‘The perfect storm’

After transferring from Western Kentucky, junior right-fielder Kit Dunbar was just looking for an opportunity to fit in and get some playing time. Now, not only has she become a fixture, she has brought consistency to an otherwise inconsistent lineup.

Dunbar is leading the team with a .383 batting average and is tied for third with 18 runs scored. She is batting in the No. 3 spot and is a perfect compliment to Britta Giddens and Tara Toscano at the top of the lineup.

“It’s almost like a perfect storm kind of situation, because she was coming in to prove she could start and we gave her a comfortable situation,” coach Ken Eriksen said. “We are fortunate that she has taken the bull by the horns and run with it.”

Dunbar was inserted into the starting rotation just before the Bulls’ eight-game road trip and has given a spark to the offense. She has provided versatility in the No. 3 spot with her ability to hit for average and slap bunt.

In 12 conference games, Dunbar is hitting .351 with a .429 on-base percentage along with five walks. Her speed is a major weapon on the base paths, with 10 steals in 12 attempts this season.

“I’m just trying to hit the ball on the ground and get on base,” Dunbar said. “Because I know I can contribute runs to the team if I can get on base.”

Dunbar has made vast improvements this season compared to her two seasons at Western Kentucky. She played 77 games during her career there, never batted over .150 and had three RBI. She has had seven RBI in 44 games this season.

Eriksen realized that all Dunbar needed was a chance.

“I’d like to think that it was us reiterating the same things day after day,” Eriksen said. “But I know all it was is a player needing a pat on the back and a chance to be herself and get an opportunity.”

Dunbar is happy to be on a new team with new surroundings and wants to forget about the past. She is focused on helping the team win the Big East Tournament and felt that she clicked right away with her teammates.

Dunbar credits some of her success to having Giddens and Toscano batting ahead of her in the lineup. All three players have similar traits at the plate and on base and set up RBI opportunities for the middle of the lineup.

“Working with Britta and Tara, I’m very comfortable with batting behind those two,” Dunbar said. “It’s my job to move them over or drive them in when they get on base.”