Memories of last year's meltdown may help Kansas University's softball team this weekend.
The Jayhawks will open the Big 12 Conference season today and Sunday against Texas A&M;, the team that crushed them by scores of 13-1 and 7-1 last spring in Lawrence.
A&M; went on to win the conference regular-season title, and the Aggies haven't shown any signs of slippage. They own a 21-9 record and are ranked No. 15 nationally.
Kansas, 15-14, relies on solid pitching and the 1-2 offensive punch of seniors Serena Settlemier and Destiny Frankenstein. Settlemier is hitting .306 with a league-high 12 home runs, 28 runs batted in and a .788 slugging percentage while Frankenstein has nine homers, 20 RBI and a .750 slugging percentage.
KU, in fact, leads the league in home runs with 30 and is on pace to break the school record of 54 round-trippers established last season.
Settlemier also has sparkled on the mound with a 9-3 record and 1.59 earned-run average. The right-hander from Kelso, Wash., is expected to start in today's 2 p.m. contest. Kassie Humphreys (6-9, 1.74 ERA) is the likely starter in Sunday's noon finale.
The Jayhawks, who have played only six home games, are scheduled for a doubleheader Tuesday at UMKC before returning to Arrocha Ballpark for a Thursday twinbill against Creighton.
¢ Notes: Coach Tracy Bunge is starting three freshmen - third baseman Val Chapple, catcher Erika Simington and first baseman-outfielder Stevie Crisosto. : Settlemier and Frankenstein rank 1-2 on KU's career homer chart with 34 and 30. : A&M; began conference play Wednesday with a 4-3 victory over No. 19-ranked Baylor. : KU has dropped eight straight to the Aggies. : A&M; pitcher Amanda Scarborough is the reigning Big 12 player of the year.