Kansas travels to Oral Roberts Tuesday
Feb. 26, 2007
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The University of Kansas baseball team will look to get back on track when it travels to Oral Roberts for a Tuesday afternoon game against the Golden Eagles. The Jayhawks will meet ORU at 3 p.m. at J.L. Johnson Stadium in the first of two meetings between the teams this season. KU will host ORU on April 10. <?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
Scouting the Golden Eagles
Oral Roberts enters Tuesday afternoon’s tilt having lost a pair to Big 12 foe Baylor over the weekend. The Golden Eagles are 3-5 on the season.
Pat Warfle leads the team in hitting with a .290 batting average and is tied for the team lead with eight runs scored. Teammate Chad Rothford is tops on the squad with three homers and has a .613 slugging percentage.
On the mound, Chris Ashman has been the Eagles’ top starter. Ashman has a record of 1-1 with a 3.78 ERA in 16.2 innings. He also has 13 strikeouts. Chance Chapman has been a key man out of the bullpen, throwing seven scoreless innings in relief. Chapman has eight strikeouts in seven innings of work.
Head coach Rob Walton is in his fifth season at ORU. The Oklahoma State graduate has a 136-52 mark with the Golden Eagles. ORU returns 14 letterwinners and six starting position players from last year’s squad that went 41-16 and advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals.
KU is 19-21 all-time against Oral Roberts, including a 2-3 mark under Coach Price. The schools last met in 2004, with ORU winning in Tulsa, 2-1.
Last Time Out
The Jayhawks experienced a frustrating weekend in Palo Alto, Calif., being swept for the first time since May of last season. The team faced five-run deficits twice during the weekend and nearly erased them, falling one run shy each time. Junior left fielder John Allman wore out the Cardinal’s pitching staff, going 7-for-15 with three doubles and three RBIs. Senior Kyle Murphy also enjoyed a productive series at the plate, going 5-for-12.
Allman Finds His Stroke
Junior left fielder John Allman feasted on Stanford pitching over the weekend, collecting seven hits in 15 at bats, including three doubles. The 6-foot-0 junior also drove in three of KU’s 12 runs in the series.
In the series finale, Allman went 4-for-5, nearly bringing the Jayhawks back from an early 6-1 hole. It marked his fifth multiple hit game of the season and first time since his freshman year that he had as many as four hits in a game.
Over his last five games, Allman is hitting .522 (12-for-23) and has three multi-RBI games during that span.
Murphy Stays Hot
Senior center fielder Kyle Murphy continued his hot hitting, collecting a career-high four hits in Sunday’s 7-6 loss at Stanford.
The center fielder, who was known more for his defense than his bat last year, is second on the team with a .394 batting average. Last season, the 5-foot-11 senior batted just .156 and had 16 hits the entire season. This year, Murphy has 12 hits in his first 33 at-bats.
Smyth, Marcin Remain Perfect
A big reason for KU’s 7-4 start has been the work out of the bullpen by freshman Thomas Marcin and sophomore Paul Smyth. The two relievers have a combined 15.2 innings pitched without allowing a run, spanning 10 appearances.
Smyth, the team’s closer, has allowed just three hits in 7.2 innings and leads the team with a pair of saves. Opponents are batting .125 against the 5-foot-11 righty. Last season Smyth led the team with 36 appearances.
Marcin, a right-handed set-up man, has not allowed a run in four appearances and has a .185 batting average against and an 0.88 WHIP.
The weekend series in Stanford marked a homecoming for several players on the Jayhawks roster.
In all, nine players graduated from California high schools, while junior Ryne Price and freshman Robby Price spent a majority of their lives in the sunshine state before moving to Lawrence while in high school.
Nine of the 11 California natives saw playing time in the series, which is KU’s only scheduled visit to the west coast this season.
Around the Horn
– KU was swept in a three-game series for the first time since May 5-7 of last season when the team was swept by Texas in Austin.
– Sophomore Preston Land hit his first home run of the season in Friday’s 6-5 loss. Last season, Land hit nine homers and drove in 33 runs.
– Junior Ryne Price went 3-for-11 in the Stanford series, collecting a pair of hits in the finale. Price scored on a sac fly in the ninth to bring the Jayhawks to within one run.
– Junior Erik Morrison collected three hits in the first game of the Stanford series and was also hit by pitch three times in the series. Morrison is now sixth in team history, having been hit by pitch 21 times in his career.
– Freshman Robby Price picked up four hits in the Stanford series, including two in Saturday’s 4-1 loss. Price also scored three of KU’s 12 runs in the series.
– Sophomore Nick Czyz had his first quality start of the season, going 6.1 innings Saturday, scattering eight hits and three runs. The 6-foot-0 lefty did not walk anybody and struck out five.
– Junior transfer Hiarali Garcia retired the side in the eighth inning, striking out a pair of Cardinal hitters. The junior righty has a 2.08 ERA in four appearances this season and is one of two Jayhawks to record a save.
– KU outhit the Cardinal 15-9 in Sunday’s finale. This marked the first time this season that KU has outhit its opponent and lost.
– The Jayhawks drew seven walks in Saturday’s loss to Stanford. For the series, the team batted .280 and had a .378 on-base percentage.
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.
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, but to no avail.
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.
The Jayhawks will play their home opener on Saturday as KU hosts Western Illinois at 2 p.m. in the first of a three-game series. The teams will complete the series with a doubleheader on Sunday beginning at noon.
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.