BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – The UMKC softball team (7-25) will conclude its trip to the west coast, and open Western Athletic Conference competition, at CSU Bakersfield (5-20) this weekend.
The Roos and the Roadrunners will start the series with a single game on Friday at 4 p.m. CT before playing two games on Saturday.
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 .412 with seven doubles and three triples through 32 games. Leach has also drawn 13 walks, the most of any Roo.
In the WAC, Leach ranks in the top-three in several categories, including batting average, on-base percentage (.490) and slugging percentage (.635). 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 32 games of the season, going 25-for-81 at the plate (.309) 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 .275 with five doubles and six RBIs.
As a team, UMKC currently ranks third in the WAC in steal attempts (34), doubles (33) and triples (4). The pitching staff has combined for 50 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
UMKC leads the all-time series over CSU Bakersfield, 7-4. The Roos swept the Roadrunners last season at Missouri 3&2 Complex, before falling in the first game of the WAC Tournament last May.
Byrn played a large role in UMKC’s three-game series sweep, going 5-for-10 from the plate with three runs, one double and four RBIs.
The Roadrunners have won one of their last five contests coming into this weekend. CSU Bakersfield split a doubleheader at No. 25 Cal Poly on March 25 to give the Roadrunners their first victory over a ranked opponent in four years.
UMKC returns home and will open a five-game home stand with a three-game series against Grand Canyon next weekend.
– UMKC –