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Archive for Wednesday, March 8, 2006

KU softball eager for home opener

March 8, 2006

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Rain, rain stay away. Kansas University's softball team wants to open at home today.

Showers are in the forecast, however, with the Jayhawks scheduled for a 2 p.m. twinbill against Missouri State at Arrocha Ballpark.

"The field can take a lot of water," KU coach Tracy Bunge said, "so we'll just have to wait and see."

After spending the last four weekends on the road, the Jayhawks are eager to play without boarding a bus or an airplane.

"It's mostly hard on the body," senior second baseman Jessica Moppin said of the road grind. "The plane rides, layovers in airports and jet lag all get to you."

Kansas will go into its first home games with an unimpressive 9-10 record, yet half the losses have been by one run, and two others have been by two runs.

"Our record is very deceptive," Moppin said. "Any team playing us : I wouldn't look at our record."

Moppin and two other seniors - shortstop Destiny Frankenstein and pitcher-

designated player Serena Settlemier - are hitting over .300 and have more than half of the Jayhawks' RBIs.

"They're right in the middle of our lineup," Bunge said, "and they're doing great things. Nobody wants to throw the ball to our 3-4-5 hitters."

Moppin, who bats third, is hitting .316 with a .509 slugging percentage. Settlemier, who bats fifth, is batting .309 with nine home runs and an .891 slugging percentage.

Then there's clean-up hitter Frankenstein, whose numbers are almost off the chart. She's hitting .420 and has an astronomical 1.020 slugging percentage with nine homers and three doubles among her 21 hits.

Frankenstein has also drawn a team-high 15 walks, and her on-base percentage is a lofty .545.

"I was talking to Destiny the other day," Bunge said, "and she remarked that it seemed like she was either hitting a home run or walking. I told her I didn't have a problem with that."

Frankenstein's slugging percentage leads the Big 12 Conference, while she and Settlemier sit on top of the league home run list.

Bunge has elevated freshman Val Chapple to the leadoff spot and dropped Heather Stanley, last year's leadoff hitter, to the No. 2 slot.

"She's found a comfort zone," Bunge said of Chapple, an Olathe East product and reigning national high school player of the year. "She's doing a great job of getting on base."

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