Jayhawks Face No. 21 Arkansas to Wrap Up Road Trip
Feb. 23, 2009
Kansas vs. Arkansas
After going 1-2 at the Service Academy Classic to open the season, the Kansas baseball team looks to get back on track with a two-game series at No. 21 Arkansas at Baum Stadium. The Jayhawks will face the Razorbacks at 3 p.m., on Tuesday and again at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.
Audio from both games will be available on kuathletics.com, with veteran play-by-play man Tom Hedrick calling the action.
Arkansas leads the all-time series with the Jayhawks, 38-25, including 32-11 in games played in Fayetteville. Kansas has not beaten the Razorbacks at Baum Stadium since March 24, 1999. Arkansas has won seven straight in the series, dating back to a 10-3 win over the Jayhawks on March 22, 2000. KU head coach Ritch Price is 0-5 all-time against the Razorbacks, with all five meetings coming at KU.
About the Jayhawks
Kansas enters the 2009 season with a good mix of talented young players as well as veterans at key positions. Overall, KU returns 16 letterwinners and six position starters from last year’s team which finished 30-27. KU went 1-2 during its first weekend of competition this year, which was highlighted by Shaeffer Hall’s no-hitter Friday against Air Force. As a staff, the Jayhawks have a team ERA of 2.03, including a 1.21 mark by its starting pitchers. KU’s offense is producing at a .245 clip with four doubles, a triple and six stolen bases.
Scouting the Razorbacks
Arkansas welcomes the Jayhawks to Baum Stadium after sweeping a three-game series from Washington State over the weekend. The Razorbacks emerged victorious in three tight games, including a 7-5 win in 10 innings on Friday evening. Arkansas is currently ranked 21st in the latest Baseball America poll.
Offensively, Arkansas is led by sophomore infielder Andy Wilkins, who has a .444 batting average (4-for-9) with two doubles and a home run. Wilkins went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs scored in the Hogs 7-5 win in 10 innings on Friday. Three different Razorbacks have hit home runs this year, including seniors Andrew Darr, Ben Tschepikow and Wilkins.
On the mound, Arkansas used nine different pitchers in the Washington State series, including staff ace Dallas Keuchel. The junior lefty went six innings in Friday’s first game, allowing two runs on four hits over six innings to earn the win. Relief pitchers Justin Wells and Stephen Richards each made a pair of appearances over the weekend, with the senior Wells picking up the win in Sunday’s game after pitching 1 2/3 innings of hitless relief.
The Razorbacks return 16 letterwinners and five position starters from last year’s team which finished 34-24. Arkansas was picked to finish fourth in the SEC West, behind LSU, Ole Miss and Alabama.
Last Time Out
Despite 6 1/3 strong innings from junior pitcher Cameron Selik, Kansas couldn’t find the clutch hits when it needed them in a 2-1 loss to Memphis Sunday in the final game of the Service Academy Classic at USA Stadium.
Making his first start in a Kansas uniform, Selik, a junior transfer from Grossmont (Calif.) College gave up a solo home run in the top of the first and a run in the second on a wild pitch with the bases loaded and two outs. After that, Selik retired 12 of the final 17 Tigers he faced.
Hall of Famer
Junior Shaeffer Hall earned a place in Kansas baseball lore by tossing the fifth no-hitter in Jayhawk history on Feb. 20 against Air Force.
Hall, a junior from Lee’s Summit, Mo., tossed the fifth complete game no hitter in Kansas baseball history on Feb. 20, blanking Air Force, 5-0. The 6-foot lefty went nine innings and allowed no runs on no hits with three walks and seven strikeouts. After walking the first batter of the game, Hall retired the next 17 Falcons he faced.
His performance was also the first complete game shutout by a Jayhawk since Kodiak Quick blanked Hawaii-Hilo in 2005.
We’re Going Streaking
Sophomore Tony Thompson extended his hitting streak to 12 straight games this past weekend at the Service Academy Classic. Thompson, who hit safely in the final nine games of the 2008 season, went 6-for-12 during the first weekend of this season.
Thompson’s 12-game hitting streak is the longest by a Jayhawk since Robby Price hit safely in 16 straight games during the 2007 season.
During his hitting streak, Thompson is batting .467 (21-for-45) with three doubles, two homers and eight RBIs.
Men of Steal
During the Service Academy Classic, Kansas used its running game to manufacture some runs. Six different Jayhawks recorded stolen bases in the three game tournament, including sophomores Brian Heere, Tony Thompson and freshman Jake Marasco, who all stole their first in a Kansas uniform.
Utilizing the running game is something new for Ritch Price’s Jayhawks. Last season, the team swiped 30 bags total in 57 games. The Jayhawks have not averaged more than one stolen base per game since 2005, when the team stole 65 bases in 64 games.
– Kansas faces No. 21 Arkansas at Baum Stadium this week, marking the third straight year the team has made the trip to Fayetteville, Ark.
– The two games with Arkansas mark the only contests that match KU up with an SEC school. During the 2009 season, the Jayhawks are scheduled to play against 13 different non-conference schools, representing eight leagues.
– KU’s games against the 21st-ranked Razorbacks marks the team’s first meetings with a ranked team this year. Last season the Jayhawks were 4-15 against the Top 25, but 2-3 against ranked teams during the final four weeks of the season.
– Catcher Joe Lincoln went 3-for-7 during his first series in a Jayhawk uniform. Lincoln was one of three Kansas players to collect a hit in his first at-bat of the season – an RBI single against Air Force on Friday.
– Catcher Chris Manship made his first collegiate start on Friday against Memphis. The freshman went 0-for-2 in the game, before he was lifted for a pinch hitter.
– Senior first baseman Preston Land collected an RBI at the Service Academy Classic, driving in a run against Air Force in the seventh inning Friday.
– Freshman Zac Elgie made his first collegiate start Friday against Memphis and went 0-for-2 as the first baseman. Elgie hit 48 home runs during his high school career at Minot (N.D.) High.
– Sophomore Robby Price went 2-for-10 in his first three games of the season. Slow starts are nothing new for Price, as he has hit .197 (15-for-76) during the month of February in his first three seasons. However, he has raised his average to .304 (48-for-158) during the month of March.
– Junior shortstop David Narodowski played stellar defeanse in the Service Academy Classic and also scored four of the team’s 10 runs. He has scored every time he has reached base (two hits, two walks).
– Sophomore Tony Thompson doubled in his fourth at bat of the season on Friday, against Air Force. Last year, Thompson did not have a two-base hit until KU’s 52nd game of the season, May 9 against Missouri.
– Freshman left fielder Jake Marasco hit safely in each of his first two games in a Kansas uniform. Both of his base hits were to the opposite field.
– Senior Nick Faunce collected a hit in his first at bat of the Memphis game Friday against a left-handed pitcher. Over the past two seasons, Faunce is batting .396 against southpaws.
– Freshman Jason Brunansky recorded a multi-hit game, his first in a Kansas uniform, against Memphis. Brunansky is just the fourth freshman in the Ritch Price era to record multiple hits in his first game, joining sophomore Tony Thompson (2008) as well as graduates Ritchie Price and Matt Baty (2003).
– Sophomore Brian Heere collected the Jayhawks’ first triple of the season in Friday’s game against Memphis. In 2008, 11 different players had three-base hits.
– Sophomore Casey Lytle also had a productive game against Memphis on Friday. The second-year outfielder went 2-for-3 raising his career average to .500 (5-for-10).
– Sophomore Jimmy Waters has also collected a pair of hits in the game against Air Force. Waters ended the season on fire, and now has multiple hits in three of his last eight games.
– Junior Shaeffer Hall threw a no-hitter in his first start as the No. 1 starting pitcher in the Kansas rotation. Hall also became the first Jayhawk to record a complete game since Kodiak Quick did so in 2006.
– After a shaky start, sophomore T.J. Walz was brilliant Friday evening against Memphis. The second-year righty went seven innings and allowed just one earned run on six hits. He also did not issue a walk.
– Junior Brett Bochy pitched an inning of scoreless relief in the Friday loss to Memphis. Bochy registered one strikeout in the inning, marking 13 of 14 appearances with at least one K.
– Junior transfer Cameron Selik got off to a rocky start Sunday, but retired 12 of the final 17 hitters he faced. Selik went 6 1/3 innings and allowed two runs on five hits, but had three hit batsmen and a wild pitch.
– Junior Thomas Marcin showed signs of returning to form. The 6-foot-3 relief pitcher tossed 1 1/3 innings of relief Sunday against Memphis and allowed just one base runner, a hit batsman. More importantly, Marcin entered the game with a runner on third and just one out and did not allow him to score.
– Freshman Colton Murray enjoyed a dynamite debut, allowing just a lone base hit in his 1 1/3 innings of relief against Memphis Sunday. Murray recorded a pair of strikeouts in his first collegiate appearance.
Hall Honored by the Big 12
Junior left-handed pitcher Shaeffer Hall was named the Big 12 Pitcher of the Week by the conference office Monday after tossing the fifth no-hitter in team history.
Hall, a junior from Lee’s Summit, Mo., becomes just the second Kansas pitcher to earn the distinction from the Big 12, joining Don Czyz, who earned the honor twice in his career.
KU to Face K-State on FSN
The May 17 showdown between Kansas and in-state rival Kansas State will be one of six Big 12 games televised nationally by Fox Sports Net.
The television appearance marks the third straight year that a national television audience will be welcomed to Hoglund Ballpark, and the fourth time in five years. In 2005, ESPNU broadcast games between Texas and Kansas, while FSN has made appearances in Lawrence during both the 2007 (vs. Kansas State) and 2008 (vs. Texas Tech) seasons.
Take Me To Your Leaders
Prior to KU’s first game of the season, the Jayhawks named their team captains for the 2009 season. Seniors Buck Afenir, Nick Faunce and Paul Smyth as well as junior Robby Price will serve as the team captains this year. All four student-athletes are serving as captains for the first time in their collegiate careers.
Jayhawks Announce Season Ticket Plan
A new Flex Plan option highlights the 2009 University of Kansas Baseball season ticket package. The Kansas Baseball Flex Pack allows fans the flexibility to choose any five games to attend for only $30. Other season-ticket packages include Box Seats ($150), General Admission ($70), KU faculty and staff ($56) and the Kansas Baseball Family Plan ($199), which includes two adult and two youth general admission tickets.
The Jayhawks return to the friendly confines of Hoglund Ballpark to face North Dakota in the home opener on Tuesday, March 3 at 3 p.m. Kansas will face the Fighting Sioux again the following day at 3 p.m., to complete the brief two-game series.