Jayhawks Travel to Stanford for the Weekend
Feb. 22, 2007
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Jayhawks Travel to Stanford
The University of Kansas baseball team will travel to Palo Alto, Calif. this weekend for a three-game series at Stanford beginning Friday at 7 p.m. CST. The Jayhawks and Cardinal are both receiving votes in this week’s National Collegiate Baseball Association Writer’s national poll and will continue their series at 3 p.m. CST Saturday and 1 p.m. CST on Sunday. <?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
Scouting the Cardinal
Stanford dropped two-of-three games at No. 13 Texas over the weekend before defeating San Francisco 4-1 on Tuesday. The Cardinal enter the series with KU at 4-5 overall.
Freshman shortstop Adam Gaylord is Stanford’s leading hitter with a .355 batting average and five RBIs, while sophomore outfielder Sean Ratliff has a team-high 12 hits and 10 runs scored.
The Cardinal have struggled with consistency from their starting pitchers so far this season as freshman Jeffery Inman is the only Stanford starter with a victory this year. Inman is 1-1 with a 6.14 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 14.2 innings.
Head coach Mark Marquess is in his 30th season at Stanford and has an overall record of 1,261-622-5 (.669). Heading into the season, Marquess was 12th all-time in career NCAA Division I victories and is sixth among active head coaches. His team returns eight position starters and two starting pitchers from last year’s squad, which finished 33-27 and tied for fifth in the Pac-10.
KU is 2-7 all-time against Stanford, with both wins coming in 2006. The Jayhawks took two-of-three from the Cardinal last February to springboard a 43-win season.
Last Time Out
KU took two of three games from South Dakota State Feb. 10 and 11 in a series played at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. Despite start times of 1:30 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. for the two days, the Jayhawks’ pitching staff rose to the occasion. After allowing six runs in the opener, KU surrendered just three runs and 12 hits over the final 18 innings of the series.
Sophomore Andy Marks and junior Andres Esquibel picked up victories on the mound for KU. Center fielder Kyle Murphy went 5-for-10 in the series with a pair of stolen bases and four runs scored, while junior John Allman went 5-for-11 with a pair of RBIs.
KU-NDSU Series Washed Out
Due to wet playing conditions at Hoglund Ballpark, the University of Kansas had to cancel its three-game series with North Dakota State originally scheduled for Feb. 15-18. The games will not be made up.
KU went to great lengths to try to get the games in, flying a helicopter over the playing surface on Tuesday to try to accelerate the process of drying the field, but to no avail.
Heading into the season, head coach Ritch Price knew that senior center fielder Kyle Murphy would be important to the team because of his defense. However, through eight games, the 5-foot-11 outfielder has been just as valuable with his bat.
Murphy is the team’s leading hitter with a .381 batting average and has a team-best .714 slugging percentage. He has scored seven runs and has an 1.194 OPS.
Last season, Murphy had just nine extra base hits for the entire season. This year, he already has four in the team’s first eight games.
Hitting His Marks
Sophomore lefty Andy Marks has displayed pinpoint control in his first two starts of the season. Marks, a 6-foot-0 starting pitcher from St. Louis, Mo., has walked just two hitters in 12.1 innings. In his two outings, Marks has 14 strikeouts. He has also allowed just nine baserunners and one extra base hit.
Smyth Off to Strong Start
Sophomore closer Paul Smyth is off to a fast start as the team’s closer. The 5-foot-11 righty, who is replacing National Stopper of the Year Don Czyz, has allowed just two infield hits in four appearances this season. The sophomore has not allowed a run in his 5.1 innings of work and has six strikeouts and a pair of saves. Smyth also leads the team in appearances (four), opponent’s batting average (.059) and games finished (four).
Sophomore Justin Ellrich made a pair of starts at first base in the final two games of the South Dakota State series. Ellrich, who got the starting nod just six times in 2006, has now started five games in KU’s first two series of the year. Ellrich collected an RBI double in Saturday’s 3-2 victory and had his first multi-hit game in Sunday’s finale.
– While the Jayhawks missed extending their winning streak with its loss to South Dakota State on Feb. 10, the team’s 7-1 start is still the best record it has had after eight games under Ritch Price. This is KU’s best start since it won the first 10 games of the season in 2002.
– Junior Andres Esquibel earned his second victory of the season in relief of Nick Czyz in KU’s 3-2 win Feb. 10. The junior righty tossed three innings of scoreless relief, which allowed KU to erase a 2-0 deficit. Esquibel struck out six and walked no one in his three innings. In two outings this season, the 6-foot-2 righty has walked just one, while striking out 10.
– Senior Kyle Murphy set a career-high with three hits in the 6-5 loss to South Dakota State on Feb. 10.
– Senior catcher Dylan Parzyk made his first appearance of 2007. The senior backstop started behind the plate in the second game of the series and was a defensive replacement in the third game.
– Junior John Allman went hitless in KU’s first game of the series against South Dakota State, but collected five hits in his final eight at bats of the series.
– Junior Hiarali Garcia picked up his first save of the season, pitching 1.1 innings of scoreless relief in Sunday’s 4-1 triumph.
– Freshman Thomas Marcin has been a key man out of the bullpen for the Jayhawks this season. In three appearances, Marcin has not allowed a run and scattered three hits over six innings. The 6-foot-4 freshman picked up a hold in the series finale against South Dakota State.
– Former Jayhawk pitcher Roger Slagle was featured on the 30,000th episode of ESPN’s Sports Center on Feb. 11. Slagle, who played at KU from 1974-75, made his major league debut on Sept. 7, 1979 with the New York Yankees. It was the same night that Sports Center premiered on ESPN.
KU freshman Wally Marciel enjoyed a homecoming in the second game of the Feb. 2 doubleheader against Hawaii-Hilo. The Kailua, Hawaii native made his first collegiate start in his home state, in front of a large gathering of family members. Marciel didn’t disappoint, picking up the win for the Jayhawks. The 6-foot-2 lefty went five innings, allowing two runs on three hits, while striking out six at Wong Memorial Stadium.
Series Shifts to Minneapolis
KU’s three-game series against South Dakota State was played at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis. The unusual starting times for the three contests was due to the Hurricane Winter Invitational which was already scheduled in the dome that weekend. The invitational featured NCAA Division II and NAIA teams from neighboring states.
The Jayhawks and Jackrabbits opened play on Saturday morning with a doubleheader at 1:30 a.m. The second game of the twinbill was suspended due to time constraints and completed Sunday morning at 3:30 a.m., prior to the third game of the series.
The Metrodome is the first of two major league parks that KU will visit during the 2007 season. The Jayhawks are also scheduled to face rival Missouri at Kaufman Stadium in Kansas City later this year.
Land-ing a Preseason Honor
KU first baseman Preston Land was named Preseason All-Big 12 by Baseball America prior to the start of the season. Land, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, hit .314 last season with nine home runs and 33 RBIs. He set the KU freshman record in homers and tied the freshman school mark with 12 doubles. Land didn’t waste much time making a name for himself in the Jayhawks’ lineup, blasting a pair of homers in just his fourth collegiate start at Hawaii-Hilo in 2006.
Major League Bloodlines
Several players on the 2007 Jayhawk baseball team have relatives who have played in the major leagues. They include:
– Buck Afenir’s uncle, Troy Afenir, played in four major league seasons for Houston, Oakland and Cincinnati.
– Brett Bochy’s father, Bruce Bochy, played in the major leagues from 1978-87 for Houston, San Diego and the New York Mets. He also managed the Padres from 1995-2006, and is the current manager of the San Francisco Giants.
– Casey Larson’s father, Dan Larson, played in the major leagues from 1967-82. He played for Houston, Philadelphia and the Chicago Cubs.
– Joe Servais’ cousin, Scott Servais, played in the major leagues from 1991-2001 for Houston, Colorado, San Francisco and the Chicago Cubs.
A handful of Jayhawks have also followed older siblings onto the KU baseball team:
– Nick Czyz’ older brother Don pitched at KU from 2003-06. Don was drafted by the Florida Marlins after last season.
– Preston Land’s brother, Sean, pitched for the Jayhawks from 2004-06. Sean was drafted by the Minnesota Twins at the conclusion of the 2006 season.
– Ryne and Robby Price’s older brother, Ritchie, also played at KU from 2003-06. Ritchie was drafted by the New York Mets last season.
After the three-game series in Palo Alto, KU will travel to Oral Roberts for a Tuesday afternoon contest against the Golden Eagles at 3 p.m. This will mark the first of two meetings between the schools in 2007. The Jayhawks will host ORU on April 10.
Season Tickets On Sale
Kansas Baseball season tickets are still available for purchase. For more information, please call 800-34-HAWKS or log on to kuathletics.com.