During four weekends on the road, Tracy Bunge witnessed a disturbing trend in her Kansas University softball team.
“We played very well against ranked opponents,” Bunge said, “but not well against teams not ranked. It’s very frustrating.”
If that trend continues, the Jayhawks (7-11) could struggle during their home-opening weekend because none of the three other teams in the KU Invitational are in college softball’s upper echelon.
Kansas will open the three-day tournament today against North Dakota State. Game time will be 3 p.m. at Arrocha Ballpark.
On Saturday, the Jayhawks will meet Northern Iowa at 10 a.m. and Eastern Illinois at noon. Finally, on Sunday, KU will meet N.D. State at noon and UNI at 4 p.m.
Two seniors have sparkled in the early going. Third baseman Val Chapple and shortstop Stevie Crisosto have compiled batting averages of .340 and .306, respectively. Chapple is the club RBI leader with nine while Crisosto boasts a team-leading 13 walks and a glossy .452 on-base percentage.
Soph outfielder Liz Kocon is hitting .293, but all of the other regulars have batting averages under .250.
“We have struggled to score runs,” Bunge said, “and right now we’re looking at some different lineups. We’re trying to find people who can help us score runs.”
In the circle, senior Val George has been dependable with a 6-5 record and a 1.83 earned run average, but the rest of the staff is 1-6 with a 3.20 ERA.
“We’ve had a lot of people trying too hard,” Bunge said, “but I think it’s only a matter of time before things turn around.”
If you plan to attend Saturday’s tourney games, be aware that the normal parking lots won’t be available because of the KU-Texas men’s basketball game in nearby Allen Fieldhouse.
A temporary parking lot accessible from 19th Street will be set up just west of the soccer field for softball fans.