Friday, April 21, 2006

Settlemier, KU slam Creighton


Serena Settlemier smashed a grand slam.

This is not a recording. It sure seems like it, though.

Settlemier, Kansas University's slugging senior, mashed her second grand slam in two days Thursday as KU run-ruled Creighton, 8-0 and 10-0, in a softball doubleheader at Arrocha Ballpark.

"She's been amazing," KU coach Tracy Bunge said. "I don't know what else to say."

Settlemier, who smacked a salami in Wednesday's 5-1 victory over Missouri, unloaded on Creighton right-hander Cassidy Nee's first pitch in the third inning of the nightcap with the bases juiced.

"I wanted to take a couple of pitches," Settlemier said, "because I've been swinging at a lot of garbage lately, but that pitch was so good."

If Settlemier has been swinging at a lot of garbage, she has trashed most of it. She also homered and doubled in the first game. On the afternoon, she went 4-for-7 with eight RBIs.

Settlemier leads the Big 12 Conference with 20 home runs and 57 RBIs. Both numbers are KU single-season records.

Perhaps Settlemier's most eye-opening stat, however, is her line with the bases-loaded. Settlemier has come to bat eight times with the sacks jammed this season, and she has homered six of those times. Another time, she singled. Only once has she made an out.

"I knew she had been good with the bases loaded," Bunge said, "but I didn't know it was that good. She's really zeroed in. She's been amazing."

Kassie Humphreys, the other half of KU's potent pitching package, is glad she doesn't have to pitch to Settlemier, particularly with the bases loaded.

"She gets so hyped," Humphreys said. "It's something about the bases being loaded. I'd walk her, rather than give up four runs. That's what I'll do if I ever face her in an alumni game."

Humphreys, incidentally, put together her best offensive showing Thursday when she went 3-for-4 with five RBIs. But, of course, she was overshadowed by Settlemier's jaw-dropping day.

"We just bow to her in the dugout every time she comes back in," Humphreys said. "She's such a good teammate. She's supportive of everyone."

Settlemier and Humphreys, who added their 14th and 12th pitching wins respectively, weren't the whole show. Freshman third baseman Val Chapple also homered, and senior second baseman Jessica Moppin collected four hits.

"The nice thing," Bunge said, "is the rest of the team is hitting, too."

It's highly unlikely the Jayhawks will be run-ruling their next opponent. Texas, the No. 2-ranked team in the country, will come to Arrocha for games Saturday (12:30 p.m.) and Sunday (noon).

"I feel good about the way we're playing," Bunge said, "but we know how good Texas is."

Twenty minutes prior to Saturday's game, Camille Spitaleri and Sheila Connolly will be on hand to become the first former KU softball players ever to have their jerseys retired.


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