Jayhawks Look to Bounce Back At No. 30 Arkansas

Feb. 26, 2008

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<?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>Kansas vs. Arkansas

After taking two of five games from Hawaii-Hilo over the weekend, Kansas will take aim at No. 30 Arkansas in a Wednesday game at Baum Stadium. First pitch between the Jayhawks and Razorbacks is scheduled for 3 p.m.

Gametracker will be available the game at www.kuathletics.com.

The Series

The Razorbacks lead the all-time series with Kansas, 38-25, which dates back to 1904. Arkansas is 32-11 against Kansas in Fayetteville, including a six-game winning streak. KU’s last win in the series came in 1999, when the Jayhawks used a seven-run fifth for a 9-6 triumph.

The teams have not met in Lawrence since 2000. KU holds an 8-4 edge in games played at Hoglund Ballpark.

Head coach Ritch Price is 0-4 against Arkansas – all at Kansas – in his career.

Scouting the Razorbacks

Arkansas swept WrightState at Baum Stadium during the first weekend of play. The Razorbacks outscored the visiting Raiders, 21-11. The Razorbacks are currently ranked 30th in the latest Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll.

The Razorbacks return 17 letterwinners and six position starters from last year’s squad, which went 43-21 overall and 18-12 in the Southeastern Conference, winning the Western Division.

Senior outfielder Aaron Murphree dominated in the WrightState series, going 6-for-10 with three doubles, a home run and six RBIs. Freshman first baseman Andy Wilkins was named the SEC Rookie of the Week on Monday after going 5-for-11 in the series with a homer and six RBIs.

The Razorbacks will start freshman right-hander James Mahler. Mahler, a 6-foot-6 righty from Salt Lake City, Utah, pitched 1 1/3 innings against WrightState and was tagged for four runs on five hits. Three different relief pitchers, Dallas Keuchel, Cliff Springston and Brett Eibner picked up wins in the series against the Raiders.

Head coach Dave Van Horn is in his sixth season with the team and has a record of 213-110 with the `Hogs and a 789-350 mark overall in 18-plus years as a Division I head coach.

Last Time Out

After struggling to find their groove in the first four games of the season, the Kansas bats woke up in a big way Sunday. Senior Joe Southers went 4-for-4 with a triple and two runs scored, while PrestonLand and Justin Ellrich both homered as the Jayhawks trampled Hawaii-Hilo, 16-4, in the second game of a doubleheader played Sunday at Simmons Field in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

Noting the Jayhawks

– This marks the second year in a row the Jayhawks will meet Arkansas on the baseball field. Last year, the teams met in a three-game series at Baum Stadium.

– KU is 32-47 all-time against current members of the SEC.

– Junior catcher Buck Afenir hit .455 in the series with Hawaii-Hilo, which included five hits in seven at-bats against Vulcan right-handers.

– Senior John Allman started slow, but went 3-for-6 in the final day of the UHH series. Last season, Allman hit .419 in the month of February.

– Senior Justin Ellrich hit his first home run of the season against Hawaii-Hilo on Sunday. It marked the left-handed-hitting first baseman’s first round-tripper since belting a two-run shot at KansasState on April 23, 2006.

– Junior Nick Faunce made three starts in center field during the UHH series, batting in the leadoff spot. Faunce reached base four times in the seven times he led off an inning.

– Freshman Brian Heere collected his first hit as a Jayhawk in his first collegiate start on Feb. 23 against Hawaii-Hilo.

– JuniorPreston Land hit his first home run of the season to break open Sunday’s 16-4 triumph over the Vulcans. The first baseman’s last five homers have come against non-conference opponents.

– Senior Casey Larson appeared in three games during the Hawaii-Hilo series and made a pair of starts in center field. He went 2-for-5 with runners in scoring position, which included a two-run single the the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader.

– Senior shortstop Erik Morrison snapped his nine-game hitting streak in the first game of the season, but hit safely in the last four contests of the series. Morrison is batting .346 in his last 15 games, dating back to last season.

– Sophomore Robby Price collected a pair of hits in the series finale, but also contributed with four sacrifice bunts in the first series of the year. Price’s older brother, Ritchie, holds the school record with 17 sacrifices during the 2003 season.

– Despite just three hits in the UHH series, senior Ryne Price reached base nine times and scored a team-high six runs. His six runs scored ties him for second in the Big 12 after the first weekend of play.

– Senior Eric Snowden came off the bench and went 1-for-4 as a pinch hitter. Last season, Snowden led the team with a .364 average as a pinch hitter (8-for-22).

– Senior Joe Southers went 4-for-4 with a triple and two runs scored Sunday against UHH. Southers became the first Jayhawk catcher to triple in a game since Andrew Spitzfaden had a three-base hit against Oklahoma on April 30, 2006.

– Freshman Tony Thompson went 2-for-4 in his collegiate debut Friday against UHH. Thompson is the first Jayhawk to record a multiple-hit game in his first game since Ritchie Price had three hits in the first game of the 2003 season.

– Freshman Jimmy Waters also collected a couple of hits in the Hawaii-Hilo series, driving in a run in the series finale.

– Despite being saddled with a loss, sophomore Brett Bollman was impressive in his first two appearances out of the bullpen. The second-year righty struck out the side to preserve a 2-1 lead in the first game of the season, while two infield hits did him in during his second appearance.

– Freshman Brett Bochy also made two appearances in the UHH series. Bochy collected four strikeouts in three innings of work against the Vulcans.

– Senior Andres Esquibel earned a tough luck no-decision in the fourth game of the series after scattering six hits over five innings. The senior righty did not allow an earned run.

– Junior Sam Freeman had a spectacular debut in a Jayhawk uniform. Freeman picked up the win Sunday after allowing two runs on nine hits over six innings of work. He walked one and struck out four.

– Sophomore Wally Marciel was impressive in his first start of the year, allowing just one run on five hits over six innings in his home state of Hawaii.

– Junior Paul Smyth picked up the save in KU’s first win of the season. His three appearances in the UHH series tie him for the conference lead with two other pitchers.

Lights, Camera, Jayhawks

CSTV, a national cable station devoted to college athletics, announced Monday that it will broadcast Kansas’ game at Nebraska scheduled for April 20 on tape delay.

This marks the second time the Jayhawks can be seen on national television as the April 12 contest between KU and Texas Tech will be seen on Fox Sports Net.

Homeward Bound

Sophomore Wally Marciel returned to his home state of Hawaii and for the second straight season and dazzled the Vulcans of Hawaii-Hilo. Marciel went six innings in his first start, allowing just five hits and one earned run, while striking out four.

In two career starts against UHH, Marciel is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 11 innings pitched.

Last season, the 6-foot righty used his win against UHH to springboard a Freshman All-American campaign in which he went 5-3 with a 3.94 ERA.

Back to Arkansas

Sophomore relief pitcher Brett Bollman will be making a homecoming of sorts this week when he returns to the University of Arkansas after playing his freshman season for the Razorbacks.

During the 2006 campaign, Bollman went 0-3 with a 5.94 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 16.2 innings. He transferred to KU the following season and opted to redshirt in 2007.


Senior catcher Joe Southers thoroughly enjoyed his final day in the sun of Hawaii, going 4-for-4 with a triple and two runs scored in the series finale. He became the first Jayhawk catcher to triple in a game since Andrew Spitzfaden had a three-base hit against Oklahoma in 2006 and the first Jayhawk to collect four hits in a game since Kyle Murphy turned the trick on May 9 last season against MissouriState.

Southers is expected to see time behind the plate this season, but may also see at bats as the designated hitter as well.

Up Next

Kansas will take part in the Music City Classic this weekend at Charles Hawkins Field in Nashville, Tenn. The Jayhawks will take on host Vanderbilt (Friday, 4:05 p.m.) as well as Xavier (Saturday, 12:05 p.m.) and Iowa (Sunday, 12:05 p.m.).