KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The UMKC softball team (10-28, 0-6 WAC) returns to action this weekend in hosting Utah Valley for a three-game Western Athletic Conference (WAC) series. Play will begin with a doubleheader on Friday, Apr. 13 at 1 p.m. CT and will conclude with a 1 p.m. CT contest on Saturday, Apr. 14.
The Roos open up play with Utah Valley after suffering a road sweep at the hands of Seattle U last weekend. The team nearly came away with a win in the finale with a masterful pitching performance by Olivia Fluehr (Loves Park, Ill.), who allowed just one run over six innings of work, but ultimately fell by a 1-0 final score.
Fluehr has emerged as the team’s top weapon in the circle and has been tremendous through the first two WAC series’ of the season. She has made four appearances in the six contests, allowing just three runs over 13.1 innings of work while holding opponents to a .229 batting average. Fluehr’s era in conference play ranks fourth in the WAC while her opponent batting average ranks fifth.
Sophomore pitcher Andra O'Brien (Fond du Lac, Wis.) will look to rebound in the circle after a tough outing in her last appearance against Seattle U. Prior to her last showing, O’Brien had allowed just two runs (one earned) over her past six innings in the circle.
UMKC’s offense has been quiet since entering conference play, scoring just seven runs in the first six WAC contests of the season. On the season, the Roos rank fifth in the conference in team batting average (.254) and runs scored per game (3.76), numbers the team will look to improve down the stretch.
Senior infielder Kelsey Goodwin (Broken Arrow, Okla.) has been a bright spot for the struggling UMKC lineup and will be counted upon to keep up her strong offensive performance in the weekend set. In six WAC games, Goodwin is batting .353 (6 for 17) with a double, hitting safely in four of the six contests.
Defensively, the Roos have tightened up their play in the field since beginning WAC play. After committing 45 errors in non-conference play, the team has buckled down in committing just three errors in six league games, boasting a .988 fielding percentage that ranks second in the conference.
Alyx Bloom (Clay Center, Kan.) has been a standout defensive presence behind the plate for Roos throughout the season. Bloom leads the WAC with 12 runners caught stealing and has been extremely efficient in blocking balls in the dirt with just five passed balls on the season, second in the conference.
UMKC vs. Utah Valley
Location: Kansas City, Mo. (Urban Youth Academy)
Series: UMKC leads 10-7
Last Meeting: May 11, 2017 (12-8 UMKC)
Live Stats: StatBroadcast
Live In-Game Update: @umkcsb
Scouting the Wolverines
Utah Valley (10-22, 2-3 WAC) enters the series on the heels of an 11-0 road loss to BYU after taking a two-game home split with Grand Canyon last weekend. The Wolverines currently sit in fourth-place in the WAC standings, trailing the top spot by 3.5 games.
The UVU lineup is one that is relies on its depth top to bottom with four starters – Peyton Angulo, Brianna Moeller, Kristen Andersen and Basia Query – all hitting over .300 for the season with two home runs or more apiece.
Angulo leads the team with an excellent .384 batting average, fourth-highest in the WAC, to pair with three homers and 16 RBI’s. Moeller has been an equally effective piece in the Wolverines’ lineup, boasting a .366 batting average, also ranking among the top-10 in conference, with a team-best four home runs and 13 RBI’s.
Despite not having one true power threat, UVU ranks third in the WAC hitting .68 home runs per game as a team, boasting five players with two deep flies or more on the season. Plate discipline has been a major strength for the team as they lead the conference in drawing 3.32 walks per game. However, the Wolverines also sit at the bottom of the WAC in striking out 5.81 times per game, making it key that the UMKC pitching staff stay in the zone.
The UVU pitching staff is headlined by junior Addie Jensen, who owns a 6-9 record on the year with a 3.19 era, good for fifth in the WAC. Jensen, who has thrown nearly half of the team’s innings, enters the series after mixed results in her last outings. A complete-game performance in which she allowed just three runs to earn a victory over Grand Canyon was followed up with a rough showing against BYU, lasting just 1.2 innings and allowing seven runs (three earned).
Defense has been an area of struggle for the Wolverines, owning a league-worst .947 fielding percentage with 49 errors on the season.
The Roos will travel to Creighton for a doubleheader on Tuesday, Apr. 17 beginning at 2 p.m. CT before returning to home CSU Bakersfield for a three-game WAC series on Apr. 20-21.
– UMKC –