MORAGA, Calif. – The UMKC softball team (7-23) will continue its trip on the west coast at Saint Mary’s (12-18) on Tuesday. The doubleheader action between the Roos and the Gaels is set to begin at 4 p.m. CT with the second game slated for 6 p.m. CT at Cottrell Field.
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 .430 with seven doubles and three triples through 30 games. Leach has also drawn 12 walks, the most of any Roo.
In the Western Athletic Conference, Leach ranks in the top-three in several categories, including batting average, on-base percentage (.505) and slugging percentage (.671). She also has a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage and leads the category along with teammates Abbi Johnson (Midwest City, Okla.) and Abby Warkentine (Auburn, Kan.).
Shortstop Morgan Byrn (Lawrence, Kan.) has taken 40 total bases in the first 30 games of the season, going 25-for-75 at the plate (.333) while smashing a team-leading four home runs and accumulating a team-high 15 runs. Her four home runs are the third-most in the conference this season.
Ashlin O’Brien (Fond du Lac, Wis.), Bri Sims (Rowlett, Texas) and Leach have each hit a pair of home runs while 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. Her eight attempts is the third-most in the WAC this season. She also leads all newcomers at the plate, batting .291 with five doubles and six RBIs.
As a team, UMKC currently ranks third in the WAC in steal attempts (30), doubles (32) and triples (4). The pitching staff has combined for 49 strikeouts, the fourth-most in the league this season.
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 WAC 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.
Freshman Alex Larson (Overland Park, Kan.) was named WAC Pitcher of the Week on Feb 20 for her notable performances against Rider at the Battle at the Beach on Feb. 18 and Feb. 19. Between the two games, Larson pitched 8.2 innings, giving up just five hits while throwing three strikeouts. The right-hander also posted a 0.00 ERA in both appearances.
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 Opponent
Saint Mary’s has won one of its last five games, and three of its last 10, coming into Tuesday’s game. Its most recent win came against Princeton on March 22 at home, when the Gaels took the first game of a doubleheader, 3-2.
The Roos have never won a game against Saint Mary’s, going 0-6 all-time. The two programs met twice last season at the 2016 Paradise Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii, during UMKC’s opening weekend.
UMKC will conclude its trip to Calif., and open the conference schedule, with three games at CSU Bakersfield this weekend.
– UMKC –