KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The UMKC softball team (21-15) returns home to Kansas City this weekend to take on California Baptist in a three-game series at the Urban Youth Academy. The series is set to kick off Friday afternoon at 5:00 PM.
There will be live updates on Twitter, and all three games will also have live stats available here. The first and third games of the series will be streamed on the WAC Digital Network here. Make sure to follow the softball team on social media at @UMKCSB.
About the Roos
UMKC started last week’s road trip off on a strong note with a pair of wins over Southern Utah in a Wednesday afternoon double-header. The Roos offense exploded against the Thunderbirds, tallying 19 runs through the two games. UMKC’s five and six hole hitters, Bre Hunter and Maegan Rollow, led the way in the first game of the double-header. The pair combined to go 6-8 at the plate with four runs scored along with three RBI’s. The Blue and Gold used a five run second inning to help establish an early lead on the way to securing a 9-6 win.
In the second game of the double-header, the Roos fell behind early by allowing three runs in the first inning. UMKC would claw back in the game however, using a five run fifth inning to pull ahead of the Southern Utah. Faith Willis’ hitting ability was on full display throughout the contest, as the junior led the Roos with a 3-3 performance at the plate that included two homeruns and three RBI’s. The Blue and Gold would go on to win the second game of the day, 10-3.
After wrapping up the double-header in Cedar City, UMKC travelled to Orem, Utah, to resume WAC conference play against Utah Valley. In the first game of the three-game series with the Wolverines, the Roos struggled to hold onto an early 3-0 lead. Utah Valley was able to score five runs in the fourth inning followed by three runs in the fifth inning to overcome the deficit. UMKC was able to get two runs home late in the ballgame, but in the end it wasn’t enough as the Roos fell 8-5.
Returning to the field Saturday morning, the Roos once again squandered away an early lead. After going up 2-0 in the second inning, UMKC allowed the Wolverines to the score seven runs in three innings, taking the lead for good. Another late two run inning wasn’t enough for the Roos to comeback and they fell 7-4.
The final game of the series was set up to be a high-scoring contest from the first inning, when Utah Valley’s second batter of the game hit a deep homerun to left field. After going down 7-2 at the end of the second inning, the Roos were able to scratch together 2-run innings in the third, fifth, and sixth innings to bring the score to 9-8. Utah Valley’s two insurance runs in the fourth inning were the difference, however, as the Roos dropped the third and final game of the series 9-8.
UMKC continues to be one of the best teams in the country on the base paths. After another weekend of conference play, the Roos continue to boast five of the top eight base stealers in the WAC. Faith Willis is currently in 2nd individually with 16 stolen bags on the year, just one behind 1st place. As a team, the Roos’ 72 stolen bags puts them in 1st in the WAC with and 15th in the country in stolen bases per game at 2.11.
UMKC will open up this weekend’s home stand against California Baptist on Friday, April 5th, at 5:00 PM. The Roos will return to the field to take on the Lancers in an early Saturday afternoon double-header, with first pitch scheduled for 1:00 PM.
Series History vs. California Baptist
The Roos and California Baptist have never before matched up in softball prior to this season. UMKC would like to welcome the Lancers in their first season of WAC play with a three-game sweep, starting off the series history on a strong note.
Individual NCAA rankings
Sydney Garcia – 17th in hits (48)
Kailyn Packard – Tied-5th in saves (4)
Faith Willis – 54th in steals per game (.50)
Team NCAA rankings
14th in stolen bases per game (2.11)
34th in runs per game (5.83)
38th in batting average (.305)
51st in doubles per game (1.50)
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 season, 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 head to St. Louis, Mo., for a single game against the Saint Louis Billikens on Tuesday, April 9th, at 4:00 PM. UMKC will then head to Bakersfield, Calif., to resume conference play against CSU Bakersfield.
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 473-964.
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.