(Kansas City, Mo.) – Making their third consecutive post-season appearance, the Kansas City Kangaroos (17-25, 6-7 SL) will look to end their tenure in The Summit League on a high note this week in the league championships before heading to the Western Athletic Conference next season.
Slotted as the fourth seed, the Kangaroos will face the back-to-back regular season champions and this season’s tourney host, North Dakota State (30-14, 17-1 SL), Wednesday at 1 p.m. in the opening round of the double elimination tournament. Meanwhile, No. 2 Fort Wayne (31-13, 12-4 SL) will take on No. 3 South Dakota (29-18, 12-7 SL) in the following game at 4 p.m.
» No. 1 North Dakota State Bison 30-14, (17-1 Summit League)
The Bison head into the 2013 Summit League Championships having won 17 out of their 18 games, including ripping off 15 straight league victories before falling 5-1 at home to South Dakota last week.
Leading the charge offensively for NDSU is catcher Jenina Ortega batting .348 with 39 hits, seven home runs and 26 RBI, along with a .625 slugging percentage. In addition, infielder Amanda Grable (.267) leads the Bison in RBI (29) and home runs (9), while catcher Alyssa Reina (.269) has totaled 32 hits, six home runs and 25 RBI. Rounding out the NDSU’s offensive attack is infielder Cheyenne Garcia (.250) as she’s recorded a team-high 31 runs and 12 stolen bases, while tallying 34 hits, five home runs and 23 RBI.
In the circle, senior Whitney Johnson (21-7) holds the league’s second lowest ERA (1.52) and sits second in strikeouts (230), while she’s atop of the list in wins with Fort Wayne’s Miranda Kramer (21-7). As for sophomore Krista Menke (8-7), her ERA stands at 3.79, to go along with 65 strikeouts.
» The Head Coach: In his 12th season at the helm, Darren Mueller has led the Bison to four-straight league tournament titles, along with winning back-to-back regular crowns. Throughout his tenure, Mueller has also won two Summit League Coach of the Year awards (2008, 2012).
» The Series: The Kangaroos are 5-19 all-time against the Bison. Earlier in the season, the regular season series between the two squads was cancelled due to inclement in Kansas City, Mo. area. Last season, however, NDSU took three out of four games against Kansas City, including handing the Kangaroos a 5-0 loss in the opening round of last season’s league tournament.
» No. 2 Fort Wayne Mastodons 31-13, (12-4 Summit League)
Holding down the second seed in the league tournament for the second straight season, Fort Wayne heads into Thursday’s opening round winning five out of their last six games.
Holding the league’s best batting average at .293, Fort Wayne has four players hitting over .300, led by infielder Ashleigh Bousquet’s (.406). Throughout the season, Bousquet has tallied 54 hits, 33 runs, 14 doubles, two triples, seven home runs and 37 RBI, along with a .699 slugging percentage. As for her twin sister Alex (.323), she has also scored 33 runs on the season, while totaling 43 hits, 11 doubles, one triple, four home runs, 20 RBI and 13 stolen bases.
Additionally, Fort Wayne’s offensive attack includes outfielder Larissa Franklin (.369), who leads the squad in at-bats (157), hits (58) and stolen bases (26), whereas catcher/infielder Dani Pugh (.314) has notched 43 hits, four home runs and 20 RBI.
Pitching wise, sophomore Miranda Kramer (21-7) leads the league in strikeouts (240), while holding a 1.67 ERA in 163.1 innings of work. As for junior Megan Flenniken (9-6), she maintains a 2.60 ERA to go along with 115 strikeouts in 121 innings of work.
» The Head Coach: Amy Tudor is in her third season as the head coach at Fort Wayne. During her tenure, the ‘Dons have increase their win total each season, along with making the league tournament the last three seasons.
» The Series: The Kangaroos are 8-10 all-time against Fort Wayne. Earlier in the season, the two squads were scheduled to meet in Fort Wayne, Ind. for their series, but it was washed by rain. Last season, Kansas City dropped three out of four to the ‘Dons, including ending UMKC’s season in the league championships with a 9-0 loss in six innings.
» No. 3 South Dakota Coyotes 29-18 (12-7 Summit League)
The Coyotes enter their first ever Summit League Tournament dropping two out of their last five games, with both losses coming at the hands of North Dakota State on the road last week.
At the plate, infielder/outfielder Yvon Minogue leads the Coyotes in batting (.372), hits (51) on-base percentage (.434) and sits second in RBI (39) behind the league’s RBI leader, catcher/infielder Allie Daly’s (52). Also in the case of Daly (.311), she sits atop of the league in home runs (13), to go along with a .675 slugging percentage. Rounding out South Dakota’s offensive attack is infielder Lindsey Boyd (.294), who has scored a team-high 48 runs, tallied 45 hits and stolen a league-high 33 bases.
In the circle, senior Erica Denney (17-7) holds the league’s fifth best ERA (2.14) while accumulating 113 strikeouts and surrendering 68 walks, whereas freshman Madison Frain’s (7-9) ERA stands at 4.23 with 92 strikeouts and 70 walks allowed.
» The Head Coach: In her fifth season at the helm, Amy Klyse holds a 122-121-1 overall record throughout her tenure at South Dakota.
» The Series: The Kangaroos are 7-5 all-time against South Dakota. During the regular season, the Kangaroos were swept on the road as UMKC was outscored, 16-3.
Last Time Out…
The Kangaroos ended their regular season this past Sunday with a split at home against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits.
In game one, the Kangaroos scored four runs in the first, but SDSU stormed back and handed UMKC its eighth straight loss with an 11-7 defeat. At the plate, the Kangaroos tallied 11 hits, led by outfielder Bri Wyatt going 4-for-4 with two runs scored and catcher Alexandra Friloux turning a 3-for-4 performance with three RBI. In addition, outfielder Emily Ott managed to go 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored.
Meanwhile, Kansas City bounced back in game two by winning 5-4, as infielder Marlee Petersen capitalized on an SDSU error to score the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh. At game’s end, the Kangaroos managed just four hits compared to SDSU’s nine. Leading the way for the Kangaroos at the plate once again was Wyatt going 3-for-3 with a run scored.
Wyatt Notches Summit League Player of the Week Honors
After recording a perfect performance at the plate in three-of-four games this past week, outfielder Bri Wyatt recorded her first Summit League Player of the Week award Monday afternoon.
To garner this accomplishment, the sophomore out of Glen Ellyn, Ill. began the week going 3-for-3 with a triple, two RBI, a run scored and stolen base in Kansas City’s 7-4 loss to Iowa State in the backend of last Monday’s doubleheader on the road.
Later in the week against SDSU, Wyatt went 4-for-4 with two runs in game one, followed by a 3-for-3 performance with a stolen base and a run scored in game two.
As a whole, she hit .833 (10-for-12) overall with a .846 on-base percentage and a 1.000 slugging percentage throughout the week.
Friloux Coming on of Late
In her last seven games, freshman Alexandra Friloux has gone 10-for-23 (.435) with four RBI and a double, while maintaining a .435 on-base percentage and .478 slugging percentage.
Friloux’s best games during this stretch came in South Dakota’s 8-7 victory in 11 innings over the ‘Roos when she sent 4-for-6 with an RBI and a double. The following week, Friloux went 3-for-4 with three RBI against SDSU as UMKC fell 11-7.
For the season, the Ama, La. native, is batting .274 with 26 hits, four doubles and 11 RBI.
Third Time’s a Charm?
With the Kangaroos making their third consecutive appearance in The Summit League Championships, they will look to come out on top after falling short the last two seasons.
In 2011, Kansas City entered the post-season as The Summit League’s regular season champions with an 18-5 record in league action. After falling to Southern Utah in the opening round, the Kangaroos bounced back to beat Fort Wayne and Southern Utah to advance to the championship round against North Dakota State. Unfortunately, the Kangaroos fell 5-0 to the Bison to finish as the runner-up.
The following season as the fourth seed and tournament host, Kansas City dropped its opening round matchup to NDSU, but later bounced back to take down Southern Utah in an elimination game. However, UMKC saw its season come to an end by way of a 9-0 loss to Fort Wayne.
Amongst the League Leaders
UMKC currently has six players in the top 10 in multiple statistical categories across The Summit League.
Offensively, freshman Liz Broyles sits seventh in batting average (.362), seventh in on-base percentage (.446) and sixth in triples (2), while senior Emily Ott is 10th in batting average (.333) and sixth in doubles (10). Meanwhile, sophomore Marlee Maples is 10th in RBI (29), whereas freshman Brooke Parker sits sixth (16) and sophomore Bri Wyatt (12) is eighth in the stolen base department.
Pitching wise, senior Deanna Friese is third in strikeouts (172), third in strikeouts per game (8.36), fifth in wins (12), second in saves (2) and sixth in innings pitched (144.0).
Where They Stand in the RPI
Monday, the NCAA released its final RPI rankings of the season as the Kangaroos held down the 192nd spot. After finishing the 2011 with their highest ranking in team history at 117th, the Kangaroos finished last season ranked 150th.
Moving Up the Career List
With the regular season completed, five Kangaroos moved up in UMKC’s all-time record books.
Career wise, Chelsea Hartwig is now fifth in RBI (70) and ninth in walks (41), while senior Emily Ott is now eighth in runs scored (75). In the circle, sophomore Cinda Ramos (4-13) is now eighth in starts (40) and ninth in appearances (56).
Through 42 Games in 2012...
The Kangaroos were 6-10 in Summit League play and 18-24 overall, coming off a 7-5 loss at NDSU.