Roos Headed to Texas for the 2019 Wildcat Invite After Schedule Change
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The UMKC softball team (11-4) will continue play in the 2019 season this weekend competing in the Wildcat Invite in Abilene, Texas, on the campus of Abilene Christian University. UMKC made the move to schedule in games on what was supposed to be a week when the Roos played in Indiana but had to change plans due to snow and cold weather. The Roos are now locked in to play four games in the two-day event, beginning Friday at 1:30 p.m. CST.
Participating Teams in the Tournament
UMKC, Maine, and Abilene Christian.
About the Roos
UMKC heads to Texas coming off another winning weekend looking to build on their league-best start of 11-4. After outscoring opponents 24-7 in the first three games of last week’s Black & Gold Spring Tournament, which included wins over Presbyterian, Howard, and Grambling State, the Roos dropped their last two games at the tail end of the weekend to bring their overall Black & Gold Spring Tournament record to 3-2.
As a team, UMKC continues to stroke it at the plate as the Roos now have five players hitting above .300, and two players hitting over .400 on the year. Sydney Garcia is currently fifth in the WAC in batting average at .431 and Alex D’Ambrosio is right behind her in sixth, hitting .426 on the year. Senior Meagan Rollow also continues to hit with power, as she now is fifth in the WAC in slugging percentage (.718).
The Roos third win of the weekend and ninth win in a row (longest such streak since a 13-game streak in 2011), was powered by an electric performance on the mound by freshman Kailyn Packard. Packard threw the first no-hitter in the WAC since March of 2017, striking out 10 batters over 7 innings. Packard now leads the WAC and is 14th in the nation in ERA (0.37), leads the WAC in batting average against (.187), and also leads the WAC in strikeouts (39). Kailyn’s dominant showing helped lead to the freshman to be named the WAC Pitcher of the Week.
The Roos pitching staff, filled with new faces, has only allowed 25 earned runs on the year, which continues to place UMKC at the top of the WAC in total earned runs allowed. The next closest team has allowed 30 earned runs.
UMKC will open play in Texas against Maine Friday afternoon at 1:30 PM CT before taking on the host school Abilene Christian at 6:30 PM. On Saturday, March 2nd, the Roos once again start the day by taking on Maine, at 12:00 PM, followed by a second match up with Abilene Christian at 2:30 PM to round out the Wildcat Invite.
Individual NCAA rankings
Sydney Garcia – 14th in hits (22)
DJ Cannon – 18nd in wins (6), 13th in strikeout-to-walk ratio (9.67)
Kailyn Packard – 14th in ERA (.37)
Team NCAA rankings
12th in stolen bases per game (2.8)
31tst in team ERA (1.79)
25th in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.15)
45th in win-loss percentage (.733)
Head Coach Meredith Smith Neal
The 2019 campaign is the 13th season at UMKC for head coach Meredith Smith Neal. Currently sitting at a school-record 249 career victories, Meredith is just one win from hitting the prestigious 250-win mark in her career.
The Roos will head down K-10 to Lawrence, Kan., for the Kansas Invitational hosted by the University of Kansas, Mar. 8-10. Opponents will include Maine, Southeast Missouri State, and Kansas.
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 465-957.
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.