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Archive for Wednesday, March 30, 2005

KU softball to entertain Huskers

March 30, 2005

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Eight of Kansas University's last nine scheduled softball games have been rained out.

So, naturally, with the Jayhawks set to play host to Nebraska today, the forecast calls for rain. Only in the morning, however, and the game is scheduled for this afternoon.

"Let's hope the forecast holds," KU coach Tracy Bunge said.

The listed start time is 3 p.m. at Arrocha Ballpark.

The Jayhawks' only game in the last 10 days was Friday night at Texas where UT's Cat Osterman, arguably the best college pitcher in America, tossed a two-hitter, and the Longhorns won, 4-1.

A pinch-hit home run by Heather Stanley accounted for KU's run. Stanley, a junior from Houston, was the Jayhawks' starting left fielder most of last season, but lost her starting job because of poor hitting.

"Heather had a great at-bat," Bunge said of her home run against Osterman. "She really got hold of one. It cleared the fence by a lot. She's swinging the bat better now, and she's right back in the mix."

Stanley is catching fire at a time when Bunge's top two hitters are not at full speed. Shortstop Destiny Frankenstein, batting a team-best .382, has a sore ankle, and outfielder Ashley Goodrich (.324) has been battling a virus -- one reason Bunge gave all of her players Sunday and Monday off.

"We're also pretty tired from all the travel," she said, "and we got pretty sick of practicing with all the rainouts, so I'm hoping we'll come back strong after the two days off."

Kansas is 0-1 in the Big 12 Conference and 15-10 in all games. Nebraska is 20-11 overall and dropped its only two league games to Texas A&M, the Big 12 leader with a 3-0 record.

"Nebraska is very good offensively," Bunge said. "You have to score runs against them. They have a nice mix of speed and power, and we need to keep their hitters off base."

Bunge said she was undecided about her starting pitcher, but Kassie Humphreys tossed a pair of 3-0 shutouts at the Cornhuskers last season.

Humphreys has been inconsistent this season. The sophomore from Glendale, Ariz., has won three of five decisions, but her 2.64 earned-run average is more than a run higher than the 1.57 ERA she logged last season.

Today's game is the first of five scheduled in the next five days.

The Jayhawks have a doubleheader set for Thursday at Wichita State, then will play host to high-flying Texas A&M in afternoon games Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (noon).

Because of all the rainouts, Bunge has added an April 28 home doubleheader against North Dakota State.

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