RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The UMKC softball team (7-19) will begin its nine-game road trip to the west coast at the UC Riverside Classic in Riverside, Calif., on March 24-26.
Over the course of the three days, the Roos are scheduled to play two games against Pacific (14-16) and two against tournament host UC Riverside (14-9).
Live stats for UMKC’s games are available at UMKCStats.com.
About the Roos
Redshirt junior Kendra Leach (Easton, Kan.) is batting a team-high .406 with six doubles and three triples through 26 games. Leach has also drawn 11 walks, the most of any Roo.
Shortstop Morgan Byrn (Lawrence, Kan.) has taken 38 total bases in the first 26 games of the season, going 23-for-65 at the plate (.354) while smashing a team-leading four home runs and accumulating a team-high 14 runs.
Infielders Ashlin O’Brien (Fond du Lac, Wis.) and Bri Sims (Rowlett, Texas) have each hit a pair of home runs while Leach, Kelsey Goodwin (Broken Arrow, Okla.), Faith Willis (Kearney, Mo.) and Abbi Johnson (Midwest City, Okla.) have each hit one out of the park this season.
Freshman Sydney Garcia (Kansas City, Mo.) has been caught stealing just once out of her eight stolen base attempts this season. She also leads all newcomers at the plate, batting .289 with five doubles and six RBIs.
UMKC played its first nationally-ranked opponent of the season on March 7 in a doubleheader with No. 24 Arkansas. Both games were decided in five innings, as the Roos fell 10-0 and 13-1. Prior to these games, the last time UMKC faced a ranked opponent was last season when the Roos played two games against No. 13 Oklahoma after a single game with No. 17 Minnesota.
Byrn received Western Athletic Conference Hitter of the Week laurels on Feb. 27 after bombing three home runs in two games at the UTA Invitational. She went 7-for-14 from the plate over the course of five games and accounted for five of the team’s 11 RBIs.
The Roos went 2-3 at the Battle at the Beach in Conway, S.C., as freshman Alex Larson (Overland Park, Kan.) captured her first career wins, both against Rider. The freshman right-hander pitched all five innings of UMKC’s 8-0 victory on Feb. 18, allowing just three hits and one walk. In Sunday’s 5-3 win over the Broncs, Larson came in for relief to pitch the final 3.2 innings and gave up just two hits while throwing two strikeouts. As a result, Larson was named WAC Pitcher of the Week on Feb. 20.
Leach and Sims were each named to the 2017 Preseason All-WAC team in a poll by the league’s coaches.
Sims, a 2016 All-WAC first team selection, returns to the field for UMKC this season with second-team members Goodwin and Byrn. The Roos finished 24-26 overall and 10-5 in the WAC in 2016.
Scouting the Opponents
For the first time in program history, UMKC and Pacific will face each other to open the UC Riverside Classic. The Tigers snapped a five-game losing streak on Tuesday with a doubleheader sweep of Princeton. Pacific has played three ranked teams in March, falling to No. 4 Oregon, No. 23 California, and twice to No. 8 Minnesota. All four games were decided in five innings.
It will also be the first time in program history that UMKC and UC Riverside will go head-to-head. The Highlanders have won their last five games and hold a 13-3 record at Amy S. Harrison Field this season. UC Riverside’s last loss at home came against Loyola Marymount on March 4, when the Highlanders fell to the Lions, 3-2.
UMKC will travel to Moraga, Calif., for a doubleheader against Saint Mary’s on March 28 before opening conference play at CSU Bakersfield next weekend.
– UMKC –