KU softball squad taking on Missouri

Two Big 12 Conference softball teams riding crests of momentum will clash tonight in Columbia, Mo.

Missouri, off to a surprising 4-0 start in league play, will play host to Kansas University, winner of its last two conference outings, at 6 p.m. at University Field.

Missouri, despite posting two victories apiece against Texas and Oklahoma State, still has a losing overall record at 17-19.

“They’re kind of like an unknown team,” KU coach Tracy Bunge said of the Tigers. “They started poorly, but had a quality schedule. On paper, they’re very similar to us.”

Missouri’s team batting average is .217 while the Jayhawks’ team BA is .214. KU’s team earned run average is 1.86 while Missouri’s team ERA is 1.91.

While Missouri jumped to a 4-0 Big 12 start, the Jayhawks began 0-3 after suffering shutout losses to Baylor (twice) and Nebraska, but KU rebounded to sweep a pair from Texas Tech last weekend in Lawrence.

“We were definitely struggling mentally after the loss to Nebraska,” Bunge said, “but now I think they feel much better about themselves as a team.”

Senior Kara Pierce (13-7, 1.78 earned run average) will start tonight’s game for the Jayhawks.

“Kara throws best when she’s rested, and she’s had two days rest so we expect her to do well,” Bunge said.

Second baseman Jessica Moppin was KU’s hottest hitter in the Texas Tech series, scoring the winning run in one victory and hitting a home run in the other. It was the first round-tripper of the season from the Olathe sophomore who hit 11 last season.

“Moppin has always been a streak hitter so we hope she’ll remain hot,” Bunge said.

Shortstop Destiny Frankenstein and designated player Serena Settlemier have been KU’s most consistent hitters. Frankenstein leads the club with a .296 batting average. Settlemier is the pacesetter in homers (11) and RBIs (19). Her slugging percentage is a gaudy .630.

Kansas, 23-16-1 overall, will return to the road this weekend for single games Saturday and Sunday at Texas A&M. The next home date is Tuesday against Wichita State.

Missouri and Kansas will meet again a week from today in Arrocha Ballpark.