LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The UMKC softball team (13-27, 4-2 WAC) will continue Western Athletic Conference competition at league-leading New Mexico State (17-17, 5-1 WAC) this weekend.
The first game of the three-game set is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT on Friday. The series will conclude with a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 5 p.m. CT.
Live stats for UMKC’s games are available at UMKCStats.com.
About the Roos
Redshirt junior Kendra Leach (Easton, Kan.) is batting a team-high .405 with eight doubles and four triples through 40 games. Leach also leads the team in RBIs, bringing home 19 base runners this season.
In the WAC, Leach ranks in the top-four in several categories, including batting average, on-base percentage (.477) and slugging percentage (.604). She also has a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.
Shortstop Morgan Byrn (Lawrence, Kan.) has taken 47 total bases in the first 40 games of the season, going 29-for-102 at the plate (.284) while smashing a team-leading five home runs and accumulating a team-high 17 runs. Her five home runs are the fourth-most in the conference this season.
Infielder Bri Sims (Rowlett, Texas) has been given a league-leading 20 free bases this season. She is also second on the team in home runs after hitting her third bomb of the season over the center field wall against Grand Canyon on April 8 at Missouri 3&2 Complex.
Ashlin O’Brien (Fond du Lac, Wis.), Kelsey Goodwin (Broken Arrow, Okla.) and Leach have each hit a pair of home runs, while Faith Willis (Kearney, Mo.) and Abbi Johnson (Midwest City, Okla.) have each hit one out of the park this season.
Freshman Sydney Garcia (Kansas City, Mo.) has been caught stealing just once out of her nine stolen base attempts this season. Her nine attempts is the sixth-most in the WAC this season. She also leads all UMKC newcomers at the plate, batting .274 with seven doubles and 10 RBIs.
As a team, UMKC currently ranks first in the WAC in walks (106), second in steal attempts (46), and third in doubles (39) and triples (7). The pitching staff has combined for 61 strikeouts, the fourth-most in the league this season.
When UMKC swept CSU Bakersfield to open WAC play, it was just the fourth time since joining the league that the Roos swept a conference opponent. The Roos also swept the Roadrunners and Seattle U last season and Utah Valley in 2015.
Byrn received WAC Hitter of the Week laurels on Feb. 27 after bombing three home runs in two games at the UTA Invitational. She went 7-for-14 from the plate over the course of five games and accounted for five of the team’s 11 RBIs.
Freshman Alex Larson (Overland Park, Kan.) was named WAC Pitcher of the Week on Feb 20 for her notable performances against Rider at the Battle at the Beach on Feb. 18 and Feb. 19. Between the two games, Larson pitched 8.2 innings, giving up just five hits while throwing three strikeouts. The right-hander also posted a 0.00 ERA in both appearances.
Leach and Sims were each named to the 2017 Preseason All-WAC team in a poll by the league’s coaches.
Sims, a 2016 All-WAC first team selection, returns to the field for UMKC this season with second-team members Goodwin and Byrn. The Roos finished 24-26 overall and 10-5 in the WAC in 2016.
Scouting the Opponent
UMKC has won just a single game against New Mexico State, dating back to the 2014 season.
The Aggies are led by sophomore Kelsey Horton, who leads the league in batting average (.441), on base percentage (.496) and total bases (83). She ranks second in the WAC in slugging percentage (.748), runs scored (29), hits (49) and doubles (13).
New Mexico State has won four of its last five games coming into the series, suffering its only conference loss to Seattle U.
UMKC will open its last home stand of the 2017 season with a twin bill against Creighton at Missouri 3&2 Complex on Tuesday.
– UMKC –