Archive for Saturday, May 8, 2004

Kansas softball wary of Cyclones

May 8, 2004


Victories last week over traditional powers Nebraska and Texas have Kansas University's softball players walking tall.

Now KU coach Tracy Bunge is concerned lowly Iowa State might cut the Jayhawks down to size.

"It's a worry that we might be looking past this weekend," Bunge said, "to the Big 12 tournament. We have to be focused."

Kansas will close the regular season with games at 2 p.m. today and 1 p.m. Sunday at Arrocha Ballpark against the Cyclones, who are saddled with the league's worst overall record at 12-29.

"Iowa State is a scary club," Bunge said, "because they don't have anything to lose. Our players have to understand that."

Kansas has the lowest team batting average in the Big 12 (.202), but the Jayhawks boast two of the league's best pitchers in senior Kara Pierce (16-11, 1.80 earned-run average) and freshman Kassie Humphreys (14-10, 1.50 ERA). Humphreys is scheduled to pitch today and Pierce on Sunday.

Iowa State, meanwhile, is 2-12 in league contests, has the second worst team batting average at .207 and the worst overall earned-run average (3.55).

KU's primary incentive is to climb into sixth place in conference standings and avoid the first-round bracket at the league tournament next week in Oklahoma City. The top six teams will earn byes.

"Nobody wants to be in those play-in games," Bunge said.

The Jayhawks (6-10) currently are in seventh place, a half-game back of Oklahoma State (7-10). The Cowgirls are playing host to Baylor (10-6) this weekend. To leapfrog OSU, KU must sweep the Cyclones and hope Baylor wins at least one game in Stillwater, Okla.

Prior to Sunday's games, six Jayhawks -- Pierce, Melanie Wallach, Sylvia Pfeiffer, Leah Mountain, Sandy Smith and Lawrence High product Dani May -- will be honored on Senior Day.

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