(Kansas City, Mo.) – Saturday (1 p.m. and 3 p.m.) and Sunday (12 p.m.), the Kansas City Kangaroos (11-14, 0-0 SL) will return to Kansas City for the first time this season as they will open up league action against the best team in The Summit League, the Omaha Mavericks (25-4, 3-0 SL).
» Omaha Mavericks (25-4, 3-0 Summit League)
Heading into the weekend, the Mavs are 3-2 in their last five games, coming off a three-game sweep at home over the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. Omaha’s losses, meanwhile, came on the road at the hands of No. 19 Nebraska, 3-2 and 4-0.
As a team, Omaha is batting .305 on the season, with six players hitting over .300. Leading the way, outfielder/infielder Allie Mathewson holds a .390 batting average, which is good for fifth in the league. Also, Mathewson sits third in the league in RBI (28) and second in home runs (9), while leading Omaha in at-bats (100), runs (29), hits (39), triples (5) and slugging (.830). Meanwhile, catcher/infielder Amber Lutmer sits atop of The Summit League in RBI (37) and home runs (10) with a .316 batting average.
In the circle, junior Dana Elsasser (15-4) leads the league in wins, sits third in ERA (1.54), third in strikeouts (88) and first in saves (2), while senior Ashton Hughes (6-0) holds a league-best 1.43 ERA in seven appearances (five starts). Rounding out Omaha’s pitching staff is sophomore Kat Barrow, who holds a 4-0 record with an ERA of 1.66.
» The Head Coach: In her 14th season at the helm, Jenne Scarpello is the program’s all-time winningest head coach with a 588-185-1 record. Before moving to the Division I level, the Mavs reached 12 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (2000-11), including a national championship victory in 2001.
» The Series: The Kangaroos are 0-1 all-time against the Mavs. The last meeting between the two squads came in 1992 as Omaha came away with a 5-0 victory.
Last Time Out…
The Kangaroos suffered two losses on the road in back-to-back days last week.
Against Arkansas, Kansas City saw its four-game winning streak snapped with a 9-1 loss in five innings, as the Razorbacks were in control from the start. The lone bright spot for the Kangaroos featured Caitlin Christopher (2) extending her home run streak to two games when she belted one deep to left field in the fifth inning.
The following day, Saint Louis was able to sneak past Kansas City with a 3-1 victory, despite the Kangaroos outhitting the Billikens, 4-3.
After spending its first 25 games on the road, UMKC returns home to Missouri 3&2 Field for the first time this season. Originally, the Kangaroos were set to open up Summit League play and their home schedule against North Dakota State on March 22, but were postponed due to inclement weather.
Throughout the season, including its series with North Dakota State, 13 games have been cancelled for Kansas City because of bad weather.
A Season of Highs and Lows
Sitting with an 11-14 overall record, UMKC has seen its share of highs and lows so far through 2013.
To begin the season, the Kangaroos went 3-1 in the Upstate Classic as the squad held a .311 batting average with 33 hits, 16 RBI and 24 runs, while the pitching staff maintained a 2.88 ERA with 26 strikeouts, eight earned runs and six walks.
Despite the solid start, Kansas City dropped its next six games, including all five games in the Troy Cox Classic. During this skid, UMKC was outscored 66-26 in 32 innings.
Then, the Kangaroos caught fire by ripping off four straight wins with victories over Indiana State, Belmont, Nicholls State and Detroit in the Blues City Classic. Throughout this streak, Kansas City batted .396 with 44 hits, 31 runs, 27 RBI, nine walks and 10 stolen bases, whereas the bullpen posted a 2.77 ERA with 23 hits, eight earned runs, eight walks and 22 strikeouts.
Although, UMKC hit another slide by dropping all five games in Texas Tech’s Jeannie McHaney Memorial Classic, as the Kangaroos were outscored 58-21 during this stretch.
But, the Blue & Gold bounced back by winning their next four games with doubleheader sweeps over Wichita State and most recently, Missouri State. Offensively, the Kangaroos are batting .299 and have outscored their opponents during this streak, 20-5, while the pitching staff holds a 1.29 ERA, struck out 39 batters and allowed four earned runs.
Currently, the ‘Roos are on a two-game skid, along with being outscored, 12-2.
No. 7 Mizzou, Iowa State Added to Schedule
In attempt to make up some of the 13 cancelled games this season, the Kangaroos announced Wednesday the addition four games to their schedule.
On April 10 in a doubleheader (3 p.m. and 5 p.m.), the Blue & Gold will welcome the No. 7 Mizzou Tigers to Kansas City, while the Kangaroos will travel to Ames, Iowa to take on the Iowa State Cyclones on April 17 in a doubleheader (2 p.m. and 4 p.m.) as well.
Amongst the League Leaders
Heading into its series with the Mavs, UMKC currently has three players in the top five in multiple statistical categories across The Summit League.
Pitching wise, senior Deanna Friese (7-7) sits second in strikeouts (104), second in strikeouts per game (8.77), fourth in wins (7), second in saves (1) and fifth in innings pitched (83.0).
Where They Stand in the RPI
Monday, the NCAA released its second RPI rankings of the season as the Kangaroos held down the 173rd 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
After the last two games, two players moved up in the UMKC record books.
Through 25 Games in 2012...
The Kangaroos were 2-4 in Summit League play and 12-13 overall, coming off a 5-4 win in 14 innings at home over Fort Wayne.
Next Up for the Kangaroos...
Will be a doubleheader (3 p.m. and 5 p.m.) at home against No. 7 Mizzou next Wednesday.