Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Woodling: KU can’t let up after OU sweep


Earth is calling Kansas University's softball players, and coach Tracy Bunge hopes the Jayhawks plant their feet today.

After last weekend's exhilarating sweep of No. 5-ranked Oklahoma at Arrocha Ballpark, KU faces four games in the next three days against unranked competition.

"It was an emotional weekend," Bunge said, "so I'm worried about the level of emotion we'll have this week, but we'll do everything we can as a staff to make sure they're aware it's crunch time."

If the Jayhawks finish strong they might have a shot at an NCAA Tournament bid ... but they won't if they don't take care of business in doubleheaders today against Arkansas and Thursday against North Dakota State.

Game time for both twinbills will be 3 p.m. at Arrocha Ballpark.

Arkansas also is coming off an emotional high. The Razorbacks run-ruled Kentucky twice during the weekend in Fayetteville, Ark., but their won-lost record is 19-35, and they're just 4-19 in the Southeastern Conference.

North Dakota State is 22-23 and will be in the beginning stages of a grueling 10-game, five-day road trip that will take the Bison to Missouri, KU, Wichita State, UMKC and South Dakota.

"Hopefully, we'll be able to get everybody some at-bats," Bunge said of the upcoming games, "and we'll be able to use all of our pitchers."

In the two-game sweep of Oklahoma, freshman southpaw Christina Ross (10-6, 1.71 earned-run average) hurled 15 of the 16 innings. Junior right-hander Serena Settlemier (9-7, 2.96 ERA) pitched the other frame.

Kassie Humphreys also would receive work this week, Bunge said, "but I'm not sure when that will happen."

Humphreys, a sophomore right-hander, has struggled with command all season after a sensational rookie campaign in which she posted a 14-12 record and a 1.57 ERA. Her corresponding numbers this season are 3-6 and 4.49.

Meanwhile, the Jayhawks continue to hit. After posting an all-time school low team batting average of .205 last season, the Jayhawks are hitting .273 as a team this spring.

Shortstop Destiny Frankenstein leads the Jayhawks is batting average (.342), runs (28), walks (21) and home runs (9). Second baseman Jessica Moppin is hitting .310 with a team-high 29 RBIs, and also is second in home runs with 8 after slamming a pair against the Sooners.

Junior Ashley Frazer, a part-timer during her first two seasons, is hitting .333 and has won the left-field job.

After this week's twinbills, the Jayhawks will have only one home game remaining -- May 4 against Missouri.

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