Roos Look to Open WAC Conference Play With a Series Win Against Seattle This Weekend
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The UMKC softball team (17-10) will open up WAC conference play this weekend when they welcome the Seattle Redhawks to Kansas City. The three game series is set to kick off Friday afternoon at the Urban Youth Academy.
About the Roos
UMKC is looking to bounce back from a 2-3 weekend at the Creighton Tournament when the Roos open conference play for the 2019 season this weekend with a three game series against Seattle University. Hosting the first games of the season at Urban Youth Academy in Kansas City, Mo., the Roos got off to a strong start Friday afternoon by knocking off Creighton in a 7-4 victory that was powered by Maegan Rollow’s 4-4 effort at the plate that included four RBI’s from UMKC’s only senior. Madason Shaw also smacked her fourth homerun of the year in the sixth inning.
In the second game of Friday’s doubleheader with Creighton, the Roos were not as fortunate offensively. UMKC was held to just four hits by Bluejay’s pitcher Kiele Miller. While the Roos collectively had a great eye at the plate, taking eight walks in the contest, they were unable to keep the line moving and could only scratch up one run. Creighton beat UMKC 4-1.
The Roos suffered a similar fate in their third and final game against Creighton on the Saturday, falling 10-4 to the Bluejays. Sloppiness in the field came back to bite UMKC as Creighton was able to score four unearned runs on two errors in the fifth inning to extend their three run lead to seven. The Blue and Gold scored another run in the seventh inning but were unable to fully recover.
In their third game of the day on Saturday, the Roos squared off with South Dakota State. UMKC’s four and five hole hitters, Bre Hunter and Madason Shaw were each able to knock in two runs in a seven hit, five run, third inning in which the Roos took a 6-3 lead. Mia Hoveland then pitched four innings of one run ball to close out the game and earn her sixth win of the season.
The final game of the weekend took place on Sunday with a second matchup against South Dakota State. Heading into the bottom of the sixth the Roos were down 8-4, but were able to bring home four runs to tie the ballgame. The Jackrabbits scored two runs in the first inning of extra innings however, and UMKC couldn’t match them. UMKC would go on to drop its fifth and final game of the weekend.
UMKC continued to run wild on the base paths in the tournament, picking up another nine steals, bringing their season total to 60 total stolen bases as a team. Heading into conference play, the Roos currently boast four of the top seven base stealers in the WAC. Faith Willis is currently in second individually with 13 stolen bags on the year. At the plate, the team as a whole continues to impress as UMKC now leads the conference in runs scored (153), hits (222), doubles (48), RBI’s (134), stolen bases (60), and is second in batting average (.312).
The Roos pitching staff of Hoveland, Cannon, and freshman Kailyn Packard has also experienced continued success to start the season, now having allowed 70 earned runs on the year, which is good for second place in the WAC behind only Seattle.
UMKC will open play against Seattle University at the Urban Youth Academy in Kansas City, Mo., Friday afternoon at 5:00 PM CT. On Saturday, March 22nd, the Roos and the Redhawks are set to square up in the second game of the three game series at 1:00 PM before wrapping up the series in the third game at approximately 3:00 PM.
Series history vs. Seattle University
The Roos are 9-9 all-time when taking on Seattle University, but have won just one of the last five matchups. UMKC will look to get back on a winning track when they square up with the 18-10 Redhawks this weekend.
Individual NCAA rankings
Sydney Garcia – 65th in hits (34)
D.J. Cannon – 19th in strikeout-to-walk ratio (7.50)
Kailyn Packard – 8th in saves (3), 66th in hits allowed per seven innings (4.84)
Faith Willis – 36th in steals (13)
Team NCAA rankings
12th in stolen bases per game (2.33)
15th in doubles per game (1.78)
41st in runs per game (5.67)
36th in batting average (3.12)
40th in strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.78)
Head Coach Meredith Smith Neal
The 2019 campaign is the 13th season at UMKC for head coach Meredith Smith Neal. At the Wildcat Invite this two weekends ago, 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 Cedar City, Utah, to take on Southern Utah in a quick two game doubleheader on March 27th.
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 469-959.
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.