Jayhawks Host Creighton in Home Opener Tuesday
Feb. 21, 2011
Games 4: vs. Creighton
Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011
Hoglund Ballpark (2,500) – Lawrence, Kan.
After a thrilling win over No. 1 TCU Sunday, Kansas will play Creighton Tuesday in its home opener. The Jayhawks and Bluejays will face off at 3 p.m., at Hoglund Ballpark in the first of two meetings this season.
Live audio from Tuesday’s game will be available on KUAthletics.com, with veteran play-by-play man Tom Hedrick calling the action.
Creighton leads the all-time series with the Jayhawks, 17-11, including 10-6 in games played in Lawrence. This marks the third-straight season that the teams have met in a series that dates back to 1911.
The Jayhawks are 5-0 against the Bluejays under Ritch Price, dating back to 2004, which includes three-straight one-run wins. Last season, KU defeated Creighton 5-4 in Lawrence and by the same score at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha.
About the Jayhawks
Kansas earned a 14-inning triumph over No. 1 TCU on Sunday to salvage the final game of the three-game set in Fort Worth. The one-run triumph marked the third-straight season that Kansas has defeated a No. 1-ranked team after winning series over No. 1 Texas (2009) and LSU (2010) the last two years.
Junior Zac Elgie provided the offense in the win with two hits and three RBIs, while junior pitcher Colton Murray tossed seven innings in relief to pick up the victory.
Scouting the Bluejays
Creighton comes into Lawrence at 2-1, having defeated Toledo (5-1) and splitting with Canisius at a tournament in Cary, N.C. over the weekend. The Bluejays are coming off a 27-25 season, which saw them place fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Offensively, the Jays are batting .253 through three games. The team is led by junior infielder Michael Mutcheson, who went 4-for-6 with a double over the weekend. Senior outfielder Trevor Adams drove in four of CU’s 12 runs, while sophomore Alex Staehely stole three bases.
Creighton posted a 2.57 ERA in its three games, led by sophomore Ty Blach, who earned the win over Toledo by pitching six strong innings. KU will likely face junior Brandon Koenigstein, who pitched a scorless inning of relief against the Jayhawks in last year’s game in Lawrence. Koenigstein went 5-2 last season with a 3.95 ERA in 11 starts with 30 walks and 43 strikeouts.
Creighton head coach Ed Servais is in his eighth year at the school and boasts a 257-149 mark with the Bluejays. Creighton returns 20 letterwinners from last year’s squad, including four position starters and 10 pitchers.
Creighton on the web: www.gocreighton.com
Last Time Out
Junior Zac Elgie’s two-run double in the top of the 14th inning broke a two-all tie, while Colton Murray pitched seven innings of relief to earn his first victory of the season as Kansas took the final game of the three-game series with No. 1 TCU, 4-3 in 14 innings Sunday at Lupton Stadium.
Beating the Best
Sunday’s win over top-ranked TCU marks the third-straight season that Kansas has defeated a No. 1-ranked team. It also improved the Jayhawks to 7-5 against top-ranked teams since 1992.
Kansas head coach Ritch Price moved to 6-3 against No. 1-ranked teams in his career at KU. In 2009, the Jayhawks swept then-No. 1 Texas in a three-game series at Hoglund Ballpark, while last season KU took two-of-three from then-No. 1 LSU in Baton Rouge, La.
Take the Long Way Home
Kansas relief pitcher Colton Murray tossed seven innings in relief in KU’s 14-inning win over No. 1 TCU on Sunday. It marked Murray’s longest career outing and the longest relief stint by a Kansas pitcher during the Ritch Price era, passing the six innings of relief by former Jayhawk Brett Bochy against Baylor last season.
Murray pitched out of seven at bats, which could have potentially ended the game with a TCU runner in scoring position. This included the final strikeout of Brance Rivera with the bases loaded.
Kansas junior Zac Elgie came up clutch twice for the Jayhawks in Sunday’s win at No. 1 TCU. In the fifth inning, Elgie untied a 1-1 game with KU’s first home run of the season. He later untied the game again with a two-run double to left field, which plated the winning runs in the top of the 14th inning.
The break-out game was a good sign for the junior first baseman and the Jayhawks. After a very productive freshman season, Elgie’s offense took a nose-dive in 2010. His average was 79 points lower than the previous year and his RBI total dropped from 27 (in 33 games) to 14 (in 27 games).
While the Jayhawks dropped their first two games of the series at No. 1 TCU, one of the bright spots had to be the mound debut of senior Nolan Mansfield. In the senior right-hander’s first outing, Mansfield held the nation’s top team scoreless on two hits over four innings.
The senior from Voorhees, N.J., came to the team last season as a walk-on and was expected to be used as a backup catcher/outfielder. However, he impressed the coaches enough in fall practice to give him a shot on the mound. He didn’t disappoint in his debut, hitting 90 mph a few times against TCU.
– Kansas plays its home-opener Tuesday against Creighton. The Jayhawks are unbeaten in home-openers since 1999, including 8-0 under head coach Ritch Price.
– Since the beginning of the 2008 season the Jayhawks are 35-2 against non-conference foes at Hoglund Ballpark. KU will play 14 games against non-Big 12 opponents at home this season.
– During the 2010 season, KU went 15-8-1 at home and were plus-60 in runs scored (206-146). The Jayhawks also batted .335 as a team at home, compared to just .289 on the road.
– The Jayhawks are 63-72 against current members of the Missouri Valley Conference, but are 23-14 against The Valley under Price.
– During KU’s series with TCU, the Jayhawks stole five bases in six attempts. The team’s .833 stolen base percentage is tied for third in the Big 12, behind only Oklahoma State (.875) and Kansas State (.875).
– The Jayhawks also committed just three errors in 126 chances during the first weekend of action for a .977 fielding percentage. The .977 average ranks second in the Big 12, behind only Baylor (.984).
– KU’s 14-inning win over TCU tied for the longest game during the Ritch Price era. The Jayhawks also won a 14-inning game last season at Baylor.
– Kansas starting pitcher Tanner Poppe recorded the team’s first quality start of the season (6 IP, 1 R). He had just two quality starts last year.
– Poppe also tallied a career-high five strikeouts against TCU Sunday.
– Senior outfielder Casey Lytle recorded three hits in Sunday’s win over TCU, marking his 28th career multi-hit game and his eighth game with three hits or more.
– As a team, KU stole five bases against TCU after recording just 29 stolen bases all of last season. Lytle led the team, going 2-for-2 in steals.
– KU recorded just 15 hits in the series against TCU, however six went for extra bases.
– Sophomore Jake Marasco leads the team in on-base percentage .417, after drawing just eight walks all of last year.
– Kansas pitching stranded 18 baserunners in the Sunday win against TCU. The 18 men left on base were the most by a Kansas opponent during the Ritch Price era.
Kansas will host the Salty Iguana Jayhawk Classic beginning Friday at 3 p.m., when the Jayhawks take on St. Louis. KU will face the Billikens again at 3 p.m. on Saturday and complete the tournament against Iowa Sunday at 3 p.m.