (.983). A year ago, Kansas broke the program fielding percentage record with a .976 mark, which finished eighth in the NCAA.
HITTING THE LONG BALL
At the College of Charleston Classic, two Jayhawks recorded their first career home runs. Senior Taylor Hatfield hit the first long ball of the 2014 season with a solo shot against Ole Miss (2/14). Freshman Harli Ridling launched a solo home run to left center against College of Charleston (2/15). Ridling crushed her first career grand slam against Jackson State (2/22) and leads KU with two homers this season.
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