KANSAS CITY, Mo. – After having the 2018 home opener rescheduled due to inclement weather, the UMKC softball team (4-11) will play the first of back to back tournaments in Lawrence, Kansas, at the Jayhawk Invitational this weekend.
UMKC will begin play squaring off with host Kansas (16-3) on Thursday, Mar. 8 at 5 p.m. CT before returning to the diamond on Friday, Mar. 9 at 7 p.m. CT to take on Tulsa (12-7). The Roos will play a pair of games on Saturday, Mar. 10 at 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. CT against Northern Iowa (13-7) and Green Bay (1-9) before closing out the event with contest against Nebraska (11-7) on Sunday, Mar. 11 at 4:30 p.m. CT.
The Roos enter the Jayhawk Invitational looking to rebound after a 1-4 showing in the Blues City Classic last weekend. The event was highlighted by a strong 8-4 win over UL Monroe on the final day of action.
The matchups with Northern Iowa and Green Bay will be 2018 season rematches after UMKC matched up with both teams in the UNI-Dome Classic to kick off the year. Both contests were highly contested with the Roos narrowly falling 7-6 to Green Bay before claiming a 4-3 win over Northern Iowa.
Olivia Fluehr (Loves Park, Ill.) and Morgan Byrn (Lawrence, Kan.) are both coming off tremendous performances in the Blues City Classic and look to stay hot in the games ahead. Fluehr, who is currently riding a six-game hitting streak, hit .467 in five contests including a pair of home runs and nine RBI’s, both team-bests for the weekend. On the season, Fluehr leads the Roos in batting average (.342), slugging percentage (.711), home runs (4) and RBI’s (16). She currently ranks fourth in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) in home runs, sixth in RBI’s and ninth in batting average early on in the season.
Byrn picked up hits in each of the five contests in Memphis and led the team with nine hits total with a team-best .563 average over the weekend. In addition to playing sound defense at shortstop, her made her presence felt in the batter’s box with a home run, two doubles, three RBI’s and a pair of runs scored.
Excluding the Blues City Classic finale against Memphis, UMKC has averaged over five runs per game in their last four contests and will look to continue giving their pitchers steady run support in the Jayhawk Invitational. For the season, the team is now putting up 4.07 runs per game which ranks fifth in the conference.
Ashlin O'Brien (Fond du Lac, Wis.) has also made steady contributions offensively for the Roos, hitting in various spots in the lineup in recent contests. Her .333 batting average trails only Fluehr on the team and her .431 on-base percentage sits eighth in the WAC.
The UMKC pitching staff looks to grab momentum after allowing seven runs per game in five matchups in the Blues City Classic. Senior pitcher Lynsey Conner (Peggs, Okla.) was able to find a little success over the weekend, picking up her team-best third win of the season in a complete-game outing against UL Monroe. Conner will aim to lead the staff and build on the strong start to her senior campaign that places her eighth in the WAC in innings pitched (32.2), ninth in earned run average (4.50) and fifth in wins (3).
The Roos will return to the campus of Kansas University the following weekend to compete in the Rock Chalk Challenge through Mar. 15-18. The event includes matchups with Western Illinois, Saint Louis University, Murray State, Northern Colorado and Kansas.
– UMKC –