Roos Head to Utah for a Five Game Road Trip
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The UMKC softball team (18-12) is hitting the road this week, taking on Southern Utah in Cedar City on Wednesday, March 27th. The Roos are then scheduled to take on conference foe Utah Valley in Orem in a three-game weekend series.
About the Roos
UMKC opened up conference play this past weekend with a three-game series against the Seattle University Redhawks. In the first game of the Friday afternoon double-header, the Roos fell to the Redhawks 6-3. Seattle took a commanding lead early and UMKC was not able to fully close the gap. Chyanne Onstad had two hits and an RBI in the contest.
In the second game of Friday afternoon’s double-header, the Blue and Gold got off to the hot start they needed thanks to a leadoff homerun to deep right center from junior Sydney Garcia. Garcia ended up going 4-4 with 2 RBI’s in the game, falling just a triple shy from hitting for the cycle. In a back-and-forth game however, the Redhawks were able to come back and score three runs in the top of the seventh inning to take a two run lead that they would not surrender.
Trying to avoid a three-game sweep against Seattle, UMKC hit the field once again on Saturday morning. After the Redhawks opened up the game with two runs in the first, the Roos struck back in a major way in the third inning. Starting with a Chyanne Onstad 2-out single, eight straight Roos reached base against Seattle. The Blue and Gold would come away with six runs in the third, and then UMKC’s pitching staff charge to lead the Roos. Freshman Kailyn Packard stepped in the circle in relief of Mia Hoveland in the fifth inning and only allowed one unearned run, helping the Roos close out a 7-5 victory with her fourth save of the 2019 campaign.
UMKC continues to be one of the best teams in the country on the base paths. After the first weekend of conference play, the Roos currently boast five of the top eight base stealers in the WAC. Faith Willis is currently in 2nd individually with 14 stolen bags on the year. As a team, the Roos’ stolen bags puts them in 1st in the WAC and 11th in the country in stolen bases per game.
The Roos pitching staff of Hoveland, Cannon, and freshman Kailyn Packard has also experienced continued success to start the season, now having allowed 78 earned runs on the year, which is good for second place in the WAC behind only Seattle. Only eight of the thirteen runs allowed by UMKC this past weekend were earned.
UMKC will open this week’s trip to Utah with a double-header against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds on Wednesday, March 27th, starting at 2:00 PM. The Roos will then head to Orem, Utah, to take on WAC for Utah Valley in a three-weekend series set to kick off Friday, March 29th, at 3:00 PM. UMKC will wrap up the road trip with a double-header against the Wolverines in Orem, with first pitch of the first game slotted for 2:00 PM.
Series History vs. Utah Valley University
The Roos are 9-9 all-time when taking on Utah Valley, but have won just three of the last ten matchups. UMKC will look to get back on a winning track when they square up with the struggling 7-17 Wolverines this weekend.
Individual NCAA rankings
Sydney Garcia – 27th in hits (41)
Kailyn Packard – Tied-3rd in saves (4), 52nd in hits allowed per seven innings (4.77)
Faith Willis – 43rd in steals (14)
Team NCAA rankings
11th in stolen bases per game (2.33)
27th in doubles per game (1.70)
46th in runs per game (5.53)
52nd in batting average (.300)
Head Coach Meredith Smith Neal
The 2019 campaign is the 13th season at UMKC for head coach Meredith Smith Neal. At the Wildcat Invite this three weekends ago, Meredith hit the prestigious 250 win mark in her head coaching career, with all victories coming while heading the softball program at UMKC.
The Roos will host the Omaha Mavericks in Kansas City, Mo., on April 2nd, before taking on California Baptist in a three-game conference series at the Urban Youth Academy set, April 5th-6th.
The Roos are proud members of NCAA Division I and the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). In 32 years of intercollegiate varsity softball, which began in 1988, UMKC is 470-961.
Looking back at last year
Looking to bounce back from a 15-41 (2-13) record a season ago, UMKC is only returning four starting position players from last year’s squad and must replace the team’s entire pitching staff. Bringing back two of their outfield starters from last season, the Roos expect big returning seasons from junior Sydney Garcia (.322/.385/.425) and senior Maegan Rollow (.251/.292/.357) to help balance the influx of 11 newcomers, including seven freshmen, to this year’s team.