#43 Kansas Softball 2015 Preview

Kansas Jayhawks

Overall Rank: #43
Conference Rank: #4 Big 12
#43 Kansas Softball 2015 Preview
Kansas Team Page


The Kansas Jayhawks returned to the NCAA Tournament last season thanks to wins over South Florida, Utah, and Kentucky as part of a very tough non-conference schedule which gave the Jayhawks a Top 40 RPI. Kansas returns 13 letterwinners and has 20 home dates at the renovated Rock Chalk Park. This increased commitment to having a top-notch facility will only enhance the opportunity for the Jayhawks to compete for Big 12 championships and consistently be a part of the NCAA Tournament on an annual basis.
2014: 34-23, 7-11
2014 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Megan Smith

Field Players:
The combination of infielder Chaley Brickey and utility player Maddie Stein are going to be the key for the Jayhawks as far as igniting the offense is concerned. Brickey is the primary power source of this team, as she hit 12 homeruns a year ago and, more importantly, had an on-base percentage of .502. It’s clear that teams, when they can, will pitch around her but with players like Stein who do a nice job of making contact, it’s not going to be easy for teams completely shutdown Brickey offensively. Two other critical players for Kansas this season will be catcher Harli Ridling and infielder Chanin Naudin. They combined for 13 homeruns and drove in 59 runs last season. Their ability to provide similar numbers in 2015 to give the Jayhawks the necessary depth to create plenty of havoc on opposing pitching staffs will be key.
Alicia Pille will be the expected workhorse in the circle as she is the most experienced returning starter for the Jayhawks in 2015. Pille was 12-7 with a 2.34 earned run average and overall was very solid as the number two starter a year ago to compliment the graduated Kelsey Kessler, who was 20-15 as the number one starter in 2014. Pille also did a very nice job of keeping the ball in the ballpark. She only surrendered nine homeruns throughout the 2014 season.

Who to Watch:
The battle for the number two starter position in the circle for Kansas is going to be a fascinating one to watch as Cal State Fullerton transfer Monique Wesley will have the first shot to get that number two slot. She started 14 games in 2014 for the Titans. The group of Alex Jones, Sophia Templin and Beth Wilson will be in the mix as well for potential spot starts in the rotation. Wilson is the only one with a start in the circle out of these three pitchers, but Jones was the most effective last season as she only had a 2.50 earned run average. The ability to find answers to this battle for the number two starter will go a long way in dictating the direction of the 2015 season for Kansas.

Final Projection:
The schedule sets up with some great opportunities to get some non-conference tournament boosting resumes wins. With matchups against teams like Georgia Tech, Florida, Wichita State, and Tulsa, the Jayhawks will be set up nicely for the Big 12 slate if they can grind out a handful of wins. Speaking of the Big 12 schedule, Kansas has most of their tough matchups against the likes of Oklahoma and Texas at home in Lawrence which should help them greatly. If the Jayhawks can take of business in the circle with Pille and Wesley, they should be in position once again to be somewhere around .500 in Big 12 play and if they can win around 33 or so games, they should once again be right in the conversation for an NCAA Tournament berth  this season.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Maddie Stein, UTIL, 193
Hits: Maddie Stein, UTIL, 69
Home Runs: Chaley Brickey, IF, 12
RBIs: Chaley Brickey, IF, 41
Runs: Chaley Brickey, IF, 43
Stolen Bases: Taylor McElhaney, IF, 3

Wins: Alicia Pille, P, 12
Innings Pitched: Alicia Pille, P, 129.2
Strikeouts: Alicia Pille, P, 130
Complete Games: Alicia Pille, P, 10


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