COURTESY: KU Sports Information
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Handing the nation’s No. 1 team just its second shutout of the season made a strong case for Kansas freshman Kelsey Kessler to be named the Big 12 Pitcher of the Week by the conference office Tuesday afternoon.
This is Kessler’s second Big 12 weekly honor in less than a month as the Blue Springs, Mo., native was recognized as the conference’s top pitcher on April 9 following her no-hitter against Texas Tech.
“Kelsey Kessler is a pitcher that makes you stop and take notice of what she can do,” head coach Megan Smith said. “She certainly did that this weekend. Kelsey held her poise and confidence against No. 1 Oklahoma and it showed. We are very proud of her and are happy to see her great accomplishment be recognized by our conference.”
Before the 2013 season, a Kansas pitcher had not been selected as the Big 12 Pitcher of the Week since Kassie Humphreys earned the award back-to-back weeks on April 4 and April 11, 2006.
For the second week in a row, Kessler notched a win over a nationally-ranked team. For the first time in history, however, she and the Jayhawks topped a No. 1 team when KU defeated No. 1 Oklahoma Sunday afternoon, 2-0.
Kessler scattered seven hits over seven innings to shutout the Sooners – giving them only their fourth loss and second shutout of the year. Her fifth shutout of 2013 included two walks and four strikeouts, while leaving four stranded in scoring position and nine runners total.
Last weekend, KU took one game from the No. 21/14 Baylor Bears – in which Kessler was also the pitcher of record.
Kessler (9-6) has surpassed the 100-strikeout plateau (102) in her freshman campaign and leads the Jayhawks with a 2.07 ERA in Big 12 action.
Kessler and the Jayhawks will travel to Ames, Iowa to wrap up the regular season at Iowa State. The three-game series is set for May 10-12 with games times at 4 p.m., noon and noon. Kansas will then learn its postseason fate when the NCAA Selection Shows airs on ESPNU Sunday, May 12, at 9 p.m.