KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The UMKC softball team (25-24, 5-10) will wrap up regular season play this week first with a non-conference trip to the University of Missouri (29-21) Wednesday at 6 p.m. from Columbia, Mo. Then, the Roos host WAC opponent Grand Canyon (28-21, 10-5 WAC) in Kansas City this weekend. The three game series is set to kick off Friday afternoon at the Urban Youth Academy.
About the Roos
Looking to end their current six-game losing streak, which includes a three-game sweep to New Mexico State this past weekend, UMKC has the opportunity to finish out the season strong at home with a three-game series against Grand Canyon this weekend. In the first game of the weekend against New Mexico State, the Roos struggled to get anything going at the plate. UMKC was held to just one hit, a single by Chyanne Onstad in the sixth inning, in a 7-0 loss to the Aggies.
After starting the second game of the weekend facing a 7-0 deficit after the first inning, the Roos offense began to find life. Led by Bre Hunter, who went 3-4 with 5 RBI’s in the contest, UMKC was able to scratch across 10 runs against the Aggies. The Roos were able to fight back and take an 8-7 lead in the fifth inning, but New Mexico State was able to answer and hold off the Roos 12-10.
Heading into the third and final game of the series, UMKC was looking to salvage one win in the series with the Aggies. New Mexico State got off to another fast start, taking a 6-0 lead in the second inning. While the Roos were able to score six runs in the game, they were never able to tie or take back the lead from the Aggies. Bre Hunter continued to rake at the plate however, going 2-4 and collecting another 4 RBI’s.
UMKC continues to be the class of the WAC on the base paths this year, as the team has now stolen a combined 83 bases on the year. The next closest team in the conference has 48 steals. Faith Willis is currently tied for first individually in the WAC with 20 stolen bags on the year. At the plate, the Blue and Gold have remained consistent throughout the 2018-2019 campaign. At the moment, UMKC is first in the WAC in doubles (77), triples (12), and walks (143), and is second in the WAC in runs scored (254), hits (393), RBI’s (224), and batting average (2.92) stolen bases (60).
After a strong start to the season, the Roos pitching staff of Hoveland, Cannon, and freshman Kailyn Packard has struggled since beginning conference play as they have allowed 61 earned runs, the second most in the WAC. UMKC’s ERA of 4.31 also places them at sixth in the conference.
The Blue and Gold are set to take on the Missouri Tigers on Wednesday afternoon, May 1st at 6 PM before returning back home this weekend. UMKC will open play against Grand Canyon at the Urban Youth Academy in Kansas City, Mo., Friday afternoon at 5:00 PM CT. On Saturday, May 4th, the Roos and the Aggies are set to square up in a double-header to finish the regular season starting at 1:00 PM before wrapping up the series in the third game at approximately 3:00 PM.
Series History vs. Missouri
Missouri holds a commanding 50-1 advantage in the overall series with UMKC. In the last meeting on March 23, 2014, the Tigers won 14-0 in five innings.
Series History vs. Grand Canyon
The Roos are 4-12 all-time when taking on Seattle University, including five straight loses to the Antelopes. UMKC will look to get back on a winning track when they square up with the 28-21 Grand Canyon squad this weekend.
Individual NCAA rankings
Sydney Garcia – 56th in hits (60)
DJ Cannon – 19th in strikeout-to-walk ratio (7.50)
Kailyn Packard – 17th in saves (4)
Faith Willis – 66th in steal % (.44)
Team NCAA rankings
27th in stolen bases per game (1.76)
26th in doubles per game (1.57)
Head Coach Meredith Smith Neal
The 2019 campaign is the 13th season at UMKC for head coach Meredith Smith Neal. At the Wildcat Invite earlier 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 Phoenix, Arizona, for the 2019 WAC Softball Championship set to begin on May 8th. The Roos opponent is TBD.
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 477-973.
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.